Removing stains from shoes

How to Remove Oil Stains from Shoes

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. Updated: June 5, 2019
How to Remove Oil Stains from Shoes

Oil stains are among the most common stains we can get on both clothing and shoes. Have you accidentally spilt oil on your shoes when cooking? Oil stains are particularly difficult to remove, but not impossible. If you’re wondering how to remove oil stain from leather shoes, suede shoes or any other shoes, this article is for you!

Keep reading here at oneHOWTO and discover how to remove oil stains from shoes.

You may also be interested in: How to Remove Coffee Stains from Shoes

Steps to follow:


The best way to remove an oil stain from shoes is to act quickly. First, sprinkle an absorbent material onto your stained shoes, such as talcum powder, salt, cornflour or powdered chalk. Leave any of these on your shoes for a day, allowing it to fully absorb the oil. This trick is ideal for all types of shoes as these products generally don’t cause material damage.

For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss how to remove oil stains with talcum powder.

How to Remove Oil Stains from Shoes - Step 1

After a rest period of about 5-10 minutes, very carefully remove the talcum with a soft bristle brush like a toothbrush. Then, with a clean, dry cloth, remove any dust left on the shoe. If the stain hasn’t yet disappeared, repeat the process again.

If you are dealing with an old oil stain on shoes, we recommend mixing a little cornstarch (a couple of drops) until you get a thick paste. Rub this on the affected area and follow the steps above.

For more, we recommend reading our article, how to remove oil stains from clothing.

How to Remove Oil Stains from Shoes - Step 2

How to remove oil stains from leather shoes

If you’ve already tried removing oil stains with talcum powder or cornstarch but it hasn't worked, here are some additional tips on how to remove grease stains from shoes:

  • If it's natural leather, dilute two tablespoons of shampoo in 1/2 litre of hot water. We recommend using horse shampoo also marketed to humans. Dampen a clean cloth in the mixture, remove excess fluid and gently rub the stain. Then, with another damp cloth soaked in water, remove the excess soap. Pumpkin Soap is also incredibly effective in removing oil stains.
  • If it's synthetic leather we suggest using the above mentioned products or washing up liquid. Washing up dish liquid is a powerful degreaser and is a great product for removing old oil stains. It’s important to know that a cheap product may not work as well and can damage your shoes. Dawn wash dishwashing liquid, for example,has been used to remove oil stains from animals affected by oil spills and is a powerful degreaser.
  • If the leather is dark we recommend rubbing the shoes with the inside of a banana peel. This trick is also great when trying to get rid of ink stains on your skin.

In all cases of the above mentioned cases, we recommend using a hair dryer, a fan or any other object that emits air to dry the shoes. If not dried properly, it could cause warping or damaging.

If you need more information, we advise you to take a look at our article on how to remove oil stains from leather shoes.

How to Remove Oil Stains from Shoes - Step 3

How to remove oil from suede shoes

Suede shoes are more delicate than leather, therefore, special care needs to be taken when wanting to get rid of an oil stain on suede shoes. The best option to remove oil stains suede is with talcum powder. Perform steps 1 and 2 from above and the stain should disappear.

If this method doesn’t work, you can also prepare a solution of warm water, mild soap and a little ammonia. Beat the mixture until it froths. You must remove the stain with the foam only and never with the soapy liquid solution. Put some foam on a soft bristle brush and rub the stain lightly, in the direction of the suede's texture. Then, with a clean cloth remove any leftover foam and dry the shoe well with a hair dryer.

How to Remove Oil Stains from Shoes - Step 4

How to get oil out of nubuck

Nubuck is a material similar to suede.The cleaning process for removing oil stains from nubuck is very similar to that of suede. To remove oil stains from nubuck shoes, we recommend avoiding liquid products. However, as oil is a fluid, it can seep into the material and traces may be left on the shoes. To avoid this, you will need to clean the entire shoe. After applying the talcum powder, prepare a solution of hot water and bar soap. Once the soap has dissolved, moisten a soft brush and clean the whole shoe, focus placed on the oil stain.

Remember that this type of material should always be cleaned in the direction of the leather, if not, it may cause damage.

How to Remove Oil Stains from Shoes - Step 5

How to remove oil stains from fabric shoes

Fabric shoes are the easiest to clean. After applying talcum powder to the shoes, prepare a mixture of warm water, soap and a little baking soda. Once the ingredients are well combined, moisten a soft bristle brush and rub out the stain. Then leave them to dry out of the sun.

Some trainers may have additional materials such as suede or leather, so you will need to be careful and check the label. Most running shoes are made from a washable fabric along with plastic and rubber, so you may be able to put them in the washing machine without damaging them. This will generally depend on how sturdy the shoes have been made in the first place. You can prepare the same mixture and then brush it off before putting them on a gentle cycle at a low temperature.

Take a look at how to clean white converse or nylon shoes for more specific information.

How to Remove Oil Stains from Shoes - Step 6

It may take a little trial and error, but you can test all these homemade tricks to remove oil stains from your shoes and hopefully get rid of them either entirely or so that you won't be able to notice them. If you want to learn how to remove other stains from shoes take a look at how to remove coffee stains too.

For more about removing stains, we recommend reading our following articles:

If you want to read similar articles to How to Remove Oil Stains from Shoes, we recommend you visit our Home cleaning category.

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jobert dimagiba
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How to Remove Oil Stains from Shoes