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How to Remove Shoe Polish from Carpet

How to remove shoe polish from carpet

Shoe polish stains are tenacious and difficult to remove.  Though the variety of ingredients contained in most brands makes stain removal a multi-step process, if you treat the stain immediately you may be able to save your carpet.

Clean up the Spill

Before attempting to remove the stain use an absorbent white cloth to clean up as much of the shoe polish as you can.  Using a gentle blotting motion, work the stain from the outside toward the center to avoid exacerbating the problem. Don’t scrub at the stain as this action could cause the stain to penetrate into the carpet even further. Blot in one direction rather than a circular motion to avoid unraveling the carpet fibers.

What to Use

Most shoe polishes are made from a waxy material and a dye, so it is necessary to consider both when attempting to remove a stain. Remember, before using any product on your carpet it is wise to test the results on an inconspicuous area.

Grease Solvent: Begin your stain removal process by contending with the oily/waxy ingredients. You will need a cleaning product that contains a grease solvent such as dry cleaning fluid or a spot stain remover containing a degreasing component such as trichloroethylene or petroleum naphtha. Blot at the stain until any residue has been lifted.

Vinegar: If the stain is not completely removed with the grease solvent, try a mixture of vinegar and water to remove the dye. Mix one part vinegar to three parts cool water and repeat the gentle blotting process.

Ammonia: An alternative homemade solution is an ammonia-water mixture with the same one to three ratio as the vinegar solution.

Rinse It Clean

Always follow any carpet stain removal procedure with a cool, clean water solution to remove all traces of any chemicals used to remove the stain.  Dry completely.



“FAQ .” Kiwi Shoe Care Products – The Official Kiwi Website. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2010.

“carpet.” Cooperative Extension – N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2010.


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