How To Get Tar Off Work Boots

Tar is stubborn! However, if you move fast and remove it before it gets all sticky, you will have an easy time.

If you have an asphalt or road paving job, you know very well that you have to know how to get tar off work boots.

After all, even the boots that are specifically made for this job retain nasty stains. Here, you will see a few tested and proven techniques that will help you get rid of tar completely from your shoes.

So what do you need to know? Removing the sticky tar and the stubborn stain under it is hard if it stays too long. To do this job, you will need a plastic knife, an old toothbrush, WD-40, dish-washing detergent and clean rags.

How do you remove dried tar from shoes?

This is going to require you to put in some work. However, whether the tar is stuck to the soles or the upper, or your shoes are made of leather, rubber or other material, you can get the tar off easily. Just follow the steps below:

Step 1: Scrape the sticky tar away

The first step when it comes to cleaning shoes of any kind of dirt is to remove the superficial and sticky things first. In this case, you can use the plastic knife to remove the tar from the shoes.

Use the knife gently though so that you do not cause damage to the sole or to the leather. If you do not have a plastic knife, you can use a blunt piece of wood.

It will be hard to remove all the tar. However, you can dissolve a little dish-washing detergent in warm water, dip your old toothbrush in the solution and start scrubbing away at the spot.

This should remove all the pending tar although you might have to do it a few times.

Step 2: Use WD-40 to remove any pending stain

Use WD-40 to remove any pending stain on the shoes. This is the king of stubborn stains like this one. It will dislodge all the stuck tar to the last particle.

This strong lubricant is mostly used in the motor industry to help remove rust on bolts and metal parts.

If you have anything sticky that simply refuses to dislodge, just order the smallest one and spray it on the surface that you want to clean.

Just don’t apply it too generously. You can then give it some time to soak through. After that, scrub away with your toothbrush and any pending tar particles will come off straight away.

Step 3: Use water and detergent to clean the area

In some cases, you might want to clean the entire shoes in water after the stain is gone. In that case, just soak them, give them a thorough cleaning and set them to air-dry outside.

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If there is not enough sunshine for that, you can set them on a boot dryer if your have one. But you should never dry the boots in a regular dryer.

However, if you do not want to clean the shoes entirely, take a clean piece of cloth, dip it in the detergent/water solution and clean the area that had the tar.

Gentle rubbing on the area should clean away the stain. You might have to repeat this a few times but it will do the trick.

After you are done and the area is dry, you can apply some oil even if the tar was on the sole. The chemicals in the detergent or in the WD-40 can leave the area so dry, which might cause cracking. Just a dab of oil should return the leather or the rubber sole to its regular state.

Unorthodox methods to use to remove tar

Sometimes, you may have a really stubborn amount of tar on the shoes. You will find many other methods that people have used successfully to remove asphalt or black tar.

Here are a couple of them:

Keeping the shoes in the freezer

Put the shoes in a plastic bag or container and then leave them in the freezer overnight. In the morning, the tar will be so loose you can pick it off with your fingers.

In some articles here, we saw how you could leave your shoes overnight in the freezer to stretch them. There is no harm in trying the same. It could just be your answer to how to get tar off shoes, especially leather ones.

Baby oil can help in removing the tar

If you do not have automotive products for helping to dislodge the tar, you can use baby oil. Just apply it on the part with the tar and leave it to soak for some time. The chemicals used in its manufacture will help dissolve or dislodge the tar particles.

However, you cannot apply baby oil on a big lump of tar. You should just use it on the small particles that remain after using a plastic knife to dislodge most of it.


How do you get tar off your shoe? This need not be hard at all if you use any of the methods that we have shown you here.

If there is a lot of tar sticking on the boots, be ready to put in some serious work for even longer than an hour. The same also applies if you have let the tar stay on the shoes for too long.

The best thing for how to get tar off work boots is to do it the same day that it sticks on your soles or upper. It will be easier and the stain will not be too stubborn.