[5 Easy Ways!] How to get Tar off Shoes

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Tar is a dark brown or black viscous liquid of hydrocarbons and free carbon, obtained from a wide variety of carbon-based matter through destructive distillation.

Tar can be produced from coal, wood, petroleum, or peat. Mineral products resembling tar can be produced from hydrocarbons, such as petroleum and it is often complicated to get rid of. Removing tar from your shoes is often an awfully frustrating experience and might often cause damage to your footwear.

Regardless of how it happened upon your shoe, there are effective methods solving your question “how to get tar off shoes” and taking it off safely, but it’ll involve some patience.

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  • This might be a disposable knife or some adhesive spreader. This is often used to remove the massive bits from your shoes and therefore the patterns in your soles.
  • Commonly found softeners in homes are vegetable or olive oil, lard, margarine or Mink  oil This is often used to soften the tar avoiding damage to your shoe. don’t use these on a cloth portion of your shoe because it can leave a stain.


  • Solvents found around the home include WD-40, gasoline, kerosene, paint thinner or turpentine and are used to remove the stain left on your sole after removing the tar, you’ll be able to also find a selected tar cleaner for shoes at your local shoes store and use that instead.


  • A toothbrush may be a perfect tool for helping gently brush away the stain from the shoe.
  • Soap and water – dishwashing liquid is perfectly adequate as well; you’ll use this at the top of the method to get eliminate the solvents off you

5 Ways to get tar off shoes

1) Use a chrome steel knife to get rid of the hard tar

Take your shoes and scrape off the hard tar from the rock bottom of the shoes. Don’t be very harsh during this process. Use any stainless-steel knife to gently scrape the tar off don’t force it or else you would possibly by mistake take out the rubber portions of your shoes’ soles with the knife.

2) Use softener

  • For the remaining tar, you should smother it with any of the softeners mentioned. Confirm that you simply allow the softener to figure on the stain for about an hour approximately. If these solutions still fail, you’ll lubricate the stubborn tar with any with any of the solvents


  • A cheap bottle of oil also can soften the stubborn tar from your shoes. To apply, just soak the tarred spare oil and permit it to the line for about an hour approximately. After one hour has elapsed, you’ll attempt to remove the tar with a bit of fabric or a brush.


  • If the tar has splattered on the canvas of your shoe, you’ll soften it with the utilization of vegetable oil. To use, just cover the affected spare vegetable oil and let it sit for about an hour. If the tar disappears, then you’re done but if not, follow it through with a solvent.

3) Grab a Old toothbrush !

how to get tar off shoes
Credit: apartmenttherapy
  • The next step is to grab an old toothbrush and dip it during a mixture of dishwasher detergent and warm water. Use an honest quality dishwasher detergent, preferably with degreasing properties. Once you’ve dipped the toothbrush during this mixture, run the soft bristles of the toothbrush over the affected area.


  • Gently scrub away the maximum amount of the tar as you’ll. you’ll get to repeat this process several times. this may relax more of the tar so once more, use the plastic picnic knife to scrape off the tar as you loosen it and keep repeating with the toothbrush until all the tar is gone.

4) Use solvent for stubborn stains

  • In any case, if just a couple of sections of the stain are lifted while there are still reminders, then you’ll still have this progression. This includes the use of solvents. Abstain from washing the shoes with water and cleanser yet if it’s not treated with dissolvable, however.


  • A portion of the solvents that you simply can utilize kerosene, fuel, WD-40, turpentine, and lighter liquid. What you would like to try to do is to douse a bit of fabric into the dissolvable. Dap or blotch it over the stain.


  • On account of thick stains, apply an ice 3D square on the influenced territory. Hold it there until the tar recolors finishes up plainly weak. this may allow you to tenderly expel it with a spatula or knife.


  • When utilizing solvents, remember that it’s combustible, so take outrageous alert. Wash the shoes totally with water and cleanser and make sure that all hints of the dissolvable are expelled.
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5) Use nail polish remover

  • Another solution on how to remove tar from shoes is the nail polish remover. All you have to do to take advantage of its power in removing tar from shoes is to dip a cotton swab or ball in it. Rub it over the affected area until removed.


  • Ensure to use a colorless nail polish remover to prevent the risk of further straining your shoes due to the dye. Note that this is usually the case when you use colored solutions. Aside from removing tar, the nail polish remover is also useful in removing grass stains.
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Important Safety Precautions

If you’re using something volatile or flammable, caution must be taken. don’t breathe the fumes of those chemicals. Use in a neighborhood that’s not enclosed. Consider wearing a mask. don’t use these chemicals near an open flame or heat source.

Can you freeze shoes to get tar off them?

When looking for information online about how to remove tar from shoes, you will find many references to the effect of putting your shoes in the freezer. Well, you can go ahead and try it. Some people have said they succeeded. 

In any case, putting the shoes for a few hours in the freezer does not damage them. We already saw that this can be an effective way of enlarging your boots in this article. Just put the shoes in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer for a couple of hours.

Does rubbing alcohol remove tar?

Pour a bit of rubbing alcohol directly onto the tar stain. Blot with a dry, clean cloth. Soak a rag with either mineral spirits or kerosene and rub off the tar that remains. They are solvents that easily dissolve tar, but they give off dangerous fumes, so wear a respirator and keep the windows open while using them.

What happens if you get tar on your skin?

Tar will likely peel off after a few days as the skin cells below the tar flake off normally. After the tar or plastic is removed, wash and treat the burned skin. If you have any trouble removing tar or plastic from the skin, you need an evaluation by a doctor.

Does vinegar remove tar?

Mix one tablespoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent and one tablespoon of white vinegar with two cups of warm water. Sponge the stain with the detergents-surface solution apply it to the affected area on the shoe further Sponge with cold water and blot dry.

Does peanut butter remove tar?

If the tar is found on a glass surface like your windshield, apply the process with the peanut butter.

It might be the easiest way to clean tar off a gas surface because other methods may involve chemical solvents that smear on the glass and are difficult to remove but whereas shoes are concerned it might stain your shoes but still if you don’t have any other option then definitely go for it.



When attempting to undertake any of the solutions on the way to remove tar from shoes mentioned during this article, confirm to wait and see. Note that there are times when the removal takes more effort and time than you initially expected.

It is also important to follow the instructions correctly, so you won’t find yourself damaging your shoes rather than fixing it or cleaning it up.

Removing tar from your shoe is not the easiest process, but with a touch of patience and work it can be done 


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