How Does Shoe Shine Work?

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How Does Shoe Shine Work?
How Does Shoe Shine Work? (Image: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/533158)

The Importance of Shiny Shoes

The look of your shoes is most often the first thing seen by people you encounter. If your shoes are dull, scuffed or dirty, your whole appearance can seem sloppy. A shoe shine not only makes your shoes look good, it protects them and adds to their longevity as well. In order to better understand all of this, you need to know how shoe polish actually works.

The Components of Shoe Polish

You need shoe polish (boot polish) to get a good shine. It is manufactured in a waxy, balm or paste form. Shoe polish differs slightly from the liquid type of polish that contains less wax substance. The ingredients have changed from all-natural, to a mixture of natural and man-made materials. Shoe polish can be compared to dyed wax. Various substances are combined to create ease of use, shine and permanence. The color is created from various dyes. Shoe polish was first manufactured for only leather shoes, but is now produced for other materials. It is sold in various shades to match the color of the shoes or in neutral, which has no dye added to it.

How Shoe Polish Works

The actual process of a shoeshine generates a chemical reaction from the polish and your motions. It will fill in any scuffs or scratches and add a protective layer to the shoes. You must always begin with clean dry shoes, shoe polish, an applicator brush and a buffing brush (made of horsehair) or soft cloth. When the shoe polish is placed on the applicator brush and applied to the shoe, it causes friction that liquefies it. This will allow it to fill in any cracks or scuffs on the shoe surface. The shoe polish will dry to a dull finish. The final process is buffing the polish with a buffing brush, soft cloth or both. This causes the polish to again liquefy and it evens out the shoe surface and makes it reflective and shiny. The results are a protective layer on the shoes that is very glossy.

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