Dec 19, 2023

Shoe polish stain removal

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Find out how to remove shoe polish stains and marks with this must-know stain removal advice...

That frantic last-minute shoe polish before a job interview or late on a Sunday night when your mind is on other things might be fine for the shoes but can lead to the odd mishap.

According to Katie Mortram, Homes Testing Manager at the GHI, "shoe polish contains dyes as well as grease so can be a tough stain to remove from some fabrics and it's usually dark in colour which also makes it tricky. My advice is to work on the mark from the outside in so you don't spread the stain."

As always, prevention is better than cure, so we’d advise taking the time to lay down some newspaper to protect the surface you’re working on and to wear old clothes or an apron, so that if you do accidentally get it on you, it's not as much of a problem. But we realise this isn't always possible, so if you’ve managed to get some shoe polish on the carpet or your clothing, find out exactly how to tackle those greasy black marks with this stain removal advice from our experts at the GHI…

Carefully scrape off any solid bits with a blunt knife. Follow the directions below for specific fabrics.

Squirt a few drops of WD-40 on the affected area, wait thirty seconds, then blot with white paper towels, moving to clean areas of the towel frequently. Work from the outside inwards, and use a delicate dabbing motion. You must be gentle to avoid pushing the stain deeper in or spreading it. Repeat as necessary until no more of the stain is lifted. Remove remaining traces of colour with White Wizard. Apply and leave for a minute or so, then blot the stain with lightly dampened, white paper towels or a clean, white lint-free cloth. Finish by dabbing the area with clean water to rinse it, then blot it dry. You may have to make several applications.

A small stain on cotton will often come out simply by rubbing in a little liquid dish washing detergent and washing as normal. For larger stains, pre-treat with Stain Devils Lubricant and Grease according to the manufacturer's instructions, then wash at 40°C with biological detergent.

Shoe polish is difficult to remove from silk, but try the WD-40 method as described for carpet, followed by Stain Devils Fat and Sauces to remove any greasy mark left by the WD-40. Machine-wash at 30°C on the delicates cycle.

For wool, spot-treat with Stain Devils Lubricant and Grease and wash at 30°C on the delicates cycle.

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General directions Carpet Washable fabrics Like this article? to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.