Removing acrylic paint from shoes can be a difficult task. Whether water-based, oil-based, or fabric paints have found their way onto your leather, suede, or canvas sneaker designs, knowing the best way to tackle those pesky stains is essential in avoiding costly missteps and damaging your beloved footwear.

We’ll take an in-depth look at some of the best methods for removing stubborn acrylic paint from various shoe materials so you can keep your favorite pair looking clean and stylish!

Before You Begin - Precautions And Preparations:

Before embarking on any project, taking appropriate precautions and making necessary preparations is critical.

Determine Shoe Material:

Different materials require different care. Whether your shoes are leather, suede, canvas, or synthetic, it’s essential to know what you’re working with to prevent damage.

Work In A Well-Ventilated Area:

Some cleaning agents produce strong fumes. Always ensure adequate ventilation to avoid inhaling toxic vapors.

Test a Small Spot:

Before using any cleaning solution, test it on an inconspicuous shoe area to ensure it doesn’t cause discoloration or damage.

Gather Supplies:

Keep paper towels, soft cloths, brushes, water, and cleaning agents on hand for easy access during the cleaning process.

Step-by-Step Guide - Removing Fresh Acrylic Paint from Shoes:

Immediate Action:

As soon as a spill happens, act quickly. Fresh acrylic paint is easier to remove before it dries.

Blot The Paint:

Gently blot the spilled paint using a clean paper towel or a soft cloth. Do not rub; this can push the paint deeper into the shoe’s fabric or spread it further.

Cold Water Rinse:

Hold the affected area of the shoe under cold running water. The force of the water will help to rinse away the paint. Always use cold water for acrylic paint, as warm or hot water can cause the paint to burn.

Mild Soap Treatment:

Mix a few drops of mild dish soap with cold water in a small dish. Dip a soft brush (an old toothbrush works well) into the soapy solution and gently scrub the stained area in a circular motion. The brush’s bristles can help lift the paint particles from the shoe’s fabric.

Rinse Again:

After scrubbing, rinse the area thoroughly with cold water to remove any soap residue and loosened paint.

Repeat If Necessary:

Depending on the amount of paint spilled, you may need to repeat the scrubbing and rinsing process a few times. Always ensure you’re making progress with each repetition to avoid over-wetting the shoe.

Absorb Excess Moisture:

Using a clean towel, gently press on the wet area of the shoe to absorb as much moisture as possible. Do not rub; this can push any remaining paint particles more profoundly into the shoe.

Air Dry:

Place the shoe in a well-ventilated area to air dry. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources, which can warp the shoe’s shape or fade its color.

Check for Residual Stains:

Once the shoe is dry, check for any remaining paint stains. If stains are still visible, you may need to treat the shoe with a specialized cleaner or consult a professional.

Step-by-Step Guide - Removing Dried Acrylic Paint from Shoes:

Scrape Off Excess:

Use a plastic scraper or the edge of a credit card to scrape off as much dried paint as possible gently.

Warm Water Soak:

If the paint is stubborn, soak the area with warm water for a few minutes. This can help soften the dried paint.

Nail Polish Remover/Acetone:

Dampen a cloth with a small nail polish remover or acetone and gently rub the paint spot. This should break down the paint, making it easier to remove. (Note: Always test on a small area first.)

Rinse And Repeat:

Rinse the shoe with water and repeat the process if necessary.

Home Remedies - DIY Solutions To Remove Acrylic Paint from Shoes:

Removing acrylic paint from shoes can be a daunting task, but with a few household items, it’s entirely possible. 

Hair Spray:

Believe it or not, hair spray can help break down acrylic paint. Simply spray moderate hairspray onto the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, and then scrub gently with an old toothbrush. Rinse with cold water.

Window Cleaner:

Some people have found success with window cleaning solutions. Spray the cleaner directly onto the paint, let it soak briefly, and scrub the area gently. Rinse thoroughly afterward.


This household staple can serve as a mild solvent for acrylic paint. Dampen a clean cloth with white vinegar and gently dab or rub the paint spot. It can help soften and lift the paint, especially if the stain is still young.

Rubbing Alcohol (Isopropyl Alcohol):

Dampen a cloth with some rubbing alcohol and gently rub the paint spot. Rubbing alcohol can effectively break down acrylic paint, but always test in an inconspicuous area first.

Olive Oil/Baby Oil:

These oils can help loosen the acrylic paint, making it easier to scrape off. Apply a few drops to the paint, let it sit for a few minutes, and gently rub or scrape off it. This method works best for minor spots or softening more significant dried stains.

Nail Polish Remover (Acetone):

While effective, this should be a last-resort option, especially for colored shoes, as it can remove dye from some materials. Test in a hidden area first. If safe, dab the paint with a cloth soaked in nail polish remover. Once the paint starts to lift, rinse with cold water.

Post-Cleanup Care - How to Restore Your Shoes After Paint Removal:

Once you’ve successfully removed the acrylic paint from your shoes, you’ll want to ensure they remain in excellent condition. The paint removal process can be harsh on shoes, so post-cleanup care is crucial. Here’s how you can restore and protect them:

Conditioning (For Leather Shoes):

Leather can lose its natural oils during intensive cleaning. Apply a leather conditioner to restore its suppleness and shine. Use a soft cloth to apply, ensuring it’s absorbed evenly.

Suede Care:

Use a suede brush to gently lift and restore the nap if your shoes are suede. If the suede appears discolored from cleaning, consider using a suede renewal spray in the appropriate color.


Intense cleaning might strip your shoes of their waterproofing properties. If your shoes were initially waterproof, reapply a waterproofing spray or solution. This will help protect them from future water damage or staining.

Fabric Shoes:

For canvas or other fabric shoes, consider a fabric protector spray. This can help repel future stains and make cleaning easier the next time.


The cleaning process and various solutions might leave a residual scent. Use a shoe deodorizer or sprinkle some baking soda inside the shoes and let them sit overnight. This will help in absorbing any odors. Remember to tap out the baking soda before wearing it.

Prevention Tips - How to Avoid Getting Acrylic Paint on Shoes in the Future:

Consider adopting these tips to prevent getting acrylic paint on your shoes in the future.

  • Make use of a paint apron or an old set of clothes when painting to avoid any accidental spills on your shoes.
  • Consider using disposable shoe coverings or old shoes that can get messy without worry.
  • Create a designated painting area where shoes are not allowed.
  • Ensure that your acrylic paint tubes are tightly sealed and stored correctly when not in use to prevent accidental spills.
  •  If the paint does spill onto your shoes, clean up immediately. The quicker you act, the less likely it is to stain.
  • Consider using a fabric protector spray on your shoes. It creates a barrier that can repel liquids.


After tackling this project, you will have clean and undamaged shoes to be proud of! Removing acrylic paint from shoes is a manageable task. With the right tools, knowledge, and patience, removing acrylic paint and returning your shoes to their original look is possible. While some techniques may involve better results than others, you must experiment and find a method that works for your shoes' material.

Sniper Jones
Hi there, I'm Sniper Jones, mastermind of My digital platform is devoted to sharing valuable knowledge about various types of footwear that can help refine your shoe selection process. Shoes have always intrigued me, leading to an impressive collection of over 1000 pairs! was launched in 2023 with the objective to provide extensive information that aids you in making well-informed shoe purchases. I've assembled a squad of shoe aficionados who share my enthusiasm for delivering unbiased reviews and thorough buying guides. Our evaluations are rooted in our personal experiences, ensuring the advice we offer is practical and usable. I always welcome feedback and discussions. If you have any questions concerning footwear, feel free to leave a comment. I'm here to assist!