6 Easy Ways To Remove Paint From Shoes (Proven Methods)

Removing spray paint from your shoes can be a frustrating experience, but it is possible. If you've spill paint on your shoes, we have the six most trusted removal methods listed below.

Continue reading to learn more about how you can remove as much paint as possible from your shoes.

1. Use Nail Polish Remover and Acetone

Using nail polish remover is one way to remove acrylic paint stains and other dry paint stains from shoes. The reason nail polish remover works so well on spray paint stains is that the nail polish remover is designed to break down varnish [1].

Whether you have canvas or leather shoes, nail polish remover can easily remove a fresh paint stain or a dry paint stains. We recommend using a dry cloth to gently wipe down the shoe fabric after cleaning.

2. Use Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol dip is a common ingredient many homeowners already have. It works to remove paint from shoes as well. We recommend using a cotton ball and lightly dipping it in rubbing alcohol rather than applying the rubbing alcohol directly to your shoes.

If you don't have rubbing alcohol, you can substitute hand sanitizer. Just make sure to rub gently in small circular motion, because rubbing too aggressively can rip up or tear apart your shoes.

3. Use White Distilled Vinegar

White distilled vinegar is a natural product and one of the gentler options on our list. You will want to use a cotton ball to gently dab the white distilled vinegar onto your shoes and slowly rub the spray paint off the shoe. Dip a cotton ball in the nail polish remover and acetone mixture and apply it to the shoes.

You can also use 3M strips instead of cotton ball to help remove the vinegar and the spray paint. To do this, once the top of the shoe is saturated with white distilled vinegar, you can place the 3M strips on top and then pull them off gently. These strips will help soak up both the vinegar and the spray paint.

4. Use Dish Soap and Warm Water

One of the easiest methods to try at home is the dish soap and warm water method. We recommend using this method on your shoe first, even if you plan to use another product. Wetting dry paint, in particular, can help lift the paint off the shoe.

Make sure that you leave the soap water on the shoe for a few minutes before scrubbing the spray paint off. You can use a dry towel or soapy cloth to scrub or a soft bristle brush or soft bristled brush or stiff bristled brush and wring out the excess moisture before blotting the stain forcefully. You can also use old toothbrush.

5. Using Dish Detergent

Another possibility for removing paint stains from shoes is to use dish detergent. We recommend using a powdered dish detergent and mixing that powder with warm water to generate a light paste. You can then use this light detergent mixture paste to gently brush with old toothbrush or rub off the latex paint from your shoes.

For this method, you may find the spray paint removal more effective if you allow the shoes to sit with the paste for a half hour before you begin to scrub away. If you are out of dish detergent, you can use laundry detergent instead to get paint free shoes.

Launder shoes in the washing machine in cold water on the delicate cycle and allow them to air dry. Wash the shoes in the washer with cold water on a delicate cycle.

6. Using Mineral Spirits

With mineral spirits, you will want to pour a small handful onto a dry towel and then rub against the paint on the shoe. Once you feel like most of the paint has come off, you can use a damp towel to gently rub the excess paint off.

Use soapy water as well if there are a few places where the remaining paint won’t come off. The combination of mineral spirits and paint thinner followed by soapy warm water will remove all paint.

Paint on Rubber Shoes

Removing Paint From Fabric Or Shoes (By Paint Type)

Wet Acrylic, Water & Oil-Based Paint

If you are dealing with wet paint, whether wet acrylic, oil, or water-based paint, we recommend first trying to blot the area (applying pressure gently helps). Blotting the wet paint can help to absorb the greatest amount of splattered paint from the canvas sneakers.

Then, you will want to choose one of the six methods listed above to remove the rest of the paint. For canvas Nike shoes, we recommend using water first before trying another method. Let your shoes dry completely before you use them.

Dry Acrylic, Water & Oil-Based Paint

When it comes to dry acrylic, warm water, or oil-based paints on your canvas sneakers, we recommend starting by wetting the affected area and then using a mixture of soapy water. From here, if the water based paint stains are not lifting, you can try the nail polish remover, white distilled vinegar, or rubbing alcohol methods.

Use a clean cloth to dry the shoes when finished. Then allow the canvas sneakers to dry completely. If clean paint wet is left behind, you can repeat the process.

How To Remove Paint From Leather Shoes

Paint on Leather Shoes

Wet Acrylic, Water & Oil-Based Paint

When it comes to getting wet paint off of a leather shoes, you want to choose a method that is least likely to lead to staining [2]. Leather boots in particular can end up with a stained area after cleaning.

Once you are finished cleaning the paint off leather or stained area, you can let your boots air dry. A few drops of baby oil or coconut oil can also be applied to your leather boots to polish them once cleaned.

Dry Acrylic, Water & Oil-Based Paint

Dry paint has a similar process, but we recommend first trying to remove the paint with sudsy warm water and a clean rag. Gently work to remove dry paint by massaging the shoe with a clean rag. Removing dry paint from leather boots can be a frustrating process.

Unfortunately, dry paint often cakes into leather boots in a way that requires you to slowly chip away at the pieces after the softening process. This can damage your leather though, so we recommend first starting by wetting the leather in the affected area, and slowly massaging the paint off as much as you can.

Then, you can take a sharp object to chip away at whatever pieces of dry paint have remained.

Removing Paint From Suede Sneakers

Paint on Sneakers

Wet Acrylic, Water & Oil-Based Paint

To remove wet paint from suede shoes, start with baking soda to help absorb the paint. It doesn't matter what type of paint type (acrylic paints, water paints, oil paint) has created the paint stain; baking soda is the best place to start. You want to let this oil sit for approximately ten minutes before you remove the baking soda with a wet cloth (clean cloth).

From here, you want to move to the soapy water method. If the soap water method doesn't remove enough paint, you can let your suede shoes air dry and then begin another method, such as mineral salts or rubbing alcohol (both work well for suede sneakers).

Dry Acrylic, Soapy Water & Oil-Based Paint

Dry paint on suede shoes follows a similar pattern to dry paint on other types of shoe surfaces. You want to take a damp cloth  (clean cloth) and slowly wet the paint so that you can begin to scrub it off of the suede shoes. Softened paint is easier to push and rub off of the shoe.

To remove dry paint that is caked on and is not softening from the wet cloth  (clean cloth) may need to be remove the paint with a sharp object. You can use a sharp object to chip away at acrylic paints that have hardened on the shoe. Paint thinner and elbow grease can also be used to remove stubborn paint stains (wear rubber gloves).

Important Tips When Scrubbing Paint Off Shoes

When scrubbing paint off of shoes, it's important to remember to be gentle—applying too much pressure when scrubbing can tear apart fabric fibers or create paint marks in leather shoes. As much as you want your shoe material to be clean, you also want your shoes to remain fashionable, right?

Create a space (away from all art project spaces) to clean the leftover paint stain. Choose a flat surface where you can easily move the sneakers or boots around with ease. You may want rubber gloves to keep your hands clean, and you can use petroleum jelly to protect your hands from chemicals as well.

If you have dried paint that is too hard to scrub off and needs a sharp object to peel off, move slowly and deliberately. If you go too fast, you might poke your shoe and end up with unsightly scratches or tears. It is best to move slowly no matter what method of leftover paint removal you choose to use.

A damp cloth  (clean cloth) can help soften paint as well. After you have cleaned your fabric shoes completely, let the shoes air dry. If any stubborn paint stains remain, you can remove the extra paint with a dull knife and warm tap water. Choose a well-ventilated area for your paint stain removal, and make sure you have an absorbent cloth (clean cloth) on hand.

Another tip we recommend is using a clean cotton swab to remove paint from more delicate or hard-to-reach areas. A cotton swab can be useful for getting rid of wet paint on the edges of tennis shoes and can make it possible to apply pressure in smaller amounts.

To remove paint stains on specific grooves in Nike shoes without harming the fabric shoes, a cotton swab can do the trick. This method of cotton swab works with just water to remove paint stains, but you can add any of the above methods if you need more power.

Use a leather conditioner when you're done removing the stain. Rub leather conditioner on any discolored paint spot and buff using firm pressure and a soft cloth to even out the finish. Tip If it's dried paint spot on the leather, use your fingernail or the tip of a thin knife to peel off as much paint as possible before buffing the area with leather conditioner.

Paint Removal From Shoes FAQs

Can you remove spray paint from shoes?

Yes, spray paint can be removed from shoes using methods such as white distilled vinegar, dish soap and water, or nail polish remover.

Can you get fabric paint off canvas shoes?

Yes, you can remove fabric paint from canvas shoes. Use cold water, a wet sponge, and scrubbing vigorously is recommended. Baking soda can be used to absorb the paint before using alcohol, nail polish remover, or mineral spirits. Finally, buff the shoes with a dry cloth.

How can you remove glitter craft paint from shoes?

Use nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol to remove glitter craft paint from shoes. Sanding the shoe with sandpaper or paper towel can also help remove any remaining specks of glitter.

What is the safest homemade paint remover?

The safest homemade paint remover is dish soap and water. If not effective, try nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, or white vinegar.

How do you remove paint from the shoe’s sole?

To remove paint from shoe's sole, use dish soap and water to gently wipe off paint wet or dry paint. For stubborn dried paint, use nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol and a sharp tool like a knife or hook to scrape it off, followed by rubbing and brushing the sole.


Removing wet paint or dry paint from shoes is not as difficult as it might seem. Using the correct cleaning product for your shoe type will return your shoes back to pristine condition.

Gently rub your shoes with a dry cloth  (clean cloth) once your shoes are completely dry, and they might even look better than they did before. Give them a little shine with a clean cloth and a small bit of baby oil or olive oil to finish the look.


  1. https://www.hunker.com/12528178/how-to-use-nail-polish-remover-as-a-paint-thinner
  2. https://www.ehow.com/how_6394679_remove-stains-leather-shoes.html