The Best Way to Remove Scuff Marks From Your Shoes

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Unless you go to great lengths to keep your shoes looking pristine at all times, they’re probably going to accumulate some scuff marks from everyday wear and tear. But the good news is that for the most part, those blemishes are only temporary, and tend to be fairly easy to remove. Here are some of the best ways to do that.

How to remove scuff marks from shoes

The best way to get rid of scuff marks on shoes really depends on the material they’re made out of, and their overall condition. Today, we’re going to be talking about shoes with light-to-moderate scuffs—as opposed to situations where the shoes are irreparably damaged. Here’s what to do.

Leather shoes

At a time in the not-so-distant past, buying a pair of nice leather shoes was considered an investment—expected to last for years with the proper maintenance. This typically involved brushing and buffing the shoes using shoe polish and/or another conditioner (or paying to have someone else do it for them)—and remains the best way to rid your leather shoes of scuff marks today.

The full process generally takes around 15 to 20 minutes, but you can get some pretty impressive results from a one-minute “quick shine,” as demonstrated in this video.

Sneakers/athletic shoes and other footwear made of rubber or suede

The easiest way to remove scuff marks from shoes in this category—as well as those made from nubuck, vinyl, and patent leather—is to gently buff them out in a circular motion using a white rubber eraser (like the kind you’d get in the school/office supply aisle). A lot of people swear by this method except using a Magic Eraser (or the generic equivalent) instead.

If that didn’t work—or you don’t have an eraser of any kind handy—mix baking soda and warm water to create a thick paste, apply it to the scuff marks using a rag or cloth, then buff in a circular motion. Or, if you happen to have some white toothpaste (not a gel or some kind of combo) sitting around, you can use that instead of making the baking soda paste.

Another option is to give them a quick spritz with an all-purpose cleaner, then wiping them with a rag or paper towel—provided you’ve checked, and this method is safe on your shoes.

Vinyl shoes

A quick spritz and wipe with window cleaner or a different all-purpose cleaner (that doesn’t contain bleach) should make your vinyl shoes look as good as new.

Patent leather shoes

Pour a small amount of nail polish remover onto a paper towel (never directly on the shoes), then rub the scuffs off of your patent leather shoes. Rubbing alcohol works too.

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