How to Fix Scars and Marks on Leather Shoes

Don't let that worn-out look creep into your leather lovelies.
... Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Pounding the pavement day in and day out does a number on even the most promising pair of leather shoes -- but this damage-laden day doesn't need to be the shoes' last. Cursory care of marks and scratches may yield nothing but curses, as leather's luxurious texture doesn't always respond to a quick wipe or even a scrub. Restore the real beauty of your shoes to like-new by keeping the leather soft, supple and squeaky clean.

  • Gum eraser
  • Toothpaste
  • Soft cloths
  • Glass cleaner or non-acetone nail polish
  • Cotton swabs
  • Eraser sponge
  • Petroleum jelly, mineral oil, olive oil or leather conditioner
  • Wax shoe polish

1 Keep Your Classics Clean

2 Rub the surface

Gently rub the surface of a gum eraser on the stains and marks that mar the surface of your shoes. Brush away the dust.

3 Apply a dab of toothpaste

Apply a dab of toothpaste over the remaining part of the mark. Work the toothpaste into the leather with a soft, clean cloth, then wipe it -- and the stain -- away.

4 Drip a small amount of glass cleaner

Drip a small amount of glass cleaner or non-acetone nail-polish remover onto stubborn stains. Work the chemical into the stain with a cotton swab to remove it.

5 Erase any remaining stain spots remaining with an eraser sponge

Erase any remaining stain spots with an eraser sponge, working gently against the leather to avoid scratching it. Wipe away the excess moisture with a clean cloth.

6 Moisturizer for Your Footwear

7 Place a dab of petroleum jelly

Place a dab of petroleum jelly, mineral oil, olive oil or a leather conditioner onto the afflicted area of the shoe after cleaning.

8 Work the leather conditioner

Work the leather conditioner into the shoe with a soft cloth, moving in slow circles. Wipe away any excess product to avoid an oily texture. Conditioning the leather like this will prevent drying and cracking, and it will help remove scratches.

9 Pick up a small amount

Pick up a small amount of wax shoe polish -- that matches the shoe leather -- with a cotton swab and rub the polish into any remaining scratches or cracks. Buff the polish with a soft cloth to hide the scars.

  • Regular conditioning will keep leather supple and prevent it from cracking on its own.
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A writer with a Bachelor of Science in English and secondary education, but also an interest in all things beautiful, Melissa J. Bell has handed out beauty and fashion advice since she could talk -- and for the last six years, write for online publications like Daily Glow and SheBudgets.