How to get tar off your shoes?

You must hurry to get it off if you just got tar on your shoes. Removing the tar as soon as possible is wise to avoid stubborn stains. Be patient, as it’s a time-consuming procedure, like this may take an hour or so to remove all tar from your shoes. However, it also depends upon the quantity of tar you get on your shoes. Let’s dive into this blog on how to get tar off your shoes.

Get Tar Off your Shoes

Use a dull knife to scrape off the hard tar.

Hard tar is much easier to remove. So use a jam knife to peel off as much tar as possible. Do this immediately after you get the tar on your shoes to remove stains more easily. If it’s hard to remove, apply petroleum jelly over the tar and wait a few minutes before scraping it off.

Freezing method to get tar off your shoes

To remove a piece of tar stuck with your shoes’ fabric, put an ice bag to freeze the tar. Please wait for the tar to harden and then scrape it off using a butter knife or toothpick.

Oiling method to dissolve and get tar off your shoes

Use any oily product as a solvent to remove the smears of tar from your shoes. You can use any of the following products to coat the thin smear of tar and remove dissolved, oiled, greased tar by rubbing it with a paper towel. The following products are available at home most of the time and make it easy to get tar off your shoes.

  • Vaseline
  • Mineral oil
  • Vegetable cooking oil
  • Turpentine
  • Paint thinner or
  • Nail polish remover

However, it’s wise to test your chosen product on a small area of your shoes to avoid discoloration or damage.

Note: you can also use volatile solvents like kerosene to remove the tar smears if the products mentioned earlier don’t work.

Spray WD-40 onto tar smears

WD-40 sprays have many purposes and are excellent to get tar stains off your shoes.

  • Set the affected shoe on a newspaper and spray WD-40 on the tar spot.
  • Let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub the area with an old toothbrush, careful not to spread the stain.
  • Rinse your shoe under running water to flush away tar bits and WD-40 residue, and dry it with a towel.

Detergent cleaning to get remnant stains 

To remove the remnant stains, use detergent cleaning. It’s the same type of cleaning we use to clean our shoes, but with a different product. Let’s do it step by step.

  1. First, apply the prewash stain remover directly to the stain that comes as a stick, spray, or gel. Let the prewash stain remover sit on the stain for some time. It’s wise to check the bottle for instructions on how much time to let it work.
  2. Tar stains are oil stains, so you need an enzyme laundry detergent to remove them. Apply a liquid enzyme laundry detergent to the stain. Press the stain several times with the towel. 
  3. Now wash your shows using warm water and enzyme laundry detergent. 
  4. Allow your clothing to air dry.

If the stain remains, repeat the steps using a dry-cleaning solvent in place of the prewash stain remover.


With a little more care on the road, you can escape the tar on your shoes yourself. Avoid areas where tar can be seen. Use a different route if possible. This is because rubber soles can also be damaged by hot, molten tar on sidewalks. However, if your shoes are affected, you can follow the guide above to get the tar off your shoes. If you know another way to deal with the tar on shoes, let us know in the comments section below.

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