Tough looking as they are, your Dr. Martens still needs some TLC. If you haven’t owned one of these iconic boots before, chances are, you are clueless as to how to remove its scuff marks and make it shiny.
The easiest way to remove abrasive scuff marks out of your Dr. Martens is to apply wax polish after cleaning it. However, scuffs that occurred because of material transfer can be removed by a pencil eraser, baking soda, toothpaste, and other household products.
As always, you have to proceed with caution when using these items because they may cause more damage when not properly applied.
I know I have to be more detailed with my instructions, so let me share all the nitty-gritty of removing scuff marks in the following sections!
Types of scuff marks on your Dr. Martens
Choosing the best method to remove scuff marks depends on the type of scuff your Dr. Martens has. In this section, we’ll discuss two of the main types of scuffs and what methods of removal work best for them.
Material transfer scuffs
This type of scuff occurs when something makes contact with your boots, like when someone steps on you or you bump into a wall. The object’s material then gets “transferred” to the leather of your Dr. Martens.
Among the two types of scuff marks, this is the easiest to remove because you only need to get rid of the material using non-abrasive products such as brushes, pencil erasers, baking soda, etc.
If you’re not so lucky, then you would have gotten an abrasive scuff. This type of scuff occurs when an object makes contact with your boots and damages the leather itself. This will appear as if someone sandpapered your boots to make an area lighter colored.
Fixing abrasive scuffs can’t really be called “removing” them, but more on “hiding” them using shoe polish or leather conditioner.
Steps on polishing and removing scuff marks from Dr. Martens
The easiest and probably the most common way to remove abrasive scuff marks from your Doc Martens is by polishing your shoes. For this method, you’ll only need a shoe brush, some pieces of cloth, water, and shoe polish.
Step 1. Clean the surface of your boots
First things first, you have to remove all the dirt from your Dr. Martens. Make sure you remove the laces before doing so. Proceed to use a damp cloth to wipe all the dust and dirt on each and finish with a dry cloth.
Step 2. Heat the scuffed area
It’s a good idea to heat the scuffed area of your Dr. Martens so you can blend the polish better. Leather becomes more malleable when heated, allowing better polish application in uneven areas of your boots.
In heating the scuffed parts of your Doc Martens, use a hairdryer in light heat. You should never use the level of heat that you yourself cannot withstand. It will only cause the leather to warp or constrict.
Step 3. Massage the scuffed area using a clean cloth
Another step that you shouldn’t skip is massaging the scuffed area in a circular motion. You can even apply some pressure because leather is known to be durable.
The reason behind massaging is that it softens the edges of the scuff and brings out some of the dye surrounding the marks. If you’re lucky, you would no longer need to apply shoe polish after doing this because the scuff marks will disappear through blending.
Step 4. Put some polish
Put a good amount of shoe polish on your Dr. Martens and ensure you get an even coating on every scuff mark. Apply some gentle but firm pressure so that the polish can get into the leather’s pores.
If you have an old Dr. Martens who haven’t been polished before, consider applying a second coat of wax polish. But before doing so, let the first coat sit for 10 to 20 minutes.
Step 5. Get buffing
Some people stop after the fourth step, and it’s totally fine. But if you want your boots to be extra shiny, don’t skip buffing them. Go grab your brush and start buffing until you get the shine you want. This will also help remove excess wax polish.
Once you’re done buffing, let it dry for a bit before relacing. You’re all done!
Removing scuff marks using household items
If the scuff marks on your Dr. Martens are only materials transferred from other objects, there are some household items that can do the trick. However, be very cautious when proceeding as they can do more harm than good if not used properly.
Important: Do not use alcohol, dish soap, and nail polish remover in getting rid of scuff marks. They can potentially damage the leather because of the chemicals they contain.
A shoe brush should be your first option when removing material transfer scuffs. They are really made to remove debris from your boots, so go use them to see if they can already handle the marks.
I know what you’re thinking! Can my son’s pencil eraser really help me with my Dr. Marten’s scuff marks? Well, sure it can! In fact, using an eraser is the most recommended method of removing scuffs.
White erasers are preferred over regular pink erasers because they leave less residue. They should be used in circular motions with just enough pressure to remove the marks out of your leather.
Non-gel toothpaste also works wonders in removing scuff marks. Apply a small amount to the affected area and brush it gently. Use a damp cloth to remove the toothpaste and airdry your boots.
Of course, baking soda is on this list! What’s a removal tutorial without baking soda, right?
Mix two tablespoons of baking soda in hot water to create a paste. Apply it to the scuff mark and polish using a cloth. Once the scuff is removed, clean the leather with a damp cloth.
Petroleum jelly doesn’t only work in human skin but also in leather. Using a dry cloth, apply petroleum jelly in the scuffs in a circular motion and let it sit for a few minutes. After which, use a clean cloth to remove it.
Removing scuffs from your Dr. Martens is not as complicated as it looks. You just need to identify the type of scuff your boots have—material transfer or abrasive—and find household items or products that can remove them. You’ll get your pair of Dr. Martens looking sharp in no time, so don’t buy another one just yet!