Lets Learn How to Remove Scuffs From Leather Shoes

Scuffed leather shoes are unsightly, and they have this unfortunate tendency of getting worse quickly. Fortunately, it is easy to learn removing scuffs from your leather shoes, and you can choose anyone from several methods. What’s even better is many of the products you need are household items.

Materials You’ll Need

You don’t need to use all of these items at once. These are your options, and instructions follow.

  • Toothpaste
  • Nail polish remover
  • Baking soda
  • Dish detergent
  • Pencil eraser
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Shoe scuff products
  • Shoe wipes
  • Shoe polish

Use Household Items

You can try any of the following to remove those scuffs.


Put some toothpaste on toothbrush and scrub the scuffs off. It might help to add a bit of water so the toothpaste becomes foamy. Scrub in a circular motion. Make it a point to rinse the toothpaste and apply again to remove the scuffs. Toothpaste works well for rubber boots, synthetic and real leather.

Nail Polish

Nail polish works for synthetic and real leather. Use only non-acetone nail polish to avoid damaging the leather. Pour the nail polish in a container. Put a cotton ball in the polish and rub the scuffed area. Dip and rub repeatedly until the scuffs are gone.

Baking Soda

Get a toothbrush ready. Pour baking in a bowl and water in another bowl. Dip the toothbrush in the water and baking soda. Scrub the scuff repeatedly. If it doesn’t work, rinse the toothbrush and scrub the scuffs again.

Dish Detergent

Get a wet rag and add a few drops of very mild detergent on it. Scrub the scuffed area. This method is often used for canvas and similar fabrics, but it can work on leather boots provided the detergent is very mild.

Pencil Eraser

This is one method that a lot of people find effective for light scuffs. Get a new pencil eraser, one that’s never been used before. Gently rub until the scuff disappears. The eraser at the end of a pencil works fine, but any type of pencil eraser should suffice.

Petroleum Jelly

Get a clean cloth and apply a bit of petroleum jelly on it. Rub on the scuff until the dirt disappears. Wipe with a clean cloth once the dirt is gone.

Commercial Solutions

Alternatively you may try the following products which are available for purchase.

Shoe Scuff Products

There are products which have been developed specifically for leather shoe scuffs. You can find these in stores and online. These may be more effective, but keep in mind they are often made for specific types of leather.

Suede and nubuck are sensitive and using the wrong scuff remover could result in permanent damage. Read the product description and make sure that it is indeed for suede, full grain or whatever leather shoes you own.

Shoe Wipes

Shoe wipes are for polishing, cleaning and scuff removal. Shoe wipes are sold online and are made from various materials. You have to make sure the wipes are of high quality and suitable for the leather you’re using.

Shoe Polish

Shoe polishers are used to revitalize leather color, and polishers are ideal for softening scuffs. You just need to polish the same way as you would, but apply a bit of extra polish on the scuffed parts.

​Magic Eraser

This is an all-around tool for removing dirt, and it’s a good method for removing scuffs. Aside from leather, Magic Eraser is also ideal for other fabrics and materials.

How to Prevent Scuffs

It’s one thing to know removing scuffs, but it’s better to know how to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are some suggestions:

  • Protective Spray: shoe protective sprays are used to keep leather in good condition. These sprays are also useful for removing scuffs and dirt. You have to spray over the entire shoe so they’re effective. Apart from scuffs, it will also help reduce abrasions and make your shoes look new.
  • Regular Cleaning: clean your leather shoes after heavy use. If you walk on hard surfaces or your shoes get immersed in mud, dust and dirt, clean them regularly. Whether you’re oiling, polishing or conditioning, make sure they’re of the same color as the leather.
  • Use the Right Cleaning Cloth: use lint free cloths to avoid damage. Always rub polish evenly so the coating is uniform.
  • Have a Pair of Shoes in Reserve: some shoe scuffs take just a few minutes to remove, but others may take longer. Have another pair ready in case those scuffs take a while to remove.
  • Use the Leather Shoes Properly: a lot of issues with scuffs arise from improper use. If you have leather dress shoes, don’t use them as work shoes. If your work shoes are meant for hot environments, don’t use them for anything else. If you stick to this routine, you’ll be able to avoid scuffs and other problems with leather.
  • Quality Shoe Brush: rags are okay, but if your leather shoes get scuffed a lot, a quality shoe brush is necessary. Horsehair is the better choice for fine leather. Aside from removing scuffs, a good shoe brush will serve as protection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question:My patent leather boots have scuffs. How do I get rid of it?

​Answer: ​polish works as does toothpaste and a pencil eraser.

Question: ​Is it possible to get rid of scuffs on dark leather footwear?

​Answer: ​There are a lot of methods you can use, including the ones listed above.

Question: ​How long does it take to remove scuffs off leather boots?

​Answer: ​It may take several minutes to completely remove scuffs. It may also require repeated applications depending on the method.


Shoe scuffs are unpleasant, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. As to which method is most effective, some may prefer one over the other. The point is you have several options that you can go to. While it may be impossible to avid scuffs, at least you have the means to eliminate them.