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6 Different Methods to Remove Scuff Marks from Shoes

We've all been there. You get a brand new pair of shoes and you walk around as carefully as you can so they don't get scuffed up. No matter how hard you try, it happens, those scuff marks show up. Then you wonder how am I going to get those scuff marks removed?



Before you dive headfirst into any of the methods we've outlined, make sure to take an inconspicuous spot on your shoe to spot clean. Making a test run will make sure you don't stain, damage, or make the scuff mark worse. It's good to note that sometimes just a clean cloth and some elbow grease can remove some scuffs, other times, warm water and mild liquid soap will do the trick. If you're beyond those methods, then read on to learn how to remove scuff marks from your shoes.

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.

pink rubber erasers in a pile.
Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

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.

pair of hands getting petroleum jelly out of a jar.
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Petroleum Jelly

In addition to reducing diaper rash in babies, 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 petroleum jelly in circular motions to the affected area of the shoe. Allow the product to sit briefly on the surface before removing it with another clean 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.

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.

tube of toothpaste with cap removed.
Photo by Tania Des on Unsplash


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 the 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.

By using these methods, you will be able to prolong the life of your shoes and keep them looking as brand new as possible.

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