How to Remove Dry Paint from Shoes | Best & Easy Methods

It would be almost unrealistic to say one has never been in a stressful situation where their shoes had been a victim of paint stain. Whether you’re a painter, someone walking past the street while a painter is working anywhere around, or even if it’s a creative and recreational situation with a toddler, you can be a victim in all these situations.

Removing dry paint from shoes is a hassle, and people often have issues regarding how to remove dry paint from shoes. The whole process can be tiring and very daunting, but it is possible.

Knowing the right stepwise procedure or equipment helps a long way in getting rid of the paint without rigorous scrubbing or time-wasting. We have shortlisted some of the most helpful ways of removing dry paint from shoes. In case you’re one of the victims, you would know what options you have more than just scrubbing or throwing the shoes in the washing machine.

Best Ways to Remove Dry Paint from Shoes

#1. Using Acetone For Paint Removal From Midsole

how to remove dry paint from shoes

Acetone serves as an excellent agent that helps in easy scrubbing of the paint. You’ll have to follow the listed procedure below to work with acetone effectively.

  1. Use a metal file to scrape off the color from the edges of the midsole. That allows the paint to get off with ease and protects the material damage significantly.
  2. After metal scraping, use a bristled toothbrush, which wipes away any dust, excess paint, and flakes missed by the metal file.
  3. Apply blue painter tape around the midsole’s edges as preparation and protection from material damage due to Acetone.
  4. Wear some rubber gloves and dab a blob of cotton in acetone and gently wipe over the surface. Beware of overdoing it.
  5. Once you remove all the paint from the shoe, pour warm water over it to wipe away all the paint residual.

#2. Using Heavy Duty Citrus Degreaser

Heavy Duty Citrus Degreaser

Heavy-duty citrus degreaser is often used at an industrial level for high-end cleaning purposes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them for household cleaning purposes. You can use it to dry paint following these steps:

  1. Clean your shoes with warm water, to begin with.
  2. Use a bristled toothbrush to slowly rub away all the dirt and stains from the shoes.
  3. After done cleaning, take a dry cloth piece, damp it with the cleaning agent, and gently start rubbing the affected area.
  4. Continue rubbing the affected area of the shoe till you begin to see visible progress.
  5. After you’ve achieved your desired results, wash the shoes with warm water again, and let them dry overnight.

#3. Using White Distilled Vinegar

White Distilled Vinegar

Vinegar works best in softening the dry marks of paint. It’s often used in combination with baking soda or lemon to remove stains from frying pans, but by making a vinegar-water base, you could quickly get dry paint off your shoes. Here’s what you’re going to need to do.

  1. Clean your shoes with a soft piece of cloth to ensure there’s no dirt or stain on the shoe surface and make the dried paint soft.
  2. Mix a ratio of vinegar with warm water and dampen the cotton balls in it.
  3. Apply the vinegar all over the shoe’s affected area and start scrubbing with a 3M stripping pad.
  4. When all the dry paint marks are scrubbed, give your shoes a final wash with warm water and dry them.

#4. Using Dish Detergent Liquid

Dish Detergent Liquid

Some dry paints might not be sturdy and very thick. In such cases, how to remove dry paint from shoes would be done using a little dish detergent liquid does it for you. Here’s how you can use it to remove soft dry paint.

  1. First, soften the dry paint more by damping it with a few wet cotton balls.
  2. Using a metal file or knife, start to shave off the soft layer of paint.
  3. To remove the leftover stains, use a soft sponge as you pour a little quantity of liquid over it.
  4. Start rubbing the surface gently, and the marks will start to disappear gradually.
  5. Lastly, wash your shoes if they are waterproof and let them be overnight for the best results.

#5. Mineral Spirits as a Cleaning Agent

Mineral Spirits

A mineral spirit is a better solvent than a paint thinner and has numerous cleaning benefits, which makes it an outstanding cleaning agent to remove dry paints. To ensure the best results using mineral spirits, we have jotted down a list of stepwise instructions to follow below:

  1. Damp a bristled toothbrush in warm water and slowly rub the affected dry paint surface in circles. This allows the paint to soften and remove some of the weak stains.
  2. Take a dry cloth piece and dampen it with mineral spirit in a minimal amount and focus on rubbing at the affected area for a solid 1-2 minutes.
  3. Within that timeframe, the marks are completely gone, and you can wear them right away.

#6. Using a Mixture of Nail Polish Remover and Pure Acetone

Nail Polish Remover

Acetone alone is prone to affect the material of your footwear and also has some health hazards. To use it safely, you need to pair it with a nail polish remover and benefit from both. Here’s how to use them for removing dry paints:

  1. In a small container, create a mixture of nail polish remover and acetone in a 4:1 ratio and mix it properly.
  2. Apply the mix with the help of a cotton ball over the surface of dry paint.
  3. Slowly rub over the paint marks, and you’ll see the results gradually.
  4. After removing the paint, clean the shoes out with a wet cloth piece and dry overnight.

#7. Using Turpentine


Using turpentine to remove paint can be a lengthy process but indeed the most effective one out of all. You need to follow a procedure correctly to ensure the best results. Here’s how you do it:

  1. With a bristled toothbrush, remove any stains, dirt, or flakes of soft paint that come off.
  2. Pour a generous amount of appropriate thinner on the dry paint spot, start scraping off the softened paint, and you’ll be left with a light layer.
  3. Place a towel on a flat surface with the affected area facing down on it.
  4. On the inside, using a sponge, apply some turpentine on it. Make sure you wear gloves for this.
  5. Continue to change the wet cloth on the outside due to turpentine wetting it.
  6. Apply some detergent on the outside and rub to remove any leftover paint.
  7. Submerge the shoes in hot water for 6 hours or overnight, occasionally rubbing the softened area.
  8. Lastly, give the shoes a final wash with cold water and let them dry for best results.

What Next?

Now, you’re aware of more than just one scrubbing-its-life-out method on how to remove dry paint from shoes. It’s often noticed that when the paint dries out, people tend to give up on the cause and either forget about ever making things better or moving on to a different one.

But with an ample amount of solutions and options available, we believe working on it is a more liable option, and guess what? It doesn’t even cost a fortune to put these options into practice!

Latest Posts

Related Articles