How to Remove Tar from Shoes?

Do you have tar on your shoes and think that you cannot wear them anymore? Why not, tar is a substance that will haunt you if you try to get rid of it. You may have tried various remedies to remove it but it didn’t work, did they? Even after trying so many remedies, you are still stuck with it or if you make some progress you see a sticky residue that will attract more dirt on the shoes.

How to Remove Tar from Shoes?

However, you have not tried the remedies which we are going to offer you. They will not fail and remove the tar from your shoes and you are good to wear that. Let’s have a look at this article ‘How to remove tar from shoes?’ and also, at the handy tools and remedies to remove the tar and clean the shoes together.

Following tools can help you to remove tar from shoes, they are the following: 

  • Disposable butter knife or plastic knife
  • Paper towels
  • Dish Soaps
  • Any conditioner
  • Old toothbrush
  • Alcohol 
  • Vinegar 
  • Warm water
  • Vegetable oil or petroleum jelly
  • Clean cloth

How to remove tar from shoes?

Disposable butter knife or plastic knife

Using any kind of disposable butter knife or plastic knife or any sharp and pointed object can easily remove the dried tar from shoes. With a knife, you will be able to remove big chunks of tar which will save you time. Do not try to remove tar when it’s greasy and sticky because it will cost you a lot of time and you still can’t get rid of it.

Make use of vegetable oil or petroleum jelly or any other softener: 

Using a kind of vegetable oil, petroleum jelly or any other softener will help to make the tar soft which eventually makes the process of removing tar easy. For softener, you can also use baby oil or any conditioner as well. Just paste the oil or softener on the remaining tar and wait for some time. When tar becomes soft it’s easy to get rid of it.

Using an old toothbrush: 

Use an old toothbrush in oil or softener and gently rub it on your shoes. Keep rubbing it against the tar until you see any progress. This step should remove most of your tar but if still there then follow the next step.

Check:- How to Remove Creases from Leather Shoes?

Get any tar-removing solvent:

Kerosene, turpentine, gasoline or any other tar-removing solvent can be used. This tar-removing solvent will be very helpful to remove the remaining tar but be careful while using this as it can be harsh. Please read the instruction and warning about the solvent before use. 

Wiping the shoes: 

When you are satisfied with the result, wipe the surface of the shoes with any clean cloth or paper towel. Your tar should be removed by this step.


Thus, this article, this article ‘How to remove tar from shoes?’ shows removing tar from shoes and especially from white shoes is a challenging task. However, with the remedy mentioned above. If you still feel that you did not get the desired result then use a commercial tar remover solvent. You can also use fingernail polish remover for removing tar from the shoes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Can I use nail polish remover to remove tar from my shoes?

No, a nail polish remover shouldn’t be used as a remover to remove tar from shoes. Also, nail polish remover is never recommended because it constitutes a harsh chemical that can react badly with the delicate material of the shoe product. If you are searching for some alternative options then you can consider the options of rubbing alcohol or a mineral oil that can break the residue of tar while making it easy to remove. Also, you can use a little portion of the petroleum jelly and then sponge off the tar thereafter.

2. How can I prevent Tar from sticking to my shoes? 

There are some easy ways to prevent tar from sticking to your shoes, if you avoid walking on uneven or rugged terrains by choosing other routes, you need to use protective and preventive measures for your shoes like a shoe cover, mineral oil and a plastic bag so that it can act as a shield between your shoes, by minimising the tar. Lastly, you can use any kind of spirit or rubbing alcohol to soften and remove that stocky tar from your shoe pairs.

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