How to Use Shoe Polish

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Whether inexpensive or high end, all leather shoes require a good polishing to prolong their lives and keep them looking new. Shoe polish comes in two forms: wax and paste or cream. Wax polish provides the best shine while paste or cream act as moisturizers, maintaining flexibility in the leather. Using shoe polish is simple and can be done in just a few minutes. While shoe-polish kits with specialized tools are available, you can use an old cotton sock and a sponge with the same results. Polish your shoes regularly in order to protect and preserve them.

Things You'll Need

  • Shoe polish
  • Damp cloth
  • Dauber
  • Cotton cloth

Step 1

Clear a work space in a well-ventilated area, and put newspaper down to protect the work surface. Change into old clothes and wear gloves so you won't stain your hands. If you are polishing shoes with laces, remove them to prevent discoloration.

Step 2

Wipe away any loose dirt from the shoes with a damp cloth. Pay special attention to the areas around crevices and seams where dirt tends to get lodged.

Step 3

Choose a shoe polish color that complements the shade of your shoes. Black, navy, brown and white are the most commonly available colors of polish but more are available at many shoe repair shops. Clear polish can be used if you cannot match the color. It will add shine and condition the leather but will not cover scuffs.

Step 4

Using your dauber or a damp sponge, scoop some of the shoe polish from the tin and apply it to the shoe in a circular motion. Daubers are small foam brushes available where you purchase your shoe polish. Apply an even, thin coat until the shoe is completely covered.

Step 5

Allow the polish to dry completely on the leather. This will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 6

Buff the shoe with a soft cotton cloth made for this purpose or a clean sock to remove excess polish. Continue buffing until the shoe has an even shine. Make sure that you buff the excess polish from the stitching and overlapping areas on the leather.

Tip

  • A soft toothbrush can be used to apply polish in difficult to reach areas.

Warning

  • Avoid liquid polish in an applicator bottle as it can dry out and damage leather. Do not use shoe polish on suede. Special conditioning products are available for suede shoes. Standard leather, shoes can be polished successfully using this method, while patent leather requires a simple buff and shine with water. You can also use window cleaner to shine patent leather shoes.

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