The Best Methods for Removing Scuff Marks from Shoes

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It always happens. You buy a great pair of shoes, you wear them a few times and then BAM! You get a major scuff that looks horrible and you're embarrassed to be seen in them. So what do you do? Throw them out?

In a worst case scenario, there might be no saving your shoes. However, give these methods for scuff removal a try. You just may be able to save your beloved pair of shoes.

Before you start fretting over your shoes, make sure it 's a true scuff and not just dirt. Once you 've determined it is a scuff mark, one of the first things you can try is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser . This sponge-type material is amazing for removing marks from just about anything, including walls and shoes. Always try to do a patch test first on a hidden area of the shoe, to make sure you won 't be destroying your shoes while trying to save them.

For other methods of scuff removal, use something appropriate for the material of your shoes.

Any Shoe

  • A pencil or artist 's eraser. Carefully stroke the eraser over the scuff. Be very gentle when trying this, especially with leather or suede. It 's easy to rub a thin spot into the material.
  • Non-gel toothpaste. Gently rub the spot, rinse the toothpaste off and let it air dry. For leather shoes, you 'll want to polish or buff them afterwards. This trick seems to work well on nearly every shoe type but suede. Of course, the usual caution applies 'make sure you test the material first.

Cloth (canvas, cotton, dyed fabric) Shoes

  • Liquid laundry detergent. Apply gently with a cloth or soft toothbrush. If the material has been dyed, test the material to be sure you won 't end up with a multi-toned shoe. Do not use detergent containing bleach unless the shoes are white.

Leather Shoes

Note: Do yourself a huge favor and treat leather shoes with a protectant spray before they have a chance to get scuffed.

  • Shoe polish. This is by far the best solution to light scuffs on dark shoes. Use the right color to match your shoes, and if the leather is patent, use a patent shoe polish to maintain the finish.
  • Cream leather conditioner. For smooth leather, cream conditioners can be lifesavers for taking out scuffs.
  • Refinishing spray. When you get dark scuffs on light leather shoes, refinishing is usually necessary. You can find refinishing spray at many shoe stores and shoe repair shops.
  • Professional help. If the shoes are expensive and worth fixing, consider taking the shoes to a shoe repair professional.

Suede Shoes

  • Suede cleaner. This can help with a variety of marks on suede without damaging the material.
  • Suede brush. Brushing helps keep suede looking good and can help remove some scuffs.
  • Sandpaper. A very fine-grain sandpaper can be used to very gently buff scuffs from suede shoes. Gently is the key word here.

Pleather, Plastic and Vinyl Shoes

  • ArmorAll Multipurpose Auto Cleaner. This cleaner is designed for handling tough stains on delicate interior surfaces in cars. It does a great job with these shoe materials.
  • Rubbing alcohol or Nail Polish Remover. Be very careful with these two options, because too much scrubbing might damage your shoes. These methods are quite effective, especially with little girls ' Mary Jane dress shoes.

If you have old shoes that you don 't care about, use them as test subjects and try your hand at removing scuffs before you have to attempt to save a nice new pair. And remember: scuffs are one thing to deal with, but if the shoe is actually scratched, cut or damaged, you 're most likely out of luck.

Related links

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