The Right Way to Remove Deep Scratches from Your Leather Shoes and Boots

Today I’m going to show you how to remove deep scratches from leather shoes and boots, so you can make your scuffed pair look and feel new again.

These are the exact same techniques I use to treat my leather dress shoes for concrete floors, and they’ve worked quite well in my favor.

And look:

You aren’t going to save your leather boots from scratches and scuffs forever. A time comes when they just give away, but you can give them a quick treat even if they look more than a little tired.

While this guide focuses mostly on dealing with deep scratches, you can use the exact same techniques to fix light and medium ones.

Plus, these methods work for any type of leather shoes that you can think of, from calfskin and suede to chamois and patent. 

So without further ado, let's dive right in fixing these scratches.

The Initial Steps to Remove Deep Scratches from Leather Shoes

You need to do two things before you remove scratches and scuffs from your leather footwear. You need to clean the shoes and remove the loose leather.

Start by Cleaning Your Leather Shoes or Boots First

Use a soft brush to scrub off dirt from the surface of the shoe. Then, take a clean cloth and gently rub it over the scratched area to remove any ingrained particles.

Alternatively, you can use a shoe cleaning kit because it works fast and tends to be more effective and time saving. 

Move on to the next step as soon as you’ve completely air-dried the leather shoes.

Remove the Loose Leather

The next step is to trim off the loose leather around the surface. Most times, the scratch leaves a rough edge that you must clear to makes applying conditioner, polish, or any other remedy more effective.

There are two ways to clear out the small pieces of leather around the scratch. You can use ether a nail file or a sandpaper.

Use the nail file to scrape off the loose leather around the scratch. Do it in a patterned motion so as not to mess up other areas of the shoe.

Be gentle and precise when using sandpaper. This way, you won’t cause irreversible damage to the leather surface.

Here’s How You Can Fix Scratched Leather Shoes and Boots

1. Use a Quality Conditioning Agent

Once the grain is clean and the edges are trim to perfection, you can apply a suitable leather conditioner to the shoes.

Conditioning the makes the scratched area of the leather shoes soft and supple, speeding up the correction process. It also adds moisture, color, and a layer of protection to the grain.

You can apply conditioning oil by dabbing some of it on a piece of cloth and then gently applying it around the scuffed area. Make sure you give it enough time to take effect.

Note that not all leather shoes respond positively to conditioners and as such, you should choose only the conditioning agent known to work well.

2. Use a Hair Dryer

Although heat is effective when dealing with minor scuffs, it is also good for hiding any deep scratches present on leather shoes.

Take your hairdryer and gently heat the scratched area of the shoe while massaging the part with your hands.

Apply some petroleum jelly to melt the deep scratches from patent leather and make them invisible to your eyes. Make sure you use a fragrance-free jelly so you don’t destroy the shoe grain.

You should let the jelly sit on the leather for about 10 minutes and then wipe of the excesses thereafter.

3. Use White Vinegar for Minor Scratches 

Shoe industry experts recommend vinegar as a cleaning agent and, more recently, a repair tool.

This remedy may not exactly be suitable for deep scuffs, but it will work well for minor scratches.

Apply the vinegar to a cotton ball and rub it around the deep scuff. Let the leather suck in the solution, and then let it dry.

Polish the shoes to hide any marks that the vinegar couldn’t remove.

4. Recolor the Grain

Once the surface is smooth, it's normal that the area around the scratch discolors. If this is the case, you can reinstate the original color by polishing the discolored area.

You don’t have to stop there.

Apply shoe polish on the rest of the leather surfaces as well. And if you like, add a layer of leather sealant to provide a long-term protection to the shoes or boots’ color. 

5. Use a Renovating Repair Cream 

For some leather shoes, the deep scratch won’t disappear through polish, and that’s where the Saphir Renovating Leather Repair Cream comes in.

This resin base cream is the ideal cure for the nicks on the edges and holes left on the grain. It also comes in a variety of color options that suit all kinds of leather.

Note that this cream is permanent so make sure you pick a color that matches your faux, suede, oil or patent leather shoes/boots.

You’ll love this cream because it dresses up leather really well. Plus, it’s very easy to apply.

Use your finger to apply the resin cream around the scratch and give it time to dry up. To solidify the look, you can apply shoe polish of a similar color on top.

6. Use a Leather Restoration Kit

Sometimes the deep scratches on leather become annoying and even the routine buffing or coloring don’t do much to conceal the dent.

In such a case, you only have one other option left, and that is to get this leather repair kit.

The kit has a three-step process that reinforces the grain, restores the color, and clears the deep any scratches.

My Final Thoughts on Fixing Deep Scratches from Leather Shoes

Leather shoes are a comfortable and classy type of footwear that withstands the test of time. And even the deepest of scratches shouldn’t give you a reason to throw away a good pair.

You can get rid of any scratch on leather through the simple methods that I’ve shared in this guide.

If one method doesn’t get you the results, try the other, and the next one after that.

After all, it’s cheaper to remove scratches from different kinds of leather shoes than to replace the whole shoes. 

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