How to remove an oil stain from leather shoe

Leather shoes often get stained and oil happens to be one of the things that commonly stains them. Ideally, when you get an oil stain on your leather shoes you want to absorb the stain, clean the shoe and add a layer of protection to prevent future stains. This can all be done with some common household products.

Absorb any excess oil from the stain with clean paper towels. Brush debris from your shoe with a nylon bristle scrub brush.

Apply baby powder to the oil stain. Add the powder directly to the stain in generous portions; the stain should have a heap of powder sitting on it.

Allow the powder to sit on the stain for at least 8 hours. This will give the powder time to absorb the oil from the shoe.

Shake the powder from the shoe while holding the shoe above a rubbish bin. If the stain is still present, put more powder on the stain and keep repeating the process until you are able to draw the remainder of the oil from the shoe.

Brush all the powder from your shoe after you have drawn out all of the oil. Pour undiluted vinegar onto a lint-free cloth and scrub the entire shoe.

Apply an even coat of olive oil to your shoe using a lint-free cloth. Apply in a circular motion. Allow the olive oil to sit for approximately 30 to 60 minutes. Use a lint-free cloth to wipe away the excess olive oil, and, in a circular motion, buff the shoe to a shine.


Linseed oil, nut oil, beeswax and petroleum jelly are alternatives to olive oil for protecting leather shoes. If the oil stain is still evident after three do-it-yourself attempts at removal, you may need to consider professional cleaning services.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • Baby powder
  • Nylon bristle brush
  • Vinegar
  • Lint-free cloths
  • Olive oil
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About the Author

Hillary Marshall has been writing professionally since 2006. Before writing instructional articles online, she worked as a copywriter and has been published in "Ideal Living" "Sass" "Science Edge" and "Shopping Cents" magazines along with countless websites including Gadling a blog by the Huffington post. Marshall studied early childhood education at the Stratford Career Institute.