How To Remove Dry Paint From Shoes [Effective Method 2024]

Written By Mahia

Spilling a dash of paint on your limited edition white trainers indeed gives a mini heart attack, doesn’t it? Well, in my case, I literally burst into tears.

Getting paint on shoes is a prevalent scenario, and due to lack of knowing the proper method of removing the paint, all these stained shoes go straight to the storeroom.

But it’s time to take out all your shoes that have been covered in paint for a long time and bring them back to life.

Don’t forget to read the entire article because I have explained all the easy and effective methods of removing dry paint from your

How To Get Dry Paint Off The Shoes?

Removing dry paint from the shoes is definitely a pain in the back if you don’t choose the right tools and follow the correct technique.

To make your work easier, I have shortlisted the best five effective methods that will say goodbye to ugly dry paint stains.

The cherry on the top is that you will get all the cleaning equipment and products within your hand’s reach, which is in the kitchen.

Here are the five methods following which you can easily take off the dry paint from shoes:

Method 1: Use Detergent Powder

Things you’ll need:

  • Knife
  • Clean Cloth
  • Detergent Powder
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Toothbrush

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Step 1: Brush off the excess paint

Cover the working station with newspapers to avoid any mess. Take out the shoelaces if your shoes have any. Now start the paint removing process by gently brushing on the stain with a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Brushing will help to loosen the dry paint and make the next steps easier.

Step 2: Scrape off the paint with a knife

With the help of a knife, try to scrape the dry paint off the shoes. If the stains are too deep, you can soften them up by damping them. Take a clean cloth, soak it in clean water and wring out the fabric thoroughly.

Now blot the stains with the damp cloth. As the paint becomes soft, run the knife through the color, and you will need to notice the dry paint will come off slowly.

Step 3: Use the detergent powder

In a bowl of water, mix 2-3 spoons of detergent powder and mix them. Now wet a sponge in the detergent mixture and vigorously rub the stains.

Step 4: Wash the shoes

Once you see no remaining paint, wet a clean cloth and rub the entire shoe to remove the detergent. You can also rinse the shoes under a tap only if your shoes are waterproof.

Step 5: Dry the shoes

Leave the shoes in an airy place for 8 hours or until the shoes are completely dry.

Wa-lah, your clean and paint-free shoes are ready to wear.

Method 2: Use Nail Polish Remover and Acetoneuse-nail-polish-remover-and-acetone

Things you’ll need:

  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton ball
  • Acetone
  • Wet cloth
  • Mixing bowl

Step 1: Prepare the nail polish remover and acetone mixture

Take a good quality nail polish remover and pure acetone. Pour 80ml of nail polish remover and 20ml of acetone into a bowl. Now mix both the liquids properly.

Be cautious while measuring the proportions of nail polish remover and acetone; you need to get the exact accurate measurement.

Step 2: Apply the liquid mixture

Dip a cotton ball in the nail polish remover and acetone mixture and apply it to the shoes. Gently rub onto the stains, and gradually you will notice all the dry paint will come off.

Step 3: Clean the shoes

Once the paint marks are not noticeable, then it’s time to clean the shoes. Wet a clean cloth and wipe off the entire shoe properly so that there is no liquid mixture residue.

Step 4: Dry the shoes

Let the shoes sit to dry completely, and then you can wear the shoes again.

Follow our guide to know Remove Fungus From Shoes Easily.

Method 3: Use Rubbing Alcohol

This method works explicitly great for leather and canvas shoes. So if your leather or canvas shoes are stained with paint, don’t give a second thought and use the rubbing alcohol method.use-rubbing-alcohol

Things you’ll need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Toothbrush
  • Water
  • Clean cloth

Step 1: Wet the paint marks

Soften the paint stains by dabbing the marks with a wet cloth. If you soften the paint first, then the following steps will be easier to do, and the color will come off quickly.

Step 2: Apply rubbing alcohol

Dip a soft-bristled toothbrush into the rubbing alcohol. Gently in a small circular motion, brush the shoes with the toothbrush where you feel the shoes are heavily stained.

Don’t go overboard while using rubbing alcohol, as a small amount will go a long way.

Step 3: Clean the shoes

To remove the remaining alcohol from the shoes, simply wipe them with a damp cloth.

Step 4: Dry the shoes

Leave the shoes in a well-ventilated place and let them dry completely.

But before that, go through our epic guide Can A Cobbler Make Shoes Smaller.

Method 4: Use White Distilled Vinegar

White distilled vinegar is an excellent pick to remove any type of paint from leather shoes as white distilled vinegar has natural cleaning properties to take off any unwanted stains.

Things you’ll need:

  • White distilled vinegar
  • Cotton balls
  • 3M stripping pads
  • Clean cloth
  • Water

Step 1: Clean the shoes

Damp a clean cloth with warm water and gently rub over the dry paint to make them softer.

Step 2: Apply white distilled vinegar

Mix half part of white distilled vinegar with half portion of warm water. Wet the cotton ball with the mixture and gently rub them on the dry paint.

Step 3: Use the 3M stripping pads

Once you cover the entire shoes with vinegar, it’s time to use the stripping pads.

Scour the places with the stripping pads where it is heavily stained.

Step 4: Wash the shoes

Rinse the shoes with warm water and leave them for drying.

Method 5: Use Soap and Water

The soap and water method is best for those paint which is not completely dried on the shoes. So if the color of your shoes is still a bit wet, then surely give this method a try.

Things you’ll need:

  • Warm water
  • Soap
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Cloth

Step 1: Apply the soap

Wet a clean cloth with warm water. Rub the damp cloth on the soap and form a lather.

Leave the soapy cloth on the paint for a few minutes so that the paint gets soft.

Step 2: Use the brush

Gently wipe the paint with a soft-bristled brush. Don’t try to rub or wipe off the paint because this can cause the paint to work on the leather.

Keep swiping the brush until you see there is no paint left on the shoes.

Step 3: Clean the shoes

With a clean damp cloth, remove the soap’s residue from the shoes and leave them dry.

How To Remove Dry Paint From Suede Shoes?

Suede is a very delicate fabric, and it needs to be treated with a little more effort while removing dry paint.

The paint removing method from suede shoes is entirely different from leather ones, so make sure you follow the correct technique.

Here are the simple steps following which you can remove dry paint from suede shoes:

Things you’ll need:

  • Leather cleaning liquid
  • Knife
  • Sponge or absorbent cloth

Step 1: Scrape the paint

With a knife, scrape the paint off the shoes. Be gentle while rubbing, or else you can ruin the suede leather.

Step 2: Apply the leather cleaner

Smear leather cleaning liquid on the areas where it is stained. Leave the liquid on the paint for a couple of minutes so that it can be soaked.

Step 3: Place an absorbent cloth

After you apply the cleaner, put an absorbent cloth on the stains to soak up the paint without messing with the other suede areas.

Step 4: Clean the shoes

Take a clean piece of cloth and wet it with soapy water and gently wipe off the paint.

Now leave your suede shoes in an airy place and dry them thoroughly before you wear them.

Things To Remember

  • While applying nail polish remover to your leather shoes, make sure you do a patch test first. Because there is a tendency that nail polish remover removes the dye on some leather.
  • When you use any product that includes alcohol, don’t forget to condition the shoes because alcohol makes the shoe material, especially leather, very dry. So to avoid cracking, conditioning is a must.
  • After you apply any liquid on the shoes, don’t rub the paint; instead, gently wipe or dab on the stain.
  • Always stay away from flames while using alcohol on the shoes.

Frequently Asked Question

Does vinegar remove paint?

Yes, vinegar removes paint easily. Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent; it is affordable and an effective way of removing dried paint. Moreover, vinegar is non-toxic, so there is no chance of ruining the shoe fabric.

How do you make homemade paint remover?

Making paint remover at home is pretty simple. All you need is 2 cups of normal temperature water, 1 cup of borax, 1 cup ammonia, and 1 cup washing soda into a bowl and mix them thoroughly. And then, you can apply this mixture to the shoes to remove the dry paint.


Shoes are worn to adorn your feet, so why let the ugly paint stains ruin the beauty of it. And now that you know, removing dry paint stain from shoes is not impossible, and you can easily take them off by simply following few steps.

If this article helped you, then don’t forget to give your valuable opinion in the comment box.

About The Author
Since childhood, Mahia is a shoe freak. And this is what lead her to do more research and gather knowledge about shoes.Mahia has always wanted to share her skill and knowledge about footwear with a mass audience, which ended her up in this amazing workplace.When Mahia is not writing, you can almost always find her in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes to upgrade her catering menu.

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