How To Get Paint Off Work Boots

Last Updated on March 17, 2021 by Jack Sanders

Getting rid of paint on your leather work boots is a pretty difficult thing to do, especially if you don’t want to ruin them.

Luckily, there’s a simple process to follow that explains how to get paint off work boots without ruining them. Let me share it with you.


Types of Paint

Currently, there are three types of paint in the market: acrylic paint, latex paint, and oil paint.

All three are different and require certain products and procedures to be successfully removed from work boots.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a chemical-based paint made of acrylic resin and pigment suspended in an acrylic polymer solution. This paint is frequently used to paint houses as it’s weatherproof.

While it’s wet, acrylic paint is fairly easy to get rid of with plenty of water (depending on how much paint it is). However, once it dries (and it dries fast) it’s much more difficult to get rid of.

How to clean: Once dried, being a chemical-based paint, it usually takes chemicals to be removed (see methods below)

Latex Paint

Latex paint is a water-based paint made of acrylic resin commonly used in artwork. By far the cheapest option of the three.

How to clean: Given that it’s a water-based paint, it’ll be easier to clean (see methods below).

Oil Paint

Oil paint is the most unfrequent paint you’re gonna find in the market and it’s definitely more expensive.

It once was the most common paint to get, but right now, the main options are either latex paint and acrylic paint due to their price and efficiency.

Oil-based paint is based either on natural or synthetic oil and is perfect for protecting surfaces for long periods of time. It takes about 8 hours to dry up, which gives you enough time to clean it off your work boots.

How to clean: Once it dries up it’s by far the most difficult paint to remove. You might end up having to rub the paint off with alcohol which is your last resource (see methods below)


What You’ll Need

Here are the materials you’re gonna need:

  • 2x Clean dry cloths
  • Leather conditioner
  • Leather wax
  • Cotton swabs
  • Olive Oil
  • Vaseline
  • Soapy water
  • Alcohol

Preparation Process

There are a couple of steps you need to follow to maximize your chances of getting paint off your work boots

Try to Get as Much Paint Off the Boots

Grab a clean cloth and blot the spots where the paint is located. Do this as many times as you need to remove the maximum amount of paint.

Make sure to not rub it to prevent further spreading of the paint.

Scrape Paint off Work Boots

Grab a sharp knife and try to scrape as much dry paint as possible. Don’t try to remove all the paint, target the outer layer. Be as careful as you can be, you don’t want to scrape the leather leaving marks on it.

The aim here is to “debilitate the pain” so it’s easier to remove in the next step.


How To Get Paint Off Work Boots

There’re many methods to remove paint off leather work boots.

Next, I’ll tell you about the methods that put less stress on the leather and I’ll end up explaining the most aggressive method (with alcohol).

The idea is that you should try increasingly-abrasive methods until you find the one that works for you.

Pro-tip: The mildest method the better, as you’ll increase the chances of leaving your work boots in perfect shape.

line of work boots with paint spots

How To Get Paint Off Work Boots Using Olive Oil

It works with: acrylic paint, oil paint

We’ll first start with olive oil as it’s a very mild substance that might help you removing paint from your leather work boots.

  1. Take a clean cloth and dip a small part of it on the olive oil
  2. Chose an unnoticeable part of the boot and dab it with the olive-soaked cloth
  3. See how the leather reacts (does it remove the paint? does it affect the boot color?)
  4. If it does remove the paint and it doesn’t affect the boot, then you can confidently scrape the paint off the boots with the cloth soaked in olive oil
  5. Wipe the excess olive oil with another clean cloth

How To Get Paint Off Work Boots Using Vaseline

It works with: acrylic paint and oil paint

If olive oil doesn’t help you to get the paint off your work boots then the next step is trying vaseline.

Vaseline is a petroleum-based jelly that’s a bit more abrasive than olive oil and might help you removing paint off your work boots. To do that, you must:

  1. Take a clean cloth and dip it in vaseline
  2. Carefully scrape the paint of the boots with the cloth. Don’t spread the vaseline all over as it might decolor your work boots, try to scrape the only paint
  3. After repeating the last step a few times, remove the vaseline with a clean cloth

How To Get Stubborn Paint Off Work Boots

It works with: acrylic paint and oil paint

If after you try getting paint off work boots with olive oil and vaseline there’s still paint on your work boots, then the situation calls for nail polish remover.

A nail polish remover is mainly made of acetone which is an organic solvent that helps in removing the nail polisher off nails. For this process you have to:

  1. Grab a cotton swab and soak it in the nail polish remover
  2. Carefully dab the acetone-soaked cotton on the paint spots in the work boots
  3. Let the acetone work for a few seconds
  4. Scrape the cotton swab against the paint spot and try to remove as much paint as you can

If you repeat the process enough times, there’s a big chance you’ll remove all the paint off your work boots. So, be patient.

How To Get Paint Off Work Boots Using Alcohol

It works with: acrylic paint and oil paint

This is the last frontier.

Alcohol is the most effective substance to get paint off your work boots. However, there’s a big chance you’ll end up ruining your work boots if you don’t follow the following process step by step:

  1. Grab a cotton swab and dip it in rubbing alcohol
  2. Take the cotton swab and dab the paint spots on your work boots
  3. Scrub the paint spots with the soaked cotton swab (You’ll quickly see how the alcohol will remove the paint)
  4. Do this as many times as you need until all the paint is gone

How To Get Latex Paint Off Work Boots

It works with: latex paint

This is an easy one.

Latex paint is water-based. Thanks to this, it’s pretty easy to remove it from your work boots, you’ll only need soapy water.

To get latex paint off your leather work boots, you must:

  1. Grab a clean cloth
  2. Dip it in soapy water for a few seconds
  3. Scrape the cloth on those parts of the boots where there’s a latex paint
  4. Repeat step 3 until all the paint is gone
  5. Rinse the boots with water
  6. Let them dry outside

Finishing Touches: Bring the Color Back

After rubbing abrasive substances like acetone or alcohol on the boots’ leather, they won’t look right. That’s because these chemicals can harm the leather.

I recommend people to follow the next process to make sure their work boots look as good as new after removing all the paint:

  1. Make sure the boots are dry and that all the paint is gone
  2. Wash the boots to make sure they’re completely clean
  3. Let the boots dry for as long as they need
  4. Take a clean cloth and apply a thin layer of leather conditioner to the work boots
  5. Massage the leather conditioner on the boots with the cloth (or with your hands)
  6. Let the conditioner nourish the leather for a few minutes
  7. Grab another clean cloth and remove excess conditioner from the boots
  8. Buff the boots with a brush
  9. Done!

Your work boots will look perfect now! No more paint, no more problems.

Author: Jack Sanders
Hey there, I’m Jack, founder and editor in chief here at WorkBootsGuru.com. After my best friend spent hundreds of hours trying to convince me, I decided to take control of my life and finally got to make this site. I’m on a mission to share my insider tips with every man who has a skilled trade job.

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