How to Clean Excess Glue from Patent Leather Shoes


Damien asked:  How can I remove excess glue from patent leather shoes? On the fronts of the shoes, there’s extra glue. What can I use to get it off without hurting the patent leather?

Removing glue from leather can be tricky. It requires patience, a steady hand, and just a few supplies. With diligence, you should be able to remove glue, or almost any sticky adhesive, from patent leather without damaging it. Always check for color fastness before you begin.

You Will Need:

  • WD-40
  • Soft cloths
  • Butter knife (or similar blunt-edged object)

Steps to Remove the Glue:

  1. Spray or apply a coating of WD-40 to the surface of the glue and the immediate surrounding area. Try to keep the spray from spreading too far onto the leather surface.
  2. If the glue is in hard clumps, allow the WD-40 to sit on it for a few moments. This will give it time to soften the glue and make it easier to remove.
  3. Wipe the adhesive with the soft cloth. If it does not come up, very gently pry at the glue with a butter knife, spoon or other blunt, straight edge.
  4. Once you’ve removed as much of the glue as possible, reassess any remaining glue. If adhesive remains, retreat with WD-40 and allow it to sit a few more moments.
  5. Repeat as necessary until all of the glue is removed.
  6. Finish by wiping the area clean with the cloth.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Do not pry dried glue or adhesive off with a sharp or pointed object. You may damage the leather.
  • Do not get WD-40 in cracks or seams of shoes if they are held together by glue. If the WD-40 penetrates these areas, the seams may fall apart.
  • Always follow label directions for use and storage of WD-40.
  • If WD-40 sprays too far around the glue, use a cotton swab to carefully wipe it away.


  1. This worked on my patent leather Coach purse without any damage. Thank you so much!

  2. Wow. I just tried that with WD-40 – the gentle one for electric stuff was the only one I had and it worked perfectly on patent leather. Thank you!

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