How to Easily Remove Tar from Shoe Soles | Step-by-Step Guide

  • By: Christopher
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Tar is a sticky substance that can be notoriously difficult to remove from anything, especially from the delicate material of shoe soles. It’s incredibly inconvenient and annoying when you accidentally step in tar and then have to try and clean it off your footwear.

However, removing tar from shoe soles doesn’t have to be a challenge; there are some easy tips and tricks that anyone can use to keep their footwear looking clean and new.

In this blog post, we’ll provide some valuable tips on quickly and effectively getting tar off your shoes with minimal damage to the sole. So if you find yourself stuck with tar-covered shoes, take heart, knowing that there are solutions available!

6 Ways to Effectively Remove Tar from Shoe Soles

Tar on shoe soles is a common occurrence for many footwear lovers, but with these six simple yet effective solutions, you will always have clean soles in no time! Read on to learn more.

1. Turpentine or Paint Thinner

Turpentine or Paint Thinner is one of the best ways to remove tar from your shoes. Due to their solvent properties, turpentine or paint thinner effectively removes tar from shoe soles. These substances contain organic solvents that dissolve tar and make removing it easier.

By gently rubbing them on the tar-stained area, the tar can be dissolved and wiped away, restoring the cleanliness of the shoe soles.

However, caution must be exercised when using these solvents due to their flammability and potential harm to your shoe soles if used improperly or excessively.

To use this method effectively, you need turpentine, a soft cloth, and water. 

Steps to Follow:

  1. Dadd your soft cloth in turpentine or pain thinner and rub it on your shoe in a circular motion until the tar is removed. 
  2. If the stain is tougher, repeat the process using more turpentine to get rid of it. 
  3. Once the tar stain is removed, wipe or rinse your shoes in water and let them dry completely in the sunlight before wearing them again.

2. White Vinegar

White vinegar is a common fixture in the kitchen. It cleans surfaces, kills germs and bacteria, and makes delicious dishes. White vinegar is a multi-purpose liquid that can also be used to remove tar from shoes. 

To remove tar from your shoes using white vinegar, you will need the following; warm water, liquid dish soap, white vinegar, and a soft cloth or rag. 

Steps to Follow:

  1. Mix three teaspoons of white vinegar and a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid in water. 
  2. Stir to mix the solution. Once the solution is formed, use your soft cloth or rag to rub the solution in circular motions on the tar stain to get rid of it. 
  3. Finally, rinse the shoes in clean water and let them dry before wearing them again.

3. WD-40 Multi-Use Spray

If home remedies do not work for you, try using WD-40 Multi-Use Spray. WD-40 is a penetrating oil that removes grease and moisture, protects metals from rusting, penetrates stuck parts, and lubricates almost everything. 

To use WD-40, you will need warm water, a stiff brush, a plastic knife, and WD-40. 

Steps to Follow:

  1. Begin by removing the tar stuck on your shoes using a plastic knife or spatula. 
  2. Once your knife is unable to remove more tar, mix a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid in warm water. 
  3. Deep your stiff brush in the mixture and scrub the stained spot using circular motions until the tar starts to get loose. 
  4. To remove the remaining stains, apply some WD-40 to the tar and let it set for a few minutes before using your brush to remove the tar. 
  5. Once your shoe is clean, use the remaining soap solution to wash away the WD-40 

4. Goo Gone Cleaner

Goo-Gone is another product that works like WD-40 to remove tar from shoes. It is widely used to remove grease, glue, paint, and tar on several surfaces, including tar and alsphat on shoe soles. 

If you plan to use goo gone to remove tar from your shoes, you will need a soft cloth or rag, Goo-Gone, and a brush. 

Steps To Follow:

  1. Wet a spot on your rag or soft cloth using GOO-Gone and rub it on your shoes using circular motions. 
  2. Let the Goo Gone soak into the tar for 10 to 30 minutes before rubbing with more Goo-Gone on the spot to eliminate the tar stain. 
  3. If the stain proves hard to come out, replace your soft cloth or rag with a hard brush to repeat the same process. 

5. Baby Oil

Baby oil effectively removes tar from shoe soles because it softens and dissolves the sticky substance. When applied to the tar, baby oil penetrates it and breaks down its adhesive properties, making it easier to remove. 

The oil acts as a lubricant, reducing the friction between the tar and the shoe sole, allowing for gentle scraping without damaging the shoe. Additionally, the viscosity of baby oil helps to loosen the tar, facilitating its removal. 

We highly recommend Johnson’s Baby Oil. To use this product, you will need baby oil, a rag, or a brush. 

Steps To Follow:

  1. Apply a healthy amount of baby oil to lubricate the tar. 
  2. Let the baby oil soak into the tar for ten to thirty minutes before using your brush or rag to remove the tar. 
  3. If some tart stain remains, prepare a mixture of dishwashing soap and warm water. 
  4. Deep your brush into the solution and scrub the tar stains away.

6. C-Tec Multisolve Multi-Purpose Solvent

Finally, another product that you can use to remove tar from your shoes is C-Tec Multisolve. It’s a complete multi-purpose solvent; for the safe removal of wax, adhesives, sealants, oil, grease, silicone, and much more.

To use this product, you will need a plastic knife, Multisolve, and a rag. 

Steps To Follow:

  1. Start by using the plastic knife to remove large portions of the tar. 
  2. Then apply some multisolve multi-purpose solvent to the tar and let it set in for a few minutes to soften it and make it easier to remove. 
  3. Use your rag or old toothbrush to remove the tar residue from your shoes.

Final Words

In conclusion, no matter how hard one may try, it is inevitable that somewhere down the line, they will have to deal with pesky tar deposits on the soles of their shoes. 

While some methods, like using turpentine and vinegarare fast and easy ways to remove the tar with minimal effort, other techniques, like WD-40 and Baby oil, require a bit more time but could be preferable for certain items. 

Additionally, any solvent should be used sparingly and cautiously, as it can damage soles made from delicate materials. Remembering to stay safe by wearing gloves and using proper ventilation when using any solvent is the most important and effective method. 

Last update on 2024-04-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API