How to Remove Scuff Marks from Patent Leather

How to Remove Scuff Marks from Patent
Patent leather can’t be polished up in the same way with shoe polish that regular leather works with, so how do you remove scuff marks?

Soap and water can get some marks off.  One thing you could try is to put some some non-acetone nail polish remove on a cotton pad and wipe over the scuff mark to remove it.  Another is to try rubbing alcohol – but don’t use too much as it also takes off the dye – but it works quickly and easily.  Hand sanitizer also works, but again takes off some of the dye with the scuff.

Have you any tried and true ways of removing marks from patent leather?


  • Gigi says:

    I have always used Nivea cream (not the lotion!) to clean and polish patent leather. My grandmother taught me this trick when I was a child growing up in Germany and I've used it ever since.

  • Anonymous says:

    lightly scrubbing with a Mr. Clean magic eraser does the trick as well. I use these weekly on my children's dress shoes.

  • Jesslyn says:

    Ditto the magic eraser but you have to be really careful with it. I'll have to try the Nivea cream sometime.

  • apple says:

    Hand sanitizer or plain rubbing alcohol on a tissue will take it right off without damaging the leather.

    • lara says:

      Thank you so much for your suggestion hand sanitizer got it right off so quickly on my fave heels! Iv never bothered with writing on blogs but i just had to say thank you:)!

      • Rebecca says:

        Ditto on that I normally dont either but i was just looking up how to get them off i bought a brand new pair of jessica simpson red patent leather shoes and had scuff marks on them i was so sad but a little hand sanitizer and it came right off!! So happy no more scuffs!!!

    • DebB says:

      The hand sanitizer worked like a charm! Thanks!

    • kemi says:

      Best tip! Took the scuffs right off.

    • Eb says:

      awesome tip…really appreciate it as I was panicking about the scuffs on my new shoes!

    • Lolo says:

      OMG IT WORKED!!!!! Thank you so much!

    • Fran says:

      Never usually bother writing comments on blogs, but I just spotted a nasty scuff on my brand new patent ballerinas at work. I just tried the hand sanitiser in the ladies’. The scuff came off easily and immediately without taking any of the dye. So thank you for that! I thought I had ruined my lovely new shoes.

    • Kd says:

      Just tried the hand sanitizer and it worked like a charm. Thanks much for this ideal!

  • Anonymous says:

    Omg! I bought a beautiful pair of ginger colored patent leather shoes to wear on Mother's Day and wore them the night before and got a nasty scuff mark on them. I was told to try non-acetone polish remover to take it out. I was a little nervous because I didn't want to ruin my Mother's Day shoes, but it really worked!!! It took about 4 minutes of rubbing with a cotton ball and my shoes looked brand new again with absolutely no damage at all. Still smiling. :)

  • Anonymous says:

    I had just bought a pair of nude pumps && decided to go out last night to show them off. When I woke up I saw black scuff marks on them.. was upset cuz they are expensive pumps.. used rubbing alcohol && it worked great!! I definetely recommend using rubbing alcohol. :) dont forget to wipe down with soap && water after.

  • Anonymous says:

    I bought an expensive new pair of nude patent leather heels for clubbing one night and in the morning found them completely covered in dark scuff marks! They looked like the kind of marks that I would never be able to remove but a quick polish with a make up wipe got my shoes looking good as new! Washed them with a little water afterwards and now you’d never know I wore them.

  • Kimberly says:

    Rubbing alcohol worked great! Thanks for the tip!

    • catherine says:

      Nail polish remover worked great. My daughter now has 3 new pairs of shoes that were going to go in the bin after only wearing twice.

    • Denise says:

      The best result was using the rubbing alcohoi, my red and bone patent leather shoes look like new. Thank you much for the info!!

  • Papergirl6 says:

    After reading another discussion board, I tried Windex first on a vintage black patent leather clutch (from a store that has been out of business since the 60s), and it worked like magic! Not only was I able to easily remove a couple white scuff marks on the black patent leather, but the whole purse looks like brand new. I didn’t even have to try nail polish remover.

  • rjshops says:

    The Windex worked like a charm on my mustard yellow patent leather handbag that had a dark scuff in an obvious place. I put the Windex on a Q-Tip and the dark mark disappeared with a few light rubs. I was so wowed that it worked I also used it on a blue patent leather tote bag with two big white scuffs. When I wiped the marks with a paper towel the marks didn’t disappear but when I put Windex on a Q-Tip and gave it a little more elbow grease … the marks disappeared and you can’t tell they were even there. AMAZING … Thank you to everyone for sharing this and all your tips.

  • Neece says:

    Thank you everyone for sharing here. Found all the posts very helpful. Now I can take on these black marks on this red patent bag with confidence!

  • Anita says:

    The sanitizer worked amazing….thanks so much. Instantly the scuff marks disappeared :-)

  • Jamie says:

    Thank you so much! The hand sanitizer worked!!!

  • Nicola says:

    I have a pair of nude patient heels that have black scuff marks on I’ve tried everything but they won’t go! Can anyone help ? Nicki

  • Jen says:

    Holy cow! I was sitting in the car on a long ride looking at my beautiful nude patent leather wedges and lamenting the scuff marks all over them. Out of boredom and curiosity, Ianded here from Google and saw the nail polish remover suggestion. I happened to have a nail polish remover pad in my purse, so I gave it a try. The scuff marks were immediately removed, no scrubbing required! Now my shoes will look brand new when we arrive at our destination. Thanks!!

  • Ruby says:

    Fabric conditioner! Rub it in and it vanishes; can take a few minutes, though!

  • jennifer says:

    Help! I have a lavender patent leather Coach bag & somehow I’ve scuffed it in several places. I tried both therrubbing alcohol & the nail polish remover, neither one helped. I’m about to try the fabric softener sheets but beyond that does anyone have any other ideas just in case?
    This bag was a gift from my husband, so it has sentimental value beyond just being an expensive purse. Please help me, ladies! Thank you so much!!

    • Imogen says:

      You could talk to a shoe repair person and see if they have any other ideas

    • Brenda says:

      Bijou bags are made of the same poly “patent leather” as dress shoes for the military and they recommend Goo Gone. I’ve used it on lots of other patent items – don’t know if they were all real, all faux, or a some of each, but it worked well on everything. I always test in an inconspicuous place first, though !!!

  • karlly says:

    i bought a pair of aldo nude patent pumps, and i got a scuff mark on the the first 10 minutes i wore them outisde the house! i tried toothpaste, hand sanitizer, windex, petroleum jelly, and rubbing alcohol. None of them worked. Finally i tried nail polish remover. that worked somewhat, but it ended up smearing. i had to really rub it gently for a long time before i could no longer notice the smears. now my shoes looks fine :) (by the way, i used nail polish remover with acetone, just because i didn’t have any acetone free nail polish remover.)
    i know for sure i will get more scuffs on these shoes. do the SKUFF protective covering really work?
    karlly recently posted..Fabulous Fashionistas – Style DocumentaryMy Profile

  • Savvirose says:

    Let me just say I tried all of the above and none of them worked. I tried the nail polish remover, the hand sanitizer and the windex.

  • Susan Narayan says:

    Just two drops of nail polish remover got all the dark scuffs off of my bone-colored patent leather shoes!

    • Jo says:

      Can anyone recommend anything else ? I’ve tried nail varnish remover Nivea cream hand sanitiser alcohol and the marks still haven’t gone !

      • Cindy says:

        Two remedies that MIGHT work and are definitely worth trying:

        1. WD 40. Basically, the reason that Vaseline and Nivea are working for some people is that they are petroleum based. So is WD 40, but it’s stronger. ALWAYS Test your item in a hidden place before trying to clean it. Try not to get the WD 40 in the seams of your shoes where it can pool and collect dust and dirt. Avoid the seams and any tight crevices if possible.

        2. Simichrome polish. It comes in a tube. Technically, it is metal polish but antiques dealers use it to polish plastics to a high sheen and also to test for bakelite, which is a highly collectible kind of plastic. Bakelite is very valuable and there is no way that they would be using Simichrome if it was not completely safe. In fact, the other test for Bakelite used Scrubbing Bubbles, and dealers didn’t like it because the Scrubbing Bubbles is harsher than Simichrome.

        It is hard to find Simichrome in brick and mortar stores. The best thing to do is to call your nearest Harley Davidson motorcycle shop. I have no idea of why they need Simichrome, but most of them seem to sell it. I just called mine and got a quote of $13.00.

        Remember, test first. Good luck!

  • Sarah says:

    I got a white scuff mark on my black patent Chanel wallet…I was almost crying as the wallet was over $800. I put Windex on a q-tip and it worked like magic!!! Thank you!!!

  • Alexis says:

    Hand sanitizer worked GREAT! Thank u

  • Bri says:

    omg it worked. used it on my tan coach heels–took the scuff marks right off! Good as new. Much safer than nail polish remover (I was hesitant to use it). Thanks

  • minimal says:

    Patent shoes and bag cleaned like magic with hand sanitizer and no damage fantastic!

  • Bethany says:

    I bought nude patent heels for a wedding and wore them once and had a few dark grey scuffs. I read this blog and used rubbing alcohol on my shoes!! After rubbing for a little bit POOF! They look brand new!! Thank you so much!! :)

  • Jennie says:

    I bought a pair of $140 shoes for $40 I think because of the scuffs on the patent leather. I was sitting at my desk looking at them and decided to search “How to remove scuffs from patent leather”. I tried the hand sanitizer with a tissue as that is what I have at my desk and voila! All the scuffs are gone and my shoes look fabulous!! Thank you!!!

  • Cancc says:

    I was afraid to use nail polish remover on my black patent leather Danskos, but it worked great!! Thank you so much!

  • Emily Baxendale says:

    I was looking up ways to clean patent leather and found one that works: try rubbing mineral or baby oil on patent leather with a soft cloth. The scuffs came right off! The shoes I tried it on need a good buffing because the mineral oil makes them sticky and they catch a few fibers off the cloth, but they’re looking much better than before. I also saw listed that you can use petroleum jelly to remove scuffs, but I haven’t tried that one yet.

  • Caroline says:

    Nail polish remover worked great!

  • NYTX says:

    I tried the alcohol and the hand sanitizer and neither worked for me.

  • Anonymous says:

    I had dark scuffs on my beige pumps that I’m wearing to a wedding tomorrow. I used nail polish remover (100% acetone) and it came off, without taking any of the color. I don’t know if I would use it on colored pumps, but on beige it worked great!!

  • Stephenie says:

    thank you Ladies! The Hand Sanitizer worked like a charm!

  • Lea says:

    OMG! Thank you all so much! I thought that my nude patent pumps were ruined after wearing only one night they were covered in scuffs, I used nail polish remover with acetone and they look brand new!!! I’m so amazed and thankful!

  • Chandni says:

    Hey! So my nude pumps have a peel at the front and it shows a small patch of white underneath. I don’t know what to use to fix that! Please help!!! :(

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