How To Get Tar Off Shoes – Quick Pro Tips

Walking on a newly constructed road or somewhere on a blazing summer day will surely leave your shoes tar filled. You should avoid these roads, especially in summer, and if you don’t, the alone choice you have is to get the tar off your shoes. The tar is quite stubborn and can be an absolute mess if you take your shoes indoors. Hence, you should clean the tar off your shoes as early as possible. 

How to get tar off shoes

And for that, you will need the right methods. Otherwise, you can damage your costly shoes. To be frank, removing tar from shoes is an exhausting task and will take a long time. Also, if done wrong, it can make your shoes worse. Thus, to make sure you can remove the asphalt off shoes easily, here we are with a detailed guide on how to get tar off shoes using the right methods.


  • Plastic knife- a plastic knife or a disposable one will work best for removing tar. However, make sure the knife is strong or might crack off and harm you.
  • Softener- you can’t simply remove the tar using a knife. You need to make it soft. You can use lubricants such as petroleum jelly or vegetable oil.
  • Toothbrush- you can use any old toothbrush. As the tar is hard to remove, try using a harsh one.
  • Tar remover solvents- solvents such as gasoline, kerosene, and turpentine are known for removing tar, so use them.


Here we have explained the basic three steps to remove tar from shoes. Make sure you do not skip any of the steps for thoroughly cleaning. 

1. Scrape off the tar using a plastic knife  

To remove the big clumps of tar from your shoes, you need to scrape off the tar using a plastic knife or disposable butter knife. Make sure you are gentle while removing tar off shoes, or they might get damaged.

Even though it’s the easiest and less time-consuming process, you need to remove the tar gently. Also, if the tar is hot and sticky, it might be hard to scrape. In that case, solidify the tar first for easy removal.

You can freeze the shoes in your freezer or put them inside a bag full of ice to harden the tar. 

2. Using the softener to scrape off the tar

Once you have removed those fat chunks of tar using the knife, it’s time to remove the adamant tar stuck on the cleats and ridges. For that, you have to soften the tar first.

Simply rub any lubricant, such as oil or petroleum jelly, on the tar and leave it for an hour. Afterwards, take an old toothbrush and scrape out the tar from the thin areas.

You won’t even require a toothbrush if the tar is too soft. You can use any damp cloth too. Lastly, if there are no tar stains left on your shoes, there is no need to go to the third step. However, if the stains are too adamant, check the last step.

3. Using the tar remover solvents

There are special tar remover solvents available. However, if you don’t want to spend over them, get a spoonful of kerosene or gasoline and rub it over those tar stains using a cloth.

But, make sure these solvents don’t damage your shoes. For that, check on a small patch using a small quantity first. Once you have cleaned the tar off the shoes, wash them using water and mild soap. 


  • Get the tar off your shoes as soon as possible. That’s because if you wait for a long time, the tar will firmly stick, and the stains won’t go easily.
  • Invest in waterproof shoe spray and shine creams which make it really easy to get asphalt off shoes.
  • Do not use any new product on your shoes blindly. Make sure you check it first on a small patch or another surface.
  • If you are washing your tar-filled shoes in a machine, remove as much as tar possible or else you will damage and stain your shoes.


It’s rare, but the tar might get on the side or top of the shoe. And it’s a real mess. However, here are some easy steps which you can follow in cleaning the sides and top of your shoes. You will require the same material given above, so check them. 

  • Firstly, if there are big chunks, scrape them out using a plastic knife
  • Take a damp cloth and apply some amount of tar remover and rub it on the tar.
  • Lastly, wipe off the softened tar using a damp cloth. You can also use some conditioner afterwards for better results.


1. Is alcohol helpful in removing the tar?

Yes, surely, dab some alcohol on the tar and rub it with a damp cloth. Within minutes, you should get the tar stains off your shoes. However, do not overuse it as it might cause discolouration.

2. Can you freeze shoes to get tar off them?

Yes, many people try this method because the tar hardens and is easy to scrape off. But, make sure you use a plastic bag while freezing your shoes. 

3. Can vinegar be used to remove the tar?

Yes, you can use a spoonful of vinegar mixed with some water to clean the tar off your shoes. However, avoid using pure vinegar. It will damage your shoes. 


We know that getting tar off shoes is a real mess and a time-consuming process. But, you need to have the patience to make your shoes all clean again. The methods given in this article are tested and won’t damage your shoes if done rightly. Hence, we hope that now you can easily remove tar from shoes without damaging them.

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