How To Get Spray Paint Off Shoes – Easy 7 Step Guide

How To Get Spray Paint Off ShoesYou may have worn a nice pair of shoes only to discover a splash of paint on them after a recent DIY Project,

Now are you able to salvage your shoes and can you even get the spray paint of them? In this article, we will show you all the various ways/methods you can use to get spray paint off your shoes.

First, let’s see what you will need and then we will go over various types of shoes and explain how to get the spray paint off of them.

Can You Get Spray Paint off Shoes?

Yes, you can get spray paint off shoes. Spray paint and regular paint are similar in their makeup. The difference between both is how they’re delivered (you use brushes for regular paint versus you don’t bother about brushes with spray paints), and the fact that most spray paints are oil-based, give a more durable finish and dry faster than latex paint.

With little effort, and in some cases, not even using any chemical products, you can get spray paint off different types of shoes.

Let me show you exactly how to do that, in seven easy steps. We’ll start from what you need to be able to remove the paint from your shoes, and I’ll briefly list a few things you should know before starting out and also talk about what you should NOT do.

remove spray paint from shoes

What You Need to Remove Spray Paint from Your Shoes

You don’t need high-end or very expensive products to remove paint from your shoes, you can do it with household items or inexpensive over-the-counter products that you get from your local hardware store. Here’s a list of what you might need to remove spray paint from your shoes.

  • Cotton swabs or a piece of cloth
  • Some warm water
  • Vinegar
  • Paint thinner
  • Nail polish remover
  • Turpentine or pure (rubbing) alcohol
  • Detergent
  • Rubber gloves to protect your hand

If you’re having trouble with more difficult stains, you can use acetone. We’ll cover how you can use acetone to remove spray paint stains from your shoes later in this article.

You don’t need to use all of the items I listed at once, it helps if you have everything, and sometimes what you need depends on the type of shoe you’re trying to get the paint off. Just follow the steps I am going to share below to begin removing paint stains.

How to Get Fresh Spray Paint off Shoes

  • STEP 1: Get to it Early

Start early enough. Fresh paint is usually easier to remove but you still have to start early. Water-based paints, for example, might be impossible to remove when they dry, so the key is to start early.

Start by preparing your work area. If you will use any chemicals, then make sure you are in a well-ventilated space. You should use a non-porous work surface like Formica or glass-topped tables.

  • STEP 2: Prepare the Materials You Need

The first step is to get all the materials you need ready. I’ve already listed them earlier – and don’t forget to put on your protective hand gloves. If you eventually need to use chemicals, some of them can irritate the skin. You don’t want that.

  • STEP 3: Remove Excess Paint

Since the paint is still wet, it is easier to wipe out. You need to remove the excess paint. Use a spoon or something similar to scoop out all the excess paint you can.

  • STEP 4: Soak Shoes in Water

Soaking shoes in water can help you get most water-based paint stains off. Not all shoes can be soaked. For shoes that cannot be soaked (leather shoes, suede, etc.), dampen the cloth or cotton swab with the warm water and use it to wipe off the paint stain.

Avoid rubbing the paint into the shoe fibers.

  • STEP 5: Use a Paint Thinner for Stubborn Stains

Use rubbing alcohol or turpentine as a solvent to make the paint soft. Dip a piece of cloth or cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and use it to gently rub on the shoe to soften the paint.

Be careful if you use turpentine, asides the fact that it can damage some types of shoes, it is quite toxic and may contain methanol. Look for the variety that doesn’t contain methanol.

  • STEP 6: Wash off Softened Paint.

Depending on the type of shoe, you may need to wash off the thinned paint with warm water and detergent. This works well for acrylic paint marks. Later, I’ll cover specific details for removing spray paint from different types of shoes.

  • STEP 7: Air Dry the Shoe

Leave the shoes to dry in a well-ventilated space. Your shoes are now paint-free and ready to wear!

How Late is too Late to Remove Spray Paint from Shoes?

You can always remove spray paint from your shoes. The degree to which you can remove the paint and avoid damaging the shoe depends on the type of shoes it is.

How to Get Dry Spray Paint off Shoes

If it’s been a while since the spray paint accidentally (or purposely) got onto the shoe, it might be a little bit more difficult to remove the stain, but it is still possible. Here’s how you’ll do that.

  • STEP 1

The first thing to do is to scrape off the dried paint. Use a butter knife or a spoon to remove as much paint as possible without damaging the fabric.

  • STEP 2

Next, follow STEP 4 to 7 of the first steps to remove the paint. Some shoes may require a slightly different approach, but the process I’ve outlined is fairly common.

Most Common Products to Get Spray Paint off

Remember I mentioned using acetone to remove spray paint? Let’s look at acetone and some other products you can use to get spray paint off. Some of them are common products you use at home almost every other day.


Acetone is an effective solvent. You can use it to remove spray paint from shoes, especially if the stain is dry or the shoe has been stained for some time. To use acetone as a solvent to remove paint from your shoe, you need a can of acetone and some cotton swabs or a piece of cloth.

Simply dip the cotton or cloth in acetone and use it to rub off the paint lightly. Do not scrub vigorously. Acetone is strong enough and will easily remove the spray paint.

Be careful though when using acetone. It can irritate the eyes and the fumes are quite dangerous. Parts of your shoes like the mid-sole might be made of plastic or foam material. In that case, you probably shouldn’t use acetone, because it is slightly acidic and can damage plastic or foam midsoles. Consider using nail polish instead. It still contains acetone but in lower concentrations. Because of its low concentrations, nail polish is not as strong as acetone, so it might take a little more time and effort to get the paint off.


Toothpaste is not an effective solution to remove paint from your shoes. It’s more useful for cleaning dirty shoes or removing scuff marks from shoes depending on how abrasive it is.

To remove paint from your shoes with toothpaste, simply squeeze out some toothpaste onto the affected part of your shoe and use a slightly wet rag to scrub out the paint. It’s almost like using detergent and water, but toothpaste is a bit more abrasive. It is still less effective than acetone or even nail polish remover.

Baking Soda

Absolutely! From cooking to gardening and even cleaning, baking soda is almost indispensable to have handy. It is one effective way to get spray paint off your shoe, although it may not be as effective as nail-polish remover or acetone.

Baking soda is also a lot safer as it does not damage the shoe fabric or plastic midsoles. It is also safe to use for other shoe types like leather or suede shoes.

To remove spray paint with baking soda, first, clean any excess paint if it is wet and fresh, or lightly scrape the excess paint with a knife. Next, make a baking soda solution with vinegar (or coconut oil for oil-based paints), use the paste as a thinner to soften the paint, then wash the shoe in warm water and leave to dry.


It depends on the type of paint and if it is not already dry. Water is not a good choice to try to remove oil-based paints because they are designed to be water-resistant and water only makes them bond more. If the paint is water-based (check the spray can), you can use warm or hot (but not scalding) water and detergent to remove the stain.

Using water is one good option for leather shoes, but you cannot use only water to remove paint stains from your leather shoes. You will need, some warm water, detergent, some cotton swabs or a piece of cloth, hydrogen peroxide, and leather conditioner.

To remove the stains, add some soap to the water and use the cloth to wipe the paint stains. If it remains you can then dab some hydrogen peroxide over the stains to remove the paint stains.


WD40 is one of the most popular commercial products for removing paint off surfaces, and shoes are no exception! WD40 works best when you use it to remove spray paint stains on patent leather shoes or any shoes that have a high gloss finish.

However, WD40 is not very friendly with suede shoes. You must not attempt using it to remove paint stains from suede. Read on to learn how to best remove paint stains on your suede and not damage your shoe in the process.


Ice does remove some paint stains. While it can remove spray paint stains from your shoe, it is not the best option if you’re serious about getting paint stains off your shoes. If you want to remove stains the cool way, you can try blasting dry ice on the paint stain. But that is definitely high-level stuff and you probably don’t have the equipment to do that. Since we’re talking simple and easy hacks you can use right at home to remove spray paint, you should ignore any temptations to use ice. Besides, it could damage your shoe fabric, since shoes are not usually designed for the very high pressures of dry ice blasting.

Getting Spray Paint off Different Kinds of Shoes

As promised, this is going to be a specific guide on how to remove spray paint from different types and colors of shoes. Plus, specific guides on what to do, what to avoid, and precautionary measures you need to know before getting started.

Black Shoes

Removing paint stains from your black shoe isn’t difficult. But it still depends of course, on how long you’ve had the stain and if it’s dry and what type of shoe it is.

To get spray paint off black shoes, simply follow the steps I mentioned earlier in the article for removing fresh or dry and old paint stains from your shoes.

White Shoes

It’s the same as above. It probably won’t be difficult since most spray paints are oil-based, and you will likely want to get the paint off as soon your shoe gets stained.

Canvas Shoes

If the paint is still fresh, simply follow the steps I outlined earlier to remove fresh spray paint from shoes. It’s fairly easy to remove stains from canvas shoes. If you have to use a thinner, use rubbing alcohol (also called isopropyl alcohol) instead of acetone.

Leather Shoes

Soaking your shoes in cold water to remove spray paint from your leather shoes is not ideal, but good leather shoes should be able to take a little wetness now and then. And if you treat it properly and regularly use a leather conditioner. It should be in good shape.

To remove paint stains (presumably fresh stains), simply follow the steps I outlined before. You may not need a thinner. Simply use warm water, a soft-bristle brush to gently dab at the stain, after scooping out excess. When the stain is gone, dry the shoe and apply a leather conditioner.

Source: 5 Effective Ways to Get Paint off Leather Shoes

uede Shoes

Getting spray paint off suede shoes follows a similar process as getting paint off leather shoes. So just follow the same process as above. If the stain persists, use a leather cleaner to finally get the tough stain out. You can easily get one in a local store or even online. You can also use vinegar. The only drawback is that vinegar can dry out the leather and lead to brittleness. There’s a way to tix this though – simply use a leather conditioner when you’re done removing the stain.

Tennis Shoes

Simply follow the steps I mentioned at the beginning of this guide. It should do the job!

Rubber Shoes

Simple! To remove spray paint from rubber shoes, apply rubbing alcohol (for nerds, it’s called isopropyl alcohol) if warm water and scraping don’t succeed. Then mix some detergent in warm water and use a cloth to wipe at the paint. It should come off easily as the rubbing alcohol thins it out.

How to Get Spray Paint off the Bottom of Shoes

Simply use a toothbrush to scrub off the paint. If you want it to come off more easily. You can use a light thinner like nail polish remover. First test any thinning chemicals you want to use to make sure it’s safe before you use it.

Need to Know

Here I’ll briefly list some safety tips you should know when trying to remove paint from shoes.

  1. Always use a well-ventilated area. I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s really important. Some chemical solvents like acetone or turpentine are dangerous. Toluene contains methanol, which is poisonous, acetone can cause asphyxia, and turpentine can cause dizziness.

If possible, and necessary, use them outside.

  1. Also, keep them far from flames or anything that can cause a spark. Acetone, for example, is very flammable and can travel some distance to a flame source.
  2. Wear rubber gloves. Some of the agents you will use can irritate your skin. You may even need to wear face masks if you’re using chemicals like acetone.