The unfortunate truth many of us must face is that when walking across any street, road or pavement, there is a very high chance that our shoes can pick up tar whether it be turpentine tar, beach tar or even black tar, it loves to stick to shoes and when it does, it can be a nuisance to get off.
Luckily, while there is no single definitive method that works best for removing tar from shoes, there are instead a whole variety of ways you can remove it that are all beneficial in their own unique ways.
With that being said, here are some of the easiest ways to remove tar from your shoes so you can get them looking spotless in no time.
Plastic Knife And Tar Cleaner
Using a small plastic knife, carefully scrape away as much tar as possible from the bottom of your shoe and then proceed to add a layer of tar specific cleaner onto the bottom to settle for about 45 minutes.
This will soften up any remaining tar so that it can be removed easily for later.
Finally, grab a spare toothbrush and brush all around the areas which should now be soft and can peel off the shoe easily.
This method is a good way to ensure that the tar is removed from even the deepest pathways and crevices around the shoe.
Isopropyl Alcohol has a whole range of uses including being used as a disinfectant and for sanitizing surfaces and is one of the most effective cleaning tools you can find.
Simply pour some of the isopropyl alcohol onto the tar stuck to the shoe, be careful to keep a decent distance from the liquid while doing this as it can give off an extremely unpleasant smell when too close.
After a few minutes, the alcohol will begin to soften the tar to the point where it becomes loose.
When it does, use an old toothbrush or a wet rag, depending on how wide and spacious your shoes are, to carefully wipe away the tar until all of it is removed entirely.
Lighter Fluid And Cotton Ball
The issue with tar and what makes it so annoying is how sticky it is, causing it to be incredibly difficult to peel off.
This method mitigates this issue by applying lighter fluid to a cotton ball and carefully hovering it around the tar which will help loosen this incredibly sticky residue until the tar itself starts to become detached and begins falling off the shoe completely.
Finish off by rinsing the shoe with cold water to make sure any excess is gone, and always make sure to be careful and follow the proper safety precautions when using lighter fluid.
Freeze And Scrape
This method is particularly useful when you have beach tar on your shoes which can often be the most stubborn to get off and can sometimes require more than just a solution and toothbrush to remove.
Start by placing the shoes in a plastic bag and put them in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
When you come back to them and they are completely frozen, you will find that the tar has formed its own frozen layer which can now easily be peeled off.
If you do notice any other unwanted stains however that you wish to get rid of, rub these areas with vegetable oil and then use a toothbrush to scrub these areas until they are sparkling clean.
WD-40 is mostly known for loosening metal bolts and freeing frozen or rusted metal parts to help them function as they should.
It is also known however for being extremely versatile, and this is certainly the case when it comes to shoes considering that WD-40 is one of the easiest and most effective ways to remove essentially any built up tar.
All that is required is to spray the WD-40 liberally over the tar patches and it will begin softening them almost immediately.
Proceed by using a toothbrush to lightly scrape away the tar that should be falling off from the shoe, and finish by using a mixture of water and dish detergent to make sure no WD-40 is left on the shoe.
If you don’t have any WD-40 lying around the house, as an excellent alternative you can try using white vinegar instead.
While it is commonly used for ridding any bacteria and germs from surfaces, it is also capable of loosening sticky substances so they gradually detach from a surface.
This works very well with shoes where the acidic qualities of the vinegar can make the tar much easier to remove, simply add a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the patches where the tar is most prominent and then apply an extra bit of cleaning solution to ensure the tar is removed completely.
Wipe off with a dry rag, and then rinse with some cold water to have some sparkling tar free shoes that will be ready to go when you next need them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Tar Become Too Hard Where It Can’t Be Removed?
While tar can usually always be removed with enough determination, no matter how long it has been on the shoe, it is always advised to get rid off it as soon as possible since tar does become more attached to the shoe and harder to detach as time goes on considering you will be stepping down on it, similar to how gum can become even more of a nuisance to remove when stuck to a surface for too long.
Also, try to remember to always rinse the shoes after cleaning them and do this every time you clean the shoes to ensure that they are more resistant to picking up tar for next time.
While picking up tar on our shoes is unfortunately incredibly easy to do especially when we’re at work, luckily there are a wide variety of solutions to getting this substance off your shoes so they can get back to looking brand new in no time.