Yes, shoe polishes can be an actual lifesaver to make your shoes look all shiny and new but if it comes in contact with your clothes, it can be a difficult stain to get rid of. However, there are certain methods that you can use to clean up the stain, no matter how bad it is.

Follow the steps accordingly to get the best results.

Cleaning Stains of Paste Shoe Polish

  1. Scraping

Rub in a bit of petroleum jelly on the stain and wait for an hour to allow the shoe polish to loosen up. Once it has loosened up, use a knife or any other similar object to scrape it off the piece of clothing.

If you don’t want to use petroleum jelly to treat the stain, you can either use vegetable oil of WD-40 instead. This will have the same effect on the stain. However, you have to only wait for about 15-20 minutes instead of an hour to scrape it off.

  1. Cleaning

For the next step, take a cotton ball and soak it in a mixture of cool water and ammonia. Dab on the stain pressurizing it into the center to avert it from dispersing any further. You may also use a dish liquid instead of ammonia. However, make sure that the dish liquid you are using doesn’t comprise of dyes in it. Wash the stain with water once you’ve tried these methods.

Want more alternatives? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered! Apart from ammonia and dish liquid, you can also use cleaning agents like rubbing alcohol to treat the stain. Dip a piece of cotton ball into the alcohol and dab it onto the stain. Though this might be okay for pastel clothes, mix the alcohol with 2 parts of water for darker shades of colour. Keep on dabbing it until the stain is almost invisible.

It is possible that the stain may still not go away even after trying all of the cleaning agents mentioned above. If that’s the case for you at this point, wash the cloth with water and apply turpentine. It is wise to use it on a small bit first to see if it can damage the garment. If it doesn’t discolor or harm the cloth, go ahead and dab turpentine with a cotton ball on the stain.

  1. Further Cleaning

By now, if the stain is still there, but the piece of cloth in the washing machine and add an all-fabric bleach to give it a good wash. If not, you can also try using chlorine bleach only if you are sure that it’s not going to damage the garment.


However, not all shoe polishes have a paste-like texture. Some are liquid and in order to clean stains from liquid shoe polish, begin with blotting the stained area with paper towels and then move on to the steps mentioned above for the past shoe polish. Do not forget to put it in the wash to get rid of the smell of the cleaning agents that you have used throughout the process.