How To Get Tar Off Shoes: The Way Of Making A Difficult Task Achievable

Tar is known to be a sticky, black substance that is very difficult to remove. The process of how to get tar off shoes for an instance, be that it accidentally happened to you may deem as an extremely frustrating situation.

However, there is inevitably an effective way of solving this type of challenge. Being resourceful and having the drive to finish the task make all the difference. Plus learning the proper steps to how to do it effectively can make wonders.

Removing tar from anything, or in this case your shoes can be challenging but it is achievable. Especially if you do not have spare time to go to a professional or just want to do it in an inexpensive way.

Knowing what to use and how to properly use it to complete the process will be revealed in this article. Also, I will give you tips along the way that you will find very helpful as well.

What You Will Need

Before I uncover the step by step process on how to get tar off your shoe, there are the essential things that you will need for this task. These are the things you will need to complete this process.

  • Disposable plastic knife or blunt knife​​​​​

This will be used in the initial steps on how to get tar off your shoe. This is helpful especially for removing large chunks of tar on your shoes or those pieces that are stuck between the grooves of your soles.

  • Dish detergent or soap and water

To wash your shoes thoroughly after the treatments, you will need these. It will also help wash off the melted tar and other substances you have used in the process.

  • Old toothbrush

Use this with soap or dish detergent to scrub away tar stains or any other substances that were used in the process. 

  • Softeners (olive oil, lard, petroleum jelly, eucalyptus oil, mineral oil, vegetable oil, margarine, and peanut butter to name a few examples)

To prevent causing any damage to your shoe while slowly removing tar stains, these are some of the softeners you can opt to use for this process. As the name indicates, they help soften tar stains so you can easily scrub them off afterward. 

  • Solvents (WD-40, kerosene, turpentine, gasoline, lighter fluid are some of the options)

To make sure all tar stains are removed, even those that are hard to reach, you can take the step a little further by using solvents. These substances are very useful in melting tar and making it effortless to expel. 

  • Cleaners for removing tar stains

If in any case there are still tar stains that the previous steps or treatments were not able to remove, you can opt for specifically designed tar stain removers.

How To Get Tar Off Shoes: The Step-by-step Procedure

Once you have collected the materials you require, you may promptly begin to follow the easy and simple guide as follows. With that said, here are the instructions how to get tar off your shoes and the step by step guide for doing it.

1. Assess how much tar got into your shoe. Take note before going through the whole process, it is best that you test it on a part that is hidden before doing the treatment on the whole affected area.

To begin, obtain a disposable plastic knife or a dull knife and carefully use it to get tar off your shoe. Be very cautious about doing this to prevent damaging or possibly gouging holes on your shoe while doing this step.

(Tip: Keep in mind that it will be harder to remove tar if you retain it on your shoe longer, you must remove tar stains immediately or right after it gets on your footwear.)

2. Once you have removed some of the tar stains using a dull knife or disposable plastic knife but still see remaining stains, you can wash it off using dish detergent or soap and water. Mix the dish detergent with warm water.

Use an old toothbrush and dip in dish detergent or soap and water then scrub away the remaining stains. Rub in a circular motion until the tar is removed. When it comes to the soles of the shoes, make sure to get into the grooves to get rid of the tar thoroughly.

(Tip: Do not spray or wash the stain away using water alone, this will only spread the tar stain making it even more difficult to remove.)

3. If in case the first two steps still leaves tar stains on your shoe, you can proceed to this next step. Use softeners such as olive oil, lard, petroleum jelly, eucalyptus oil, mineral oil, vegetable oil, margarine, and peanut butter and apply a generous amount on the affected area and let it sit for an hour or so.

Once the softeners have completed working its magic, proceed to wash everything off using soap and water.

To check our more about this, watch this video.

4. For those hard to reach areas or for tar stains that remaining in between creases of your shoes, you can opt to use solvents to get rid of them. You can choose from WD-40, kerosene, turpentine, gasoline, and lighter fluid for this step.

Soak the affected area with the solvent of your choosing and let it sit for a little while. Scrub or massage the affected area to let the solvent penetrate through the material of your shoe. After which, proceed to thoroughly rinse everything off with soap and water.

(Tip: Keep in mind that solvents are highly flammable substances and that you have to be very careful while using it and make sure that it is rinsed off meticulously.)

For a quick view of how it is done, see here.

5. If all else fails, you can also consider cleaners that are specifically designed to get tar off your shoes. This can be found in the automotive section of stores.

Since they are designed for the specific purposes of getting tar off your shoes, they can do the job effectively without causing damage on the show.

For further reference on these steps, you can see it here.


The task to get tar off your shoes may indeed be an arduous task. However, it is doable and can be done by any average person. Moreover, it does not need to cost you a lot to have it done.

You can try the steps that I have shared if ever you encountered a similar situation of getting tar stains on your shoes. Just keep in mind to complete each and every step carefully and with caution. This will ensure your safety and prevent any damage to your shoe.

Was this article helpful? Did you find it achievable to get tar off our shoes while reading through this procedure?

Do you find the step by step guide useful? Do you have any other suggestions regarding this topic? I would like to hear your thoughts about this article. Send your feedback and suggestions by leaving a comment below.

3 thoughts on “How To Get Tar Off Shoes: The Way Of Making A Difficult Task Achievable”

  1. I read your Blog and found a nice and very informative article. I will share this blog with my friends. Hopefully, you continue to write like this article.


  2. Thank you for this article.
    I am going to start with WD-40 first as I have had the tar on the bottom of my sandals for about a month and I really need these shoes.
    I tried before to remove it using my homemade cleaner of vinegar, water and dawn dish soap I use for all my cleaning needs using a small wire brush. Did not help.
    Happy I found this article and praying for a conclusion.
    I got the tar from a badly done parking lot.

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