6 Simple Ways To Remove Shoe Scuffs

6 Simple Ways To Remove Shoe Scuffs
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We’ve all been plagued by the new-shoe-scuff debacle. You leave the store, or those new dress shoes are delivered, and before you even have them on, or so it seems, you’ve marred them with a careless step. At first look, they appear to be ruined or you envision a hefty bill at the local cobbler. Don’t fret, with a little elbow grease and quick scavenger hunt around the house, you can surprisingly repair most scuffs and abrasions with a set of common household items. 

Ahead are six simple ways to remove those pesky abrasions. We recommend testing an inconspicuous location on the shoe prior to proceeding. Also, if one of these solutions doesn’t appear to work, go down the list and try another as you likely have most of these items under your roof.

Baking Soda

This widely available product is likely sitting in your pantry or refrigerator right now. It has a wide range of applications and is often used in toothpaste for its ability to help to remove stains. For removing scuff marks from shoes, combine 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda and enough warm water to create an evenly consistent paste. Apply the paste directly to the scuff marks. Using a cloth, polish the shoes and remove the excess paste with a second clean, damp cloth.

Nail Polish Remover

This bathroom cabinet staple is as effective at removing scuff marks as it is at removing nail polish. Apply a small amount to a cotton ball and polish the scuffs with small, circular motions. This method works well for patent leather shoes and sneakers. 

Rubber Eraser

This school kid staple should also be in every adult’s shoe repair quiver. And while the more common pink-colored erasers will work, you will have to likely remove the residue once done. White erasers leave less of this residue. Utilizing small circular motions, gently polish the scuff marks away. This method works well on vinyl, patent leather, and suede. Make sure to brush any dirt or debris off of suede prior to utilizing the eraser method.

Petroleum Jelly

In addition to reducing diaper rash in babies (chafing in active adults), petroleum jelly (i.e. Vaseline) is also a game changer in helping to heal minor scrapes on both human skin as well as on leather shoes. Using a clean, dry cloth, apply a small amount of the petroleum jelly in circular motions to the affected area of the shoe. Allow the product to sit briefly on the surface before removing with another clean cloth.

Rubbing Alcohol

It’s great for sterilizing, but did you know that this inexpensive staple is also a great solution for removing scuffs and stains from patent leather? Slightly dampen a cloth and rub the area until the scuff is gone. If you don’t happen to have any rubbing alcohol at your disposal, it’s likely that you have hand sanitizer around given the current global situation. The same product that you are applying daily contains rubbing alcohol and can also work magic on those scuff marks. 


The next time you swap out your toothbrush, put the old one aside and save for just such an occasion. Apply a small amount of white (non-gel) toothpaste to the brush and gently polish the scuffs. With a damp cloth, wipe away the toothpaste and allow shoes to air dry. In addition to working on canvas options, toothpaste is also a good solution for leather and faux leather footwear. As a bonus, the toothpaste solution is also a great way to brighten up those rubber soles.

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