How to Get Oil Out of Shoes? (EASY DIY METHODS)

how to get oil out of shoes

Did you just spill grease or oil on your precious footwear? How to get oil out of shoes? Do not worry because we can help you handle it.

We will recommend some tips to remove the oily stains on your shoes in this post. You can also learn how to prevent this problem. 

Now, let’s get started! 

How To Get Oil Out Of Shoes? 

The method for removing grease differs depending on what kind of footwear you work on. Thankfully, the solutions are simple for all. 

Running shoes

To clean your running footwear or canvas, you can use powder to absorb the oil first and then rub the stains with hot water and soap. 

Here is a complete guide for this task: 

  • Sprinkle cornstarch or baby powder on the oily stains. 
  • Allow five to ten minutes for the powder to soak into the oil. Because the baby powder is an oil absorbent, it will aid in the removal of oil from your shoe fabric. 
  • Cover the stain entirely with powder and set it aside for about five minutes. 
  • Wipe off the powder using a toothbrush. Please do not allow the powder to move back into your footwear because it also transfers grease into your canvas. 
  • Alternatively, sprinkle the powder into the basin or onto a throwaway paper towel.
  • The powder can’t deal with old oily stains because they have hardened significantly. In this case, clean them with hot water and soap. 
  • Soak a towel in hot water and squeeze the excess water. 
  • Pour dish soap onto the towel and use it to rub on the affected areas gently until the stain disappears. 
  • Let your shoes dry in a cool and dry area for about one day. Please do not wear them until they are dry. 
  • You can put socks inside the wet shoes to keep their original shapes after drying out.
Use baby powder for running shoes

Leather shoes

An oil remover is a key to this method. To clean your leather shoes with this solution, let’s follow these steps:  

  • If the oily stains are new, you can remove them by dabbing a paper towel onto them. Do not rub because the stains may expand. 
  • If the oily stains are old, spray oil remover on them. Remember to hold the sprayer about six inches away from your shoe. 

This solution has the same effect as baby powder, but it works on the leather without breaking the fabric. You can buy it at most leather or household stuff stores. 

  • Allow the solution to sit on the leather for at least two hours. If the stains are too old, you may need three hours for the solution to work.
  • Put your footwear in a dry, cool area for the result.  
  • After two hours, check whether the remover has cracked on the shoe. If yes, it has successfully absorbed oil. 
  • Gently wipe off the remover with a boot brush or a toothbrush. This task takes a few minutes, so just stop when there is no residual.
Use specialized products for leather

Suede shoes

You can use cornstarch or baby powder for this task. These kinds of powder can remove the oil of your suede footwear and maintain them without harming the fabrics. 

Here is how to do it: 

  • Apply a thin layer of the powder to your footwear. Add more if you find some darker areas. 
  • Allow the powder to work for about one hour. During this time, the powder will pull the grease out of the shoe and absorb it. 
  • If the stain is too old or large, leave the powder on your footwear for about one week. 
  • Use a towel to wipe out the powder. Do not scrape because the powder with grease may travel back to your suede. 
  • Keep wiping until there is no powder left on the shoe. Avoid using cleaning detergent on the suede, or you will damage them severely.

If the above technique does not work, you can use vinegar instead. 

Soak a towel in vinegar and apply it to the spot. Allow for a few minutes before cleaning it away with a moist cloth.

Baby powder works nicely on suede

Nubuck shoes

Nubuck shares many things in common, so handling these materials is quite similar. Here is what you should do:

  • Apply baby powder to the oil stains.
  • Cover the stains with plastic wrap and leave them to dry overnight. Shake off the powder in the morning. 
  • Wipe the stains with a suede brush to check if any stain remains.
  • To remove any leftover stain, use a professional degreaser.
Nubuck and suede are quite similar

Don’ts While Removing Oil Stains From Shoes 

Whatever technique you use, try it first on an unnoticeable part of the shoe to ensure it won’t harm the whole surface. 

While dealing with the oily stains, there are a few points to remember and avoid:

  • Do not apply harsh chemicals and powerful cleaning detergents to your shoes without checking the interaction beforehand. 
  • Do not scrub the stains too hard. Otherwise, the overpressure can damage the fabric and worsen the stains. 
  • Some materials, such as suede, are sensitive to moisture. Hence, do not soak your suede shoes entirely in water or put them in the washing machine. You will risk damaging your footwear and do nothing for the stain. 

How to Prevent Oil Stains on Shoes? 

Your shoes make a lot of contact with the ground. It’s normal for them to get dirty over time, and the stains from oil or grease are the most difficult to treat. 

Aside from learning how to remove the stains, you’d better take precautions to avoid such issues. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Always have a brush with you to remove the grease immediately. When the stains are still new, you can quickly treat them to prevent any debris from leaking in. 
  • Be watchful when you walk across areas with grease and oil on the ground. You can choose another path or step on the grass instead. 
  • Avoid wearing white shoes for extreme activities or jobs with grease and oil. 
  • If you want to work with oil, use shoes with oil-resistant material, such as rubber. 
  • Once you notice the stains on your footwear, remove them as soon as possible.
Prevent your footwear from getting dirty

Frequently Asked Questions 

The following questions will give you more information about removing oily stains from shoes. Let’s check carefully! 

1. Can vinegar clean white shoes?

Yes. Vinegar is a popular cleanser that can deal well with grease. The instructions are as follows:

  • Mix white vinegar and baking soda in a bowl to create a paste. 
  • Dip a toothbrush in the paste and apply it all over your shoe.
  • Scrub gently to remove the stain. 

2. How to remove oil from suede Ugg boots?

Here is the guide for cleaning oils from suede Ugg boots: 

  • Cover the grease stain with talcum powder and let it settle overnight. 
  • Wipe out the powder with a suede brush.
  • Brush your shoe in one direction only to recover the material’s nap and wipe off excess powder. 
  • If the stain remains, soak a sponge in vinegar and water mixture. Then, blot the sponge on the stain. 
  • Dampen another sponge with clean water and rub it on the stain to eliminate the vinegar mixture. 
  • Stuff your shoe with paper towels so that they can retain their original shapes when drying.

3. Does olive oil ruin leather?

Olive oil is terrible for leather because:

  • It hardens the leather over time. 
  • It won’t nourish the leather. 
  • Your leather shoe’s quality will deteriorate quickly.
  • Your shoe will turn yellow.
  • Mold may form on the surface over time.
  • The finish will degrade.
  • Your footwear will attract debris and dirt easily.
  • The leather will lose its natural smell. 
  • The oil makes the existing stains on your shoes permanent. 

4. Will baking soda damage leather?

Baking soda and other household remedies can be too harsh for delicate leathers, such as vinegar or lemon juice. Using them to clean the stain will worsen the situation. 

When it comes to leather footwear, you’d better use water and cleaning detergents that aim to work on them. 

5. Is vinegar safe to clean leather? 

Vinegar is not an ideal solution to treat your leather shoes, especially when the material is delicate. 


You can remove the oils or grease from your shoes with different methods depending on which material your footwear is made of. Remember to treat the stain as soon as possible.

Hopefully, this article can help you fix the problem at ease. For any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading!

James Dylan

James is a journalist who specializes in sports journalism. In addition to his passion for writing, he also loves running. He knows which shoes are best for running and which are ideal for sports. He is happy to offer valuable advice on shoe-related matters.

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