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How to Remove Shoe Polish Stains From Your Clothes

Posted by Patricia Spencer on
How to Remove Shoe Polish Stains From Your Clothes


Shoe polish is great at keeping our shoes looking fresh, but it can do the opposite to our clothes should it get on them.  Luckily, with some gentle, non-toxic products like natural dish soap and eco friendly laundry pods, you can get shoe polish off of most fabric materials easily and effectively, without relying on harsh, toxic chemicals.

Getting Rid of a Shoe Polish Stain 

We’re not going to lie – a shoe polish stain is quite ugly, leaving a big black smudge on fabrics that needs to be addressed immediately to avoid embarrassment.  With  nontoxic cleaning products that you already have at home, you can get the job done in no time.

Step #1: Scrape, Scrape, Scrape

The first thing that you gotta to do is remove the garment and start scraping away the excess polish using a dull knife, like a butter knife.  Don’t rub the polish deeper into the material – instead, use quick, direct scraping motions until there’s no longer any polish on the surface.

Step #2: Pretreat the Stain

Now, you can pretreat the stain using a gentle yet effective detergent like the Grab Green Liquid Dish Soap.  Our Liquid Dish Soap is a safe, non toxic dish soap that’s great at lifting most kinds of stains.  Pour some soap directly onto the stain, and grab a bristled brush and use circular motions to work the soap into the fabric.  Let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing the garment with hot water. 

Step #3: Give It a Wash

If your garment’s care label says that you can machine-wash, go ahead and wash as you normally would, using your favorite natural laundry pods to avoid toxic chemicals.  For non toxic laundry pods, we suggest our 3 in 1 Laundry Detergent Pods or Stoneworks Laundry Detergent Pods, since these are sustainable laundry pods that have stain-fighting powers. 

Check that the stain is out (if it’s not, repeat the process starting with pretreatment), and throw it into the dryer along with some natural dryer sheets such as Classic Laundry Dryer Sheets or Stoneworks Dryer Sheets, or even Grab Green Dryer Balls, as any of these options will work when it comes to preventing cling and softening fabrics.

If it’s an Old/Dry Shoe Polish Stain

Shoe polish doesn’t change whether it’s fresh or it’s been sitting on the clothes for a long time.  So, the same method above will work whether the stain is new or old.  If you’ve accidentally rubbed the stain deeper into the material, however, let the dish soap sit on the stain during the pretreatment phase for twice as long.

If the Clothing is Delicate

If your garment must be dry-cleaned, bring it to the dry cleaner’s and let them know that you have a shoe polish stain.  They can use their own techniques to treat the stain effectively.  You can hand wash the item if that’s required, using the same detergent but in a basin or bucket of water. 

As for drying, if the article must be air-dried, no worries!  Once you’re drying the garment, the stain is gone anyway.  In other words, air-drying will have no impact on the stain removal process.

Keep Shoe Polish on Your Shoes, Not Your Clothes

Shoe polish is a messy business, especially when it gets on your clothes.  The good news is that the ingredients in shoe polish can come off of just about all clothing items with just a little bit of elbow grease, and the non toxic cleaning products from Grab Green Home – even if the stain has been there longer than you’d like to admit.

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