October 24


How to Get Tar Off Shoes Like a Pro

By Teddy

October 24, 2022

If you’ve ever stepped in a puddle of tar or had your shoes get covered in the sticky substance, you know how difficult it can be to remove. Tar is notoriously hard to clean off of surfaces, and trying to remove it from your shoes can seem like an impossible task. But don’t worry – there are a few tricks you can use to get that tar off your shoes without too much hassle.

Step 1: Assess the Situation

The first step is to take stock of the situation and assess the damage. If you have white shoes, the tar is probably going to be more visible than if you have black shoes. If the tar is only on the bottom of your shoe, you’re in luck—it will be easier to clean. But if it’s on the side of your shoe or covering the entire shoe, you might want to consider getting a new pair of shoes.

Step 2: Gather Your Supplies

Once you’ve assessed the situation, it’s time to gather your supplies. For this job, you’ll need something to help clean the shoe and remove the Tar. Luckily you can use a few different types of cleaning supplies to do this like dish soap, rubbing alcohol, and WD-40 (You can find these at most hardware stores). Next, you need a rag or towel. Then, a toothbrush (An old one that you don’t use anymore is ideal). Laundry detergent and a bucket or large bowl of water. 

Step 3: Apply Cleaner

The next step is to apply your cleaning solution to the affected area. If you’re using WD-40, baby oil, vegetable oil, or soapy water, pour or squirt it directly onto the tar. If you’re using rubbing alcohol, soak your rag or towel in it and then apply it to the tar. Be generous with your application—you want there to be a good amount of liquid on the tar so that it can start breaking down. 

Step 4: Let It Sit 

Now that you’ve applied your chosen substance to the tar, it’s time to let it sit for a few minutes. This will give the liquid time to break down the tar so that it’s easier to remove. 

Step 5: Scrub Away 

After a few minutes have passed, it’s time for scrubbing. Use a brush, toothbrush, or rag to scrub away at the tar. You might need to reapply more liquid during this process if the tar starts drying out. 

Step 6: Wash Away Remaining Tar 

Once you’ve removed as much of the tar as possible, it’s time to wash away any remaining residue. First, rinse your shoes with water to pull any residual cleaning solution off the shoes. You don’t want any of your cleaning solution to soak into the shoe too much and deteriorate the glue of the shoe. It can be helpful once you have spot cleaned the tar to wash the entire shoe to prevent the spot cleaning from looking out of place and there may be more affected areas than you thought.

Types of Cleaning Solutions to Use on Tar


One of the simplest ways to remove tar from your shoes is to use WD-40. The WD in WD-40 stands for water displacement, so it’s great for getting rid of tough stains and residues. Just spray some WD-40 onto the affected area and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it away with a clean cloth. You may need to repeat this process a few times to get all of the tar off, but it should come up pretty easily.

Dish Washer Soap

If you don’t have WD-40 on hand, dishwasher soap is another good option for removing tar. Just apply some soap to the stained area and scrub it with a brush or cloth. This may take a little more elbow grease than using WD-40, but it will still do the trick.


Vinegar is another common household item that can be used to remove tar from your shoes. Just soak a cloth in vinegar and rub it over the affected area. Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it away with a clean cloth. You may need to repeat this process a few times to get all of the tar off, but it should come up pretty easily.

Nail Polish Remover

If neither of these methods seems to be working, you can try using a solvent like acetone or nail polish remover. Just apply a little bit of the solvent to a clean cloth and rub it into the tar-stained area. Be sure to do this in a well-ventilated area, as solvents can be quite smelly. Let the solvent sit for a few minutes before wiping it away with another clean cloth. You may need to repeat this process several times, but the solvent should help to break down the tar so that you can wipe it away more easily.


So there you have it, folks! 6 steps to get tar off of your shoe without any fuss or muss. Just remember to take your time, be patient, and above all else—don’t panic! With a little elbow grease and some common household items, that tar will be gone before you know it.

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