How To Remove Tar From Shoes In 3 Easy Steps

Have you ever stepped in tar or gotten stuck on your favorite shoes? Trying to scrub that sticky, gooey mess off the bottom of your soles is frustrating. But don’t worry; you’ve got this with our simple tips on how to remove tar from shoes.

 Removing tar from shoes is easy if you know the tricks. The same thing applies to removing grease on leather shoes; it is all in finding the correct tricks.

 You can get your kicks tar-free in just three simple steps and look as good as new.

Grab everyday items from around the house, find a spot to work outside, and get ready to de-tar your shoes in no time.

Once you discover how simple it is, you’ll again be strutting your stuff with confidence in freshly de-gunked shoes. Let’s get started!

Why You Need to Remove Tar From Shoes Quickly

Have you ever walked around all day with tar stuck to the bottom of your shoes? Not fun. That sticky, gooey mess needs to come off ASAP. Here’s why:


Walking around with tar on your soles is downright uncomfortable.

Each step reminds you of the annoying glob with a sticky ‘squish.’ Yuck! Set your feet free and remove that tar.


Tar-covered shoes don’t look good. That dark, gloopy substance clinging to your kicks ruins their appearance and makes you look unkempt.

Remove the tar and return your shoes to their usual clean, stylish selves.


The chemicals in tar and asphalt can potentially be hazardous to your health, especially with prolonged exposure.

While walking outside and getting a little tar on your shoes likely won’t cause lasting harm, it’s best to remove it to avoid any risks.


Too much built-up tar can make it difficult to walk.

As it accumulates, tar sticks your shoes to the floor with each step and inhibits your range of motion. Remove tar from your soles to maintain full mobility.


If left on for too long, tar and asphalt residue can permanently damage some shoe materials like suede or canvas.

The sooner you remove any tar, the less likely it is to ruin your favorite pair of kicks. Act fast to avoid damage—your shoes will thank you!

Tar stuck to your shoes is no fun and needs to come off quickly for comfort, appearance, and mobility and to avoid permanent damage.

The good news is removing tar from your shoes only takes a few simple steps. Ready to get that sticky mess off your soles?

Easy Home Remedies for Removing Tar From Shoes

If tar has ruined your favorite pair of shoes, don’t worry – there are a few easy home remedies you can try to clean them again.

Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits, like paint thinner, can work wonders on tar stains. Apply the spirits generously to the tar and let it soak in for several minutes.

The tar should soften and loosen its grip. Use an old toothbrush to scrub off any remaining residue. Rinse well with water and let air dry.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is excellent for breaking down tar. Massage the oil into the tar stains and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.

The oil will help loosen the bonds between the tar and your shoes. Wipe away the excess oil and tar with a clean, soft cloth. You may need to repeat the process to remove the tar entirely.


The lubricating oil in WD-40 can effectively dissolve tar stains and residue. Spray it liberally on the tar and let it soak in for several minutes.

Use a scrub brush to loosen the tar from the surface of your shoes. Wipe away the dissolved tar and WD-40 with a clean rag and rinse well with water.

With some elbow grease and one of these common products already in your home, you can get your shoes tar-free and ready to wear again.

Why spend money on expensive commercial removers when these simple DIY methods do the trick?

How to Prevent Tar From Sticking to Shoes

Protecting them before going outside is the best way to prevent tar from sticking to your shoes. Here are a few tips to help keep your boots tar-free:

Apply a Protective Coating

Coating your shoes in a protective sealant will create a barrier between the tar and your shoe material.

Products like wax, silicone sprays, and water protectants can help repel tar and other sticky substances.

Apply 2-3 coats of your chosen protectant before wearing the shoes outside, allowing each coat to dry between applications. Reapply the coating every few wears or if you notice tar starting to stick.

Choose Non-Porous Materials

Shoes made of non-porous leather, vinyl, or rubber are less likely to absorb tar than porous materials such as suede or canvas—the less porous the material, the fewer opportunities for the tar to seep in.

Applying a protective coating is even more critical if your favorite shoes are made of an absorbent fabric.

Wipe Your Shoes

Wiping down your shoes after being outside can remove any excess tar before it has time to adhere to the material fully.

Use a tar remover, Goo Gone, or rubbing alcohol on a cloth to wipe away any tar you see on the surface of your shoes.

Be very gentle to avoid pressing the tar further into the material.

Brushing your shoes regularly, especially after walking on freshly paved asphalt, will help prevent buildup over time.

By taking some simple preventative measures, you can avoid the frustration of tar-covered shoes.

Protective coatings, non-porous materials, and frequent wiping are easy steps to keep your shoes fresh and prevent tar from ever becoming an issue.

Regular maintenance ensures your boots stay tar-free and ready for outside adventures.


There is no need to scrub for hours or throw your shoes out in frustration.

With some basic supplies and a little elbow grease, you can get your shoes looking as good as new. Now, get out there and enjoy your newly tar-free shoes!

No more worrying about that annoying clump stuck to the bottom of your shoe.

Remember, with the proper technique and the right tools, you can overcome any sticky situation. Stay calm and carry on with your day tar-free!

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