How to remove shoe polish stains

Shoe polish can be a very slippery substance, making it difficult to clean up after you’ve applied it. If your shoes have been stained by shoe polish, there are several ways to remove the stain.

There are several ways to remove shoe polish stains from cloths, but most require scrubbing with a hard brush or soap and water. Here we’ll show you a simple and effective method for removing shoe polish stains from wood surfaces.

remove shoe polish stains

Shoe polish stains can be quite challenging to remove, but fear not! With the following methods, you can bid farewell to those unsightly marks and restore your clothes to their former glory. Let’s explore these effective techniques and get rid of shoe polish stains once and for all.

Method 1: Pretreatment Laundry Stain Remover

  1. Saturate the affected area with a pretreatment laundry stain remover. Opt for aerosol types as they work better on greasy stains.
  2. Allow the stain remover to penetrate the fabric for about a minute. For stubborn stains, gently rub the area with heavy-duty liquid detergent.
  3. Launder the garment immediately after pretreatment.

Method 2: Oxygen-Based Bleach Solution

  1. Mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach, such as OxiClean or Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach, with cool water in a bucket or sink.
  2. Submerge the stained item in the solution and let it soak for at least 30 minutes. For tougher stains, you can leave it for up to eight hours.
  3. After soaking, rinse the garment thoroughly to remove the bleach solution.
  4. Launder the clothing item as usual.

Method 3: WD-40

  1. Squirt a few drops of WD-40 directly onto the shoe polish stain.
  2. Wait for about thirty seconds to allow the WD-40 to penetrate the stain.
  3. Blot the stained area with white paper towels, moving to clean areas of the towel as the stain is lifted.
  4. Repeat the process until the stain is completely gone.
  5. Launder the garment following the care instructions.

Method 4: Scraping and Rubbing Alcohol

  1. Remove the garment and scrape away the excess shoe polish using a dull knife, like a butter knife. Avoid rubbing it further into the fabric.
  2. Take a clean cloth and apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to it.
  3. Gently blot the stained area with the cloth, ensuring the alcohol comes into contact with the stain.
  4. Rinse the area with cold water and repeat the process until the stain disappears.
  5. Launder the garment as you normally would.

Important Considerations

It’s crucial to remember that different fabrics may require different stain removal methods. Therefore, before attempting to remove a shoe polish stain, it’s advisable to test the chosen method on a small, inconspicuous area of the garment. This way, you can ensure that the treatment doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration.


Removing shoe polish stains from clothes can seem like a daunting task, but armed with the right techniques, you can achieve success. From using pretreatment laundry stain removers to oxygen-based bleach solutions, WD-40, and scraping with rubbing alcohol, you now have a variety of effective methods to choose from. Remember to take the necessary precautions and test the method on a small area before applying it to the entire stain. With patience and persistence, you can restore your garments to their pristine condition and bid farewell to shoe polish stains for good.


  1. Can I use these methods for all types of fabrics? Different fabrics may react differently to stain removal methods. It’s best to perform a patch test on a small, inconspicuous area before treating the entire stain.
  2. Are there any precautions I should take while using these methods? When using stain removal products or solutions, make sure to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Additionally, avoid using hot water, as it can set the stain further.
  3. What if the shoe polish stain doesn’t come off completely? If the stain persists, you can repeat the chosen method or try a different approach. Some stains may require multiple attempts before they disappear entirely.
  4. Can I use these methods on delicate or dry-clean-only fabrics? It’s best to consult a professional cleaner or refer to the care instructions for delicate or dry-clean-only fabrics. They will provide guidance on the best course of action.
  5. Are there any alternative methods for removing shoe polish stains? While the methods mentioned in this article are effective, there may be alternative techniques or products available. It’s always a good idea to do some research or seek advice from professionals to find the best solution for your specific situation.

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Camilo Kawas is a seasoned entrepreneur and expert in the field of commercial cleaning, with a specific focus on clothes, carpet cleaning and floor care. With a profound understanding of the importance of selecting the right products for effective stain removal from clothes, Camilo has established himself as a trusted authority in the industry.