How to Remove Dry Paint from Shoes?

Sometimes accidents involving paint happen. Knowingly or unknowingly, paint got on your shoes and it has dried up, making it difficult to remove. This experience is frustrating. Removing paint from your shoes may seem like a daunting, if not impossible, task. You may feel like you need to replace a perfectly good pair of footwear just because of those darn paint stains.

Remove Dry Paint from Shoes?
Don’t worry. Your shoes are not permanently damaged. There are ways to remove the paint stains and save your shoes, so you don’t have to replace them. Here are 10 tested hacks to remove paint stains from shoes.

10 Ways to Remove Dry Paint from Shoes

Once you notice wet paint on your leather or rubber shoes, you can easily wipe it off using a wet cloth. The challenge comes when the paint dries. Dry paint is usually difficult to remove. These 10 do-it-yourself methods of removing paint from shoes will help you solve your problem so you can rock those pairs of shoes again in no time.

How to Remove Dry Paint from Leather and Faux Leather Shoes?

Many people prefer leather shoes for their durability. However, these shoes are more expensive compared to other shoes, so they need extra care. Here are some tips on how you can remove dry paint from leather shoes without damaging them.

1. Use Oil

Baby oil and cooking oils like olive, canola and safflower can soften oil based paint. Use a cotton bud to dab some oil on the paint stain. Since leather is very permeable, it is crucial that you wipe off the excess oil using a tissue. Rub the stains with cotton or with your fingernails until it comes off. 

Remove Dry Paint from Leather shoes
Make sure that the oil does not seep into the leather. Although it may make the leather more supple at first, it can actually speed up its deterioration. If you notice that the oil leaves a dark color on your shoes, wash the area gently with soap and water.

2. Put Some Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol, commonly known as rubbing alcohol, is an effective paint remover. Put some rubbing alcohol on a piece of soft cloth or a cotton swab and gently wipe the stained area until you remove all the paint stains.

In using this method, it is important to understand that too much exposure to rubbing alcohol can dry out the leather. To prevent this, apply some leather conditioner on your shoes after you have removed the paint. This will ensure that the color of your shoes does not fade.

3. Try a Nail Polish Remover

A nail polish remover effectively removes dry paint on leather and faux leather shoes. It contains acetone, which is a powerful solvent for latex and oil-based paints. Nail polish removers can, however, damage leather so apply it only on the dry paint. Use a cotton bud to put nail polish remover on the stain and wipe the paint off using a clean cloth. 

Repeat the process until you’ve completely removed the stain from the shoes. Moisten your leather shoes with a leather conditioner afterwards.

4. Wash with Water and Soap

You can easily remove water based dry paint with soap and water. Simply spray some water on the stained area and apply some dish soap on it. Rub the paint with cloth until it gets off. Spray some water on the soaped area to rinse it. Water can cause leather to shrink, so make sure you moisturize your shoes with a leather conditioner.

5. Apply Petroleum Jelly

The chemical component in the petroleum jelly moistens the paint stains, so it is easy to peel off. Apply a bit of petroleum jelly on the stained area. Leave it there for a few minutes to allow it to penetrate to the paint. Using your fingernail, a spoon or a butter knife, peel off the paint. Wash the area with soap and water afterwards. Last, make sure you polish and moisturize your shoes.

Petroleum jelly is safe for leather, so you won’t need to worry about any damage it may make on your shoes.

6. Try Hot Vinegar

Aside from being a kitchen staple, vinegar can also be used as a paint remover. Boil or microwave a bowl of white distilled vinegar. Using a paintbrush, dab the heated vinegar on the paint. Leave it for ten to fifteen minutes. Continue to reapply the hot vinegar if the paint is still stuck. Scrape the paint off with a butter knife or paint scraper.

With proper care, leather shoes can last for a very long time. Make sure that you don’t use paint thinner and turpentine to remove dry paint from leather shoes. These solvents can cause more damage to the leather that the paint did.

Also read: How to Clean the Bottom of Shoes to Return Them

How to Remove Dry Paint from Canvas and Other Fabric Shoes?

Canvas and fabric shoes can tolerate more cleaning agents compared to leather, but dry paint might be harder to remove on these types of materials because the paint can leave a stain, especially on white shoes. Here are ways to remove dry paint from canvas and fabric shoes.

Remove Dry Paint from Canvas Shoes

7. Scrape the Paint Off

A simple way to remove dry paint from canvas or fabric shoes is through scraping. Use a spoon or a blunt knife to do this. The paint will leave a stain on the fabric. If your shoes are dark colored, the stain won’t be seen; but if it is lightly colored, it will be very obvious. Remove it with a paint thinner or acetone or wash it with soap and water. You can also use this method on shoes made from resin and plastic.

8. Use a Paint Thinner or Turpentine

Paint thinner and turpentine are well-known paint solvents. These effectively soften paint that is hard to remove and eliminate paint residue on your canvas and fabric shoes. Pour the thinner or turpentine on the stained area. Put a basin underneath as you do this to catch the paint thinner. Brush the paint off the shoes. Make sure that as you do this, you aren’t spreading the paint to the clean parts of the shoes.

Another method of removing paint is using turpentine. Place an old kitchen towel of cloth on a flat area. Place the stained portion of your shoes on the towel. Wet a sponge or rag with turpentine and rub it on the inside of the shoes. The stain will slowly transfer to the kitchen towel.

These methods are highly advised for removing oil-based paint.

9. Pour Acetone

Acetone is another great oil based paint solvent. Acetone is very strong, so you’d need to wear gloves when using it. Pour ¼ cup of pure acetone on a container. Dip a cotton ball into the container. Take another cotton ball and press it on the wet cotton ball inside the container. Rub it on the paint until the paint comes off.

10. Apply Laundry Detergent

If your shoes are stained with latex or water based paint, washing and brushing the shoes with laundry detergent will quickly remove the paint off your shoes. Use a soft to medium bristle brush so you don’t damage the fabric of your shoes.

Removing Dry Paint from PVC Plastic and PVC Jelly Shoes

Some people prefer PVC plastic and PVC jelly shoes for its durability, flexibility, style, and water resistance. Although paint can’t damage the PVC material, it will certainly affect how the shoes look.

Removing dry paint from PVC plastic and PVC jelly shoes are easy. You can scrape off the dry paint with your fingernails or with a spoon. If the paint is really hard, try applying some petroleum jelly to soften it before scraping. You can also wash it with dish washing soap and water.

Though PVC plastic and jelly shoes may look like it can handle any paint solvent, avoid using rubbing alcohol and acetone to remove dry paint on your shoes. The chemicals in these substances can speed up the deterioration of the PVC material.

Final Thoughts

Aside from protecting your feet, shoes also help in giving you support and stability. They also reflect your style and personality. You may not always find the right type of shoes for you in the market, so taking care of the pair you have right now is important. However, no matter how careful you are, you can accidentally stain your shoes.

Regular stains are tolerable, but having paint on your shoes or sneakers can be irksome. Some people think that shoes stained with paint are hopeless and should be donated and replaced, but you don’t need to give up on your shoes right away. You don’t even need to spend much on some fancy paint remover.

There are home remedies you can do to remove paint for different types of shoes. Depending on the materials your shoes are made of, you can scrape the paint off the shoes, apply alcohol, acetone, nail polish remover, vinegar, paint thinner, turpentine or petroleum jelly. You can also wash your shoes with soap and water. These DIY methods work well whether your shoes are leather, suede, canvas, textile, or PVC plastic.

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