Painting often produces a beautiful result on canvas, but it leaves behind a mess in the surrounding area. If your shoes have become a victim to paint splatters, then you are not alone. You could either embrace the mess or put in a little effort to restore your trusty shoes. If you choose the latter, then read on to find out how to remove paint from shoes.

I have yet to meet a painter whose workspace wasn’t chaotic. If you are one of these people, you’ve probably sacrificed a couple of your favorite shirts and jeans to paint stains. However, all is not lost. We will provide you with the information to bring your shoes to their former glory. It might be tedious work, but the results will be worth the effort.

Painters work with different kinds of paints which find their way onto their shoes. In this guide, we will provide you with tips to remove oil-based and water-based paints from three materials for footwear.

Remove Water-Based Acrylic Paint

In this section, we will give you the best advice on getting rid of water-based paint from your shoes. Pick the method better suited for the material your footwear is made of.

From Canvas Shoes


  • Nail Polish Remover.
  • Dish Washing soap.
  • Water.
  • Cotton swab.
  • Toothbrush.
  • Clean cloth.


  1. It is easier to wash your canvas shoes while the paint is still wet. But, if it has dried, you must scrape off as much paint as you can with a stiff toothbrush.
  2. Wet the stain by blotting it with a damp cloth and wipe off as much as you can from the fabric.
  3. Make a solution by mixing equal parts of dish soap and warm water. Apply this to a damp cloth and blot it into the stain. Repeat until paint is significantly removed.
  4. For any remaining traces of the stain, apply some nail polish remover onto a clean cloth and blot until the fabric is completely clean.
  5. Soak your shoes in hot water for at least 6 hours. Give them an occasional rub with your fingers to dislodge any residual paint.

From Leather Shoes


  • Coconut Oil.
  • Scraping Knife.
  • Dull Knife.
  • Clean cloth.
  • Cotton swab.


  1. If the paint is still wet, then dab (don’t rub!) it off the leather using a clean cloth.
  2. For dried paint, use a scraping knife to gently scrape it off. Be careful of scratching your leather shoe.
  3. Dip a cotton swab in coconut oil and spread it on the stained area. This will loosen the paint and make cleaning easier.
  4. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Gently scrape off the remaining paint using the dull knife.
  6. Moisten a clean cloth with water and rub it over the leather surface.
  7. Let your shoe air dry. Make sure you don’t place your leather shoe near a heating device; it will dry the material.
  8. You can also apply a leather conditioner for extra care of your shoes.

*Jojoba and olive all are good substitutes.

From Suede Shoes


  • Dish soap.
  • Dry cloth.
  • Cotton swab.
  • Blunt knife.


  1. Suede shoes are more difficult to clean, so you must hurry while the paint is still wet.
  2. Use a cotton swab or clean cloth to wipe off the paint spill.
  3. For dried paint, gently scrape off as much as you can with the blunt knife.
  4. In a bowl of warm water, mix a small amount of dish soap. Directly apply the soap suds onto the stain using your fingers.
  5. Rub in the suds and wipe the paint off using a clean cloth. Repeat until clean.
  6. Use a clean dry cloth to wipe off the suds.
  7. If staining remains, pour a small amount of suede cleaner and wipe off the paint.
  8. Place shoes in an open area to air dry.

Remove Oil-based Paint

From Canvas Shoes


  • Dish soap.
  • Rubbing alcohol.
  • Mineral spirits.
  • Blunt knife.
  • Cotton swab.
  • Clean cloth.


  1. Wipe off wet paint using a clean cloth. If the paint has dried, wet it by blotting with a damp cloth.
  2. Remove excess paint using a blunt knife or stiff toothbrush.
  3. Dab rubbing alcohol on the stain using a cotton swab. Continue dabbing until the paint lightens.
  4. If stain is stubborn, alternatingly dab it with mineral spirits and water using a clean cloth.
  5. Mix dish soap in warm water. Dab this solution onto the remaining stain with a cloth.
  6. Rinse and soak the shoes in warm water for a few hours.

From Leather & Suede Shoes


  • Scraping Knife.
  • Dish soap.
  • Clean cloth.
  • Leather Conditioner.
  • Dry-cleaning solvent.


  1. Try to clean off as much of the paint while it is still wet.
  2. Gently scrape off excess dry paint with the scraping knife.
  3. Mix dish soap in warm water until you see it foam. Dampen a clean cloth with this solution.
  4. Dab the stain with this soapy cloth.
  5. Use a dry cloth to wipe off the stains.
  6. If stubborn stains remain, try using a dry-cleaning solvent. Test it out on an unnoticeable area before applying it to the paint stain.
  7. You can give your shoes extra care by treating them with a leather conditioner.

Points to remember:

  • Never rub cotton swabs or cloth on the stain. Always dab. Rubbing pushes the stain further into the fabric.
  • Before applying chemical solutions, always check their effect on an inconspicuous area of your shoe.
  • Try to get ahead of the splatters and cover your shoes with plastic booties before the next painting session.


With these tips, you can save your shoes from any painting mishaps. We highly recommend that you clean your shoes while the paint is still wet. But, if you aren’t able to, don’t worry, just read this article and find out the best method for removing paint from shoes.

Let us know what worked for you, in the comments below.