How to Remove Tar from Shoes: The Easy Way

There are not many things in the world that are worse than tar sticking to a brand-new pair of shoes. This problem is quite a common scenario in situations where the road has just recently been maintained, or you are living in a scorching climate. Of course, the streets will not melt, but it can become hot to the extent that as you walk through it, tar begins to stick to the bottom of your shoe. 

I am not sure how much you know about towers, but it is designed to solidify and stick together once it is dry. Therefore, some people feel like they can never get tar off once they get it on. The situation becomes even worse if the pair of shoes is white and the tar is very distinct. 

The good thing is that we can get this tar off. In this article, we will be looking at what you will need to remove tar from shoes. The step-by-step process shall look to guide you on your journey. We shall also discuss expected results and how long the procedure should take you.  

Let us begin. 

List of things that you may need to use:

  1. Dishwashing liquid  
  2. Plastic or metal knife
  3. Toothbrush
  4. WD-40 

Step by Step Process.

  1. To begin the procedure, we will want to remove as much of the raw and solid tar off the shoe as possible. We will have to scrape the top of the shoe using a plastic or metal knife. You must do this very carefully if you wish to preserve your shoe because scraping the shoe with a knife can easily damage your boots. I recommend either a plastic or metal knife, depending on how severe the damage is. If you get home and the tar is still fresh on your shoe and has not thoroughly dried yet, then you can make use of a plastic knife Because the tar will always be soft. On the other hand, if you get home and the tar has completely dried and is solidified on your shoe, you may need to make use of a metal knife.  
  2. At this point, when we have removed all the significant chunks of tar, we are going to want to clean and loosen the remaining tar. To do so, we will require some dishwashing liquid. Gather a small bucket and then place a small amount of detergent into it and top up with hot water. After this, you can take your toothbrush and begin to scrub the tar stuck to the shoe. It will not work for you to scrub off big pieces; therefore, make sure you have adhered to step one fully before starting this stage. This stage is a more cosmetic fix than a surgical one. 
  3. Depending on how much tar has stuck to your shoe, you may be required to go further than scrubbing it with dishwashing detergent. If possible, you may make a trip down to your local hardware store and purchase a product that is called WD-40. This product is a lubrication liquid that is very potent against industrial chemicals. I think we can classify tar on your shoe as an industrial-level problem. You will want to spray this formula onto the shoe and give it some time to breathe. As the lubricant penetrates the tar, it will begin to melt down the side of the shoe. This sign is your cue to join the party. Take your toothbrush and begin to scrub aggressively, but only once the tar has already started to melt. 
  4. To conclude the journey, you will want to give your shoe a good wash all over. This move will merely cement your progress, and after this, you should be good to go after the shoe dries. 

How Long will it take?

This entire process should not take you longer than an hour to conclude. However, this estimate depends on how much time you stepped in and whether it has thoroughly dried. If you rush home immediately when the shoe guitar is on, then you may be able to shorten the cleaning process. 

Expected Results

It would be best to have a tar-free shoe that does not have any chunks of tar hanging at the bottom or top of the shoe. If there are still streaks of tar, you can repeat the entire process until you are happy. It is unlikely that you are going to get a full clean on the very first wash. Be prepared to keep going as required. 

Things to look out for

When you notice that you have stepped into it, you can go home and clean the shoe immediately. This action will make the process easier for you because the tar will not have dried entirely onto the shoe yet. 


To conclude, you should always try your best to avoid stepping on tar that is still wet or when the road is scorching. These are the moments when you are most likely to get tar stuck to your shoe. Tar is a very stubborn thing to get off anything. 

It will be vital that you work to preserve your shoes by avoiding the stop. If it is too late, you must go into damage control mode and do your best to start cleaning the shoe before the tar dries. Get yourself a knife, dishwashing liquid, and, if needed, some WD-40 from the local hardware store. Used together, these products should give you a decent chance at removing the tar. 

You must be careful not to allow any of these products to get into your eyes and ensure that you wash your hands when you are done. Once you have left the shoes to dry, do not wear them until they are dehydrated. This is because the shoes can begin to rot, and it is essential to avoid this.  

Hi there. This is Clare. Dave and I manage this site. We are outdoor enthusiasts. Most of the content is about products that we love using or have researched.
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