How to Get Oil Out of Leather Shoes

If you own leather shoes you know how expensive they can be, and that means you definitely don’t want to spend a whole lot of money on a new pair every time you get the old ones a little dirty.

But what if you get them more than just a little dirty? What if you get oil on them? Well then you need to know how to get oil out of leather shoes and you’ll be glad to know that it’s entirely possible.

What You Need to Get Started

So let’s get started. If you’re going to work on getting oil out of your shoes, what are you going to need in order to be successful?

  • Talcum Powder – You need something that is going to absorb the oil out of the shoe because that’s actually what’s going to leave the most noticeable mark. After all, you’re able to wipe the rest off with no problem, right? It’s the stuff that soaks in that you really have a problem with and talcum powder will help with that.
  • Cornstarch – Another possible option for getting the oil out is cornstarch, which has plenty of absorbent properties of its own. For some this is a good option because they may have it around the house already, but it is more expensive than talcum powder and you may not want to waste it when the talcum will do just as good of a job.
  • Wheat Germ – Even more expensive than cornstarch, wheat germ is a product you may or may not have laying around, but it’s something that you may want to avoid using simply because it’s a much more expensive option to get the same result.
  • Lint-Free Cloth – You need something to help pick up the oil and the cloth is going to help with that. But you want something lint-free that isn’t going to cause even more problem for your shoes. A good quality cloth will help you absorb everything and still leave your shoes looking their best when you’re done cleaning them up.
  • Leather Shoes – Of course, you’re going to need some shoes to clean, right? Make sure that what you have are actually leather shoes as well. If you have shoes made of different material this process may not work or you may be able to use a much easier method to get them clean. Don’t put more effort into it than you have to.

Follow it Step By Step

Removing oil based stains from your leather shoes is more complicated than removing stains from other types of shoes, but it’s still only a four step process (plus a couple bonus steps to save you time later). And since all you need is some talcum powder, a lint-free cloth and your shoes, it doesn’t get a whole lot easier to gather your supplies.


Clean What You Can

The first step in the process is simply to clean up what you can on the shoe. If you drop some olive oil or a bit of butter on your shoe you’ll have a small clump sitting on top that you can easily get off with a cloth. That’s not the hard part.

You want to take your lint-free cloth and gently blot the oil. Don’t rub it because you’ll end up pushing the oil further into the shoe. Just blot gently to get as much as you can off the top.


Coat the Stain

Next, take out your talcum powder and cover the stain entirely. You want to make sure you have a pretty good coating, so don’t be too sparse. You shouldn’t be able to see the stain at all because the talcum powder should cover the entire thing.

If you don’t put enough powder on the top it won’t be able to absorb as much of the oil that’s left in your shoe and you could be left with a stain or mark that doesn’t come out at all.


Let it Sit

Now you’re going to have the easiest step of all, leaving your shoe alone. You want to let the talcum powder sit overnight so that it can get as much of the oil out of the shoe as possible.

If you brush it off too early you could end up leaving part of that stain behind. Let the powder do its job of drawing out the oil and soaking it in and set the shoes somewhere they won’t be disturbed until sometime the next day.

The longer you can leave them (with the right amount of talcum powder) the better off you’re going to be.


Clean Them Up

And you’re done! The last step is simply to brush the powder off the top of the shoes and see what you’ve been left with. You’ll be surprised just how clean those shoes have become and just how much of that stain came out.

If your shoes were previously coated with some type of stain resistant product or if you got to the stain right away, it should be entirely gone so you don’t have to worry about anything else. But try to stay away from the oil and grease in the future (at least in your good shoes).


If It Doesn’t Work

If you have a really bad stain you may need to use additional products to get the stain out. A degreaser can be a good option for leather shoes, but you don’t want to use this if you don’t have to.

They can be a bit expensive, and come with their own instructions depending on which one you use. Just make sure you work the degreaser in with the grain of the shoe.


Seal Your Work

Once you’ve put all that work into cleaning up your shoes you definitely don’t want to have to do it again. So make sure you put some stain guard over the shoe.

Get something designed specifically for leather shoes so you don’t end up with an even bigger problem, and make sure to treat them according to the instructions on the product.

Once you’ve treated your shoes you’ll have a much easier time cleaning them up if anything happens to them in the future, and you shouldn’t have to worry about anything soaking into them again.


Now that you know what to do when you get oil on your shoes you’re going to be prepared for anything. Remember, oil is in a lot of things and that oily residue can be a whole lot more stubborn than you might think. Take some time to clean your shoes properly, however, and you won’t have a problem keeping them around for a long time to come. It just takes a little bit of extra effort and you’ll be off to a great start.

What did you think about this method for how to get oil out of leather shoes? Have you tried it yourself in the past? Have you tried something else you think works better? Let us know what you think in the comments section and make sure to share this article with someone else you know.

Sara Smith

My name is Sara Smith, the proud owner of the blog and the writer of all the articles that you can see on this website. It is my goal to share my knowledge to all of you and to provide valuable learnings in one way or another.

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