How do I get shoe polish out of clothes?

Don’t get into a panic – if you need to know how to get shoe polish out of clothes, you’ve come to the right place.

Updated 5 September 2019

Boots and a jumper

Shoe polish isn’t the most subtle of stains and if you manage to get some on your clothes while buffing your favourite shoes, you might start to panic.

However you should be able to get shoe polish out of clothes if you follow our tips.

 If the material is particularly delicate, it's worth taking the item to a professional cleaner.

Key steps: Getting shoe polish out of clothes

  • Use a blunt knife to carefully remove excess polish from your clothes. Try not to rub it any further into the material. If it’s a liquid shoe polish, blot gently with paper towels to absorb as much as possible from the fabric.
  • Apply a biological detergent like Persil directly to the stain. It needs to be bio because you need the enzymes to break down the grease. Leave it for 40 minutes to an hour.
  • Put the garment in the washing machine and wash as normal, on the hottest temperature as indicated on your garment’s care label. Make sure you leave the detergent on the stain.
  • Take the garment out of the as soon as you can after the wash cycle has finished. If the stains are still visible, try pre-treating and washing the garment again. Avoid letting the garment dry if there’s still a stain.

Did you also manage to spill the polish? We have tips for removing shoe polish from the carpet, too.

Originally published 5 September 2019