How to Remove Black Shoe Polish From Upholstery

Shoe polish often leaves behinds stains when it does not dry completely on your shoes. Once shoe polish encounters upholstery, you may not notice the stain immediately. In order to remove a shoe polish stain from upholstery, you need to treat the stain as soon as possible to prevent long-term damage. After you follow the right precautions to remove the black shoe polish stain, you will be on the right track to restoring the original appearance of the upholstery.

Scrape off the dried shoe polish from the upholstery. Use a dull butter knife or any object that is not sharp enough to cause damage to the upholstery. Remove the thick layers from the upholstery, but do not over scrape the area. If the shoe polish has not dried yet, allow it to dry before you try to remove it. If you try to remove the wet shoe polish you can smear it deeper into the upholstery.

Use a commercial upholstery cleaning solution to sponge the shoe polish stain. Use carpet shampoo if you do not have a commercial upholstery solution. Sponge the stain by blotting the area instead of rubbing it. Continue to blot until most of the liquid absorbs into the sponge. If you do not have a commercial upholstery cleaning solution, you can make one yourself with household ingredients.

Rinse the sponge under clean water when it has soaked up some of the shoe polish. Continue to rinse the sponge and blot the area carefully. If the sponge absorbs a lot of the black shoe polish, then use a new sponge. If the stain appears stubborn, then make your own stronger cleaning solution.

Combine 1 tbsp of dish washing detergent with 1 tbsp of ammonia. Combine these two ingredients with 2 cups of warm water, and blot the stain with a clean washcloth and this solution. Continue to blot the area until the stain vanishes..


Upholstery like linen, acetate, rayon, wool and silk need professionally cleaned to remove stains. Contact a specialist to help you remove the stain. If you are not sure of the fabric, you should consult a professional cleaner to avoid damaging the upholstery. Always test a small area of the upholstery in an inconspicuous area with the cleaning solution before applying it to the stain. This will avoid damaging the upholstery if the cleaner reacts to either the shoe polish or the upholstery. Avoid using detergent on leather upholstery. Dish washing soap is the safe alternative for this fabric. Dry the area thoroughly after you clean the stain. Use a wet/dry vacuum to soak up the excess moisture or else mildew will begin to form on your upholstery.


Never mix ammonia with bleach because the fumes produced are dangerous.

Things You'll Need

  • Butter knife
  • Dry cleaning solution or carpet shampoo
  • Sponges
  • 1 tbsp dish washing detergent
  • 1 tbsp ammonia
  • 2 cups water
  • Washcloth
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About the Author

Angela LaFollette holds a Bachelor of Arts in advertising with a minor in political science from Marshall University. LaFollette found her passion for writing during an internship as a reporter for "The West Virginia Standard" in 2007. She has more than six years of writing experience and specializes in topics in garden and pets.