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How To Get Spray Paint Off Cowboy Boots? Most Effective Solutions

How To Get Spray Paint Off Cowboy Boots? Most Effective Solutions

Since cowboy boots are one of the most well-invested footwear for heavy-abused occupations, it’s easy to get your boots covered with some unsightly stains in the middle of your work.

Spray paint stains are quite different from mud stains, salt stains, or water stains. Their chemical structure is quite complex, and therefore, cleaning them well won’t ever be as easy as a piece of cake.

This is because, during the manufacturing process, they are added with other chemical additives to increase color adhesion to concrete surfaces for many years to come.

Therefore, if spray paint accidentally gets on clothing or a cowboy boot’s upper surface, no matter what material, it will stick to the boots for a very long time.

I can feel this pain, but as you often expose your cowboy boots to a heavily abused work environment, you can’t avoid the stains.

Besides, if you intend to repaint the walls of your house yourself, be prepared for the very possibility that some splash of paint will reach your beloved cowboy boots unexpectedly.

It’s not usually that you can somewhat prevent the stains well. It’s better to adopt some measures to get the spray paint on the boots effective.

Check it out and see what method will work for you!

How to get spray paint off cowboy boots?

Cleaning heavy rain water stains on leather cowboy boots

Fortunately, most cowboy boots are made of real leather. This material has good elasticity, toughness, and a long service life. Besides, it’s well worth the effort to remove paint stains from the surface of boots.

First, we need to distinguish the colors that can cause stains on your boots. From there, we can figure out more radical solutions.

  • Water-based paint:

Water-based paint is a paint that is mainly composed of water instead of a solvent like oil-based paint. It has a higher percentage of colors in the composition.

These paints are used a lot because they are safer for your health. The main component of this product is water, so the amount of waste often seen from paint is much less.

The adhesion efficiency of water-based paints on the surface depends on the moisture content of the surface. If the moisture content is high, the paint will not adhere firmly to the surface and will wash off quickly. You’ll find water-based paints often lack that sheen.

  • Oil-based paint:

This type of paint uses oil as the main solvent in its composition. They adhere better to surfaces, and the adhesion efficiency is also independent of the moisture content of the painted surface.

They are less safe for your health because they release many nasty chemicals into the air. Oil-based paints give a better gloss on the surface than water-based paints.

Get spray paint off leather cowboy boots

Any cowboy boots can easily get spray paint stains. However, leather cowboy boots require more complicated handling and maintenance.

Water-based spray paint treatment

As mentioned above, water-based spray paint does not adhere too firmly to surfaces. Once absorbed into the leather, they quickly dry out. If the leather gets wet, you can even wipe spray paint off the leather surface easily right away.

If the stain is treated immediately, nothing will be left on the surface of the leather boots afterward. Unfortunately, most of us don’t really remove paint stains right away when we get on leather cowboy boots.

Moisture is an important factor in being able to remove water-based paint stains from leather cowboy boots. But that doesn’t mean I encourage you to soak your boots under water and the stains will be automatically removed.

You need some skills to ensure the boots are not damaged during the treatment of paint stains on their surface.

If you’ve been ignoring spray paint stains for a few weeks, here are a few ways to get rid of water-based spray paint stains on cowboy boots:

1. Steam from the outside

Steam the boots from outside

Steam is a great idea. They do not allow moisture to seep into the leather structure too much, causing an unexpected watermark later.

Steam also does not damage the texture of the leather. In addition, the steam also helps stretch the boots out better with no effort.

What you need:

  • 1 soft cloth
  • 1 floating boiling water on the stove

You need to boil the water until it evaporates. Then you gradually put the leather area of cowboy boots with paint on the steam and keep it for 30 seconds.

steam over boiling water

Then you need to rub a soft cloth over the paint stain right after. If the stain is too hard, you may need to steam it longer, but not more than 1 minute.

Also, you need to avoid placing the boots too close to the steam. Otherwise, the leather structure may shrink due to overheating.

You will probably need to repeat the process several times until you get the results you want.

2. Warm towel

Wrap up cowboy boots with hot towel

If you don’t want your cowboy boots to get wet because you’re concerned about the risk of mold or mildew forming in the leather structure later due to moisture, you can soften the paint on the boots with a warm washcloth.

What you need:

  • 1 bath towel
  • 1 pan
  • 1 soft cloth

Turn on the stove and put the pan on the stove. Keep it there for 2 minutes for the pan to heat evenly. You put the towel in the pan and start heating the towel.

Keep in mind to not let the towel stay for too long, as it will burn the fabric.

After the towel is hot enough, wrap it in the paint stain on the cowboy boots for 1 minute. Then, use a soft cloth to rub the paint stain area vigorously.

The stain, after being heated by heat, will become hard and crumble when rubbed vigorously with a cloth. If the area of paint stain is too large, you may need to repeat process 1 until you achieve the desired results.

3. Household cleaning solution with warm water

Abrade the gloss coating on cowboy boots with alcohol

If spray paint stains are layered, you may need some stronger measures. You can use natural household cleaners such as medical alcohol or soap.

They not only help clean paint stains but also help clean other types of dirt on the surface of cowboy boots.

What you need:

  • 1 soft cloth
  • Medical soap/alcohol solution
  • Warm water
  • 1 bowl
  • Leather conditioner
Leather Care Kit includes Leather Cleaner and Conditioner with Cloth from Tecovas

Leather Cleaner and Conditioner | Image copyright Tecovas Boot Company | #CommissionEarned | Click image for more info

You need to prepare a cleaning solution of warm water and soap or medical alcohol in a ratio of 3:1. Warm water is the best option as it quickly softens paint stains. You should not use hot water because it can cause unwanted shrinkage of the leather.

If you have a spray bottle, you can also use it to spray the solution on the painted areas of leather cowboy boots.

You need to soak a soft cloth in the cleaning solution with a small amount, then rub the cloth over stubborn paint stains. If you spray the solution directly onto the leather surface, you need to rub off any excess water to make sure no watermarks appear afterward.

Soap and alcohol both work well for cleaning, but they also cause the leather to lose water and oil in the structure.

After cleaning up the paint stains, you need to apply a generous amount of leather conditioner to the cleaned areas. This will ensure the leather gets the best care after using cleaning chemicals.

4. Friction

Fix Water Damaged Cowboy Boots

This method is not recommended for use on glossy leather cowboy boots as it will create scratches on the leather surface.

You should only use this method for distressed leather. The friction from the leather brush can completely clean the stubborn paint stains that have stuck for a long time on the leather surface.

What you need:

  • 1 leather brush
  • 1 little warm water
  • 1 soft cloth
  • Leather polish

Apply warm water to a soft cloth and proceed to soften the paint stains by covering the areas with that damp cloth.

Then you use the leather brush to brush all these areas. Note that it is only necessary to brush the painted areas. Otherwise, it may cause heavy scratches.

After the paint is cleaned, you will see some scuffs appear unevenly in these areas that have just been brushed. You need to polish all the leather cowboy boots to make sure they look as good as new.

5. Wait til it cracks

When the air has a low moisture content, especially in the dry season, water-based paint will tend to dry and harden, appearing with cracks on the paint surface.

You just need to press one finger down on the paint and it will automatically crumble. Things are done! Wipe off any remaining traces afterward with a clean cloth.

Oil-based spray paint treatment

Oil-based paint stains require a variety of chemicals to treat and wipe off. They are also stubborn stains and are harder to remove than water-based paint stains.

Due to the fact that these paints contain oils when they penetrate the leather cowboy boots, the oil containing the color can be sucked down, causing the stain to take root deeper.

Even if you wipe the stains right away as soon as they touch the surface of the leather, you will see some traces of color remaining on the leather surface.

If not handled thoroughly, these stains will stick in the direction you wipe them. Here are a few helpful ways to deal with oil-based paint stains on leather cowboy boots.

1. Any oil you have

Oil-based paints can be softened by oils. When oil penetrates paint stains, they will partially blend into the composition of the paint.

When you rub these stains, the color streaks can be wiped away without leaving any marks. Besides, the oil is also a solution to help provide moisture to the leather, contributing to the maintenance of this material.

What you need:

  • 1 soft cloth
  • Baby oil, cooking oil, mink oil
  • Color leather polish

A man holding mink oil bottle

You put a small amount of oil on a soft cloth. Then, rub the oil-filled cloth into the paint stains several times in a row. Keep in mind that too much oil can cause leather boots to darken quickly or develop oil marks on the surface.

If these worst cases happen, immediately dissolve the excessive oils with some household cleaning solutions such as dish soap, vinegar, or baking soda.

You may need to do this repeatedly until the stain is completely gone. Keep in mind to let the oil stay for about a minute. This method is only suitable for light and thin spray paint stains.

If your leather boots appear dark in the areas that have just been rubbed, you need to use colorful leather polish to even out the color and cover the dark spots.

Take a small amount of polish on one corner of the cloth and rub it over the entire surface of the leather cowboy boots until they look as good as before.

2. Non-acetone nail polish remover

If the paint stains are piled up and are difficult to remove by wiping them with oil, you need a stronger industrial cleaner like nail polish remover.

nail polish remover

This method can treat the darkest paint stains, but it can also fade the color of the leather, creating unsightly dark patches.

Therefore, you should go with a non-acetone nail polish remover. This chemical is less likely to discolor leather and is also less toxic when inhaled.

What you need:

  • 1 piece of cloth or some swabs
  • Non-acetone nail polish remover
  • Color leather polish

Three mink oils with three brushes

You need to put a small amount of polish remover on one corner of the cloth and fix it on the paint stains. You need to minimize the contact area of the solution with the skin areas around those paint spots.

After 30 seconds, gently wipe the paint off. You should do this one at a time with each paint stain to make sure no patchy patches appear afterward.

If you notice discoloration in these areas, you may need to re-color the boots with polish.

3. Leather cleaner

The last way is to use specialized leather cleaning products. Not all of them are capable of removing oil-based paint stains, so you need to look for the one that works best.

This is safe, and you won’t have to worry about your boots getting damaged after cleaning.

What you need:

  • 1 soft cloth
  • Professional leather cleaner
A bag of Tecovas leather cleaner and leather conditioner with a cloth

Leather Cleaner and Conditioner | Image copyright Tecovas Boot Company | #CommissionEarned | Click image for more info

You need to take a small amount of leather cleaner on the cloth and do several rubs on the areas containing the paint stains until the desired result is achieved. Most of these products are dry cleaning, so you don’t need to rinse them with water afterward.

Get spray paint off suede cowboy boots

Suede cowboy boots sound more vulnerable to paint stains than leather cowboy boots. However, you can handle these paint stains on suede or nubuck with less complexity.

1. Suede brush

If paint stains appear thin and sporadic on the suede boots, simply wait for the paint to dry completely and use a suede brush to remove them quickly. The suede surface contains hairs; they have good moisture absorption ability.

As a result, water-based paint stains can harden quickly when in contact with suede surfaces. You use a suede brush to rub these dry paint stains. The paint dust will fall off the boots’ surface without leaving any marks.

However, this method can only be used for water-based paint stains.

2. Suede cleaner

A suede cleaner can assist in cleaning oil-based paint stains pretty well. Specialized suede cleaners contain chemical ingredients capable of cleaning stubborn stains, especially oil-based stains.

When oil-based paints penetrate the surface of the material, the oil-based component of the color makes them adhere more firmly to the suede nap.

Therefore, you cannot remove these stains by rubbing these surfaces with the brush alone. This is also because the paint stains will not harden after being absorbed by the hairs. They often stick together and form visible clumps of fabric.

What you need:

  • Suede brush
  • Suede cleaner
  • Suede conditioner
Tecovas suede cleaner, brush and eraser

Suede Cleaner, Brush and Eraser | Image copyright Tecovas Boot Company | #CommissionEarned | Click image for more info

You need to use a sufficient amount of cleaner on a suede brush. Then, you proceed to rub the duo on the areas with paint. If the stain is too dark and heavy, you can apply the cleaning solution directly onto the stain, then quickly brush the surface with the brush.

You’ll need to do it several times in a row on each stain if they’re sporadic and far apart. This ensures the most thorough cleaning. Dry the boots for 24 hours when the cleaner has completely evaporated.

If the rubbed area is darker than the rest, even if the boot is completely dry, you can proceed to apply the conditioning solution all over the suede upper surface and let it dry. The boots will be evenly colored again.

3. Dye the boots black

Can I Use Mink Oil on Cowboy Boots

In case the above 2 options don’t work even though you’ve done them many times, you may have almost given up on your boots. Don’t rush to throw them in the trash, you can dye the boots black.

Black will help cover all traces of indelible paint on the surface of the boots. I encourage you to see a professional for help if you’ve never done this before. It will certainly cost you, but it’s still more profitable than buying a new pair of suede cowboy boots if that’s not what you want.

Get spray paint off embroidery details and stitches

Cowboy boots with stitches

This is the most tedious part of getting spray paint off the cowboy boots. The embroidery and stitches make up an important part of the structure of cowboy boots, but they are rather small and discrete.

Sometimes painted embroideries can be cleaned with a leather cleaner. But if these decorations are brightly colored, you may have to worry about the colors being lost during the cleaning process.

With painted stitches, you have no choice but to dye them with crayons.

Final thoughts

Getting spray paint off cowboy boots isn’t just easy. Sometimes this success also requires luck.

While water-based paint stains can be cleaned up easily, oil-based paint stains may not be completely removed. They are still capable of leaving residual pale streaks that last forever.

To avoid the headache of experimenting with what cleaning method works best, you’d better always keep in mind to wrap up your cowboy boots with nylon boot covers before you get close to spray paint.