How to Remove Shoe Wax

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In certain circles, a popular phrase is "the shoes make the man." In the military, the level of shine on a soldier's boots demonstrates the level of determination in the soldier. Either way, when the polish on a pair of nice shoes or boots goes south, it's necessary to remove the old wax and start over. The wax can be removed with a dull knife or with chemicals.

How to Remove Shoe Wax
(Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Dull pocket knife
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Nail polish remover-with acetone
  • 3M adhesive remover
  • Clean kitchen towel
  • Make up remover pads
  • Paper towels
  • Shoe leather conditioner
Step 1

Place a hand inside the shoe to gain full control of the shoe to remove the old wax.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 2

Hold the dull knife perpendicular to the leather. Scrape across the leather lightly, or you will scratch the leather.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 3

Remove the wax from the leather in small amounts at a time. This will take several passes to remove all the wax. When bare leather is reached, the knife will feel different when it is scraped across the leather.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 4

Repeat these steps for the other shoe.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 5

Wipe the shoe clean with a paper towel to make sure the wax is gone.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 6

Condition the shoe with a leather conditioner. Allow it to dry and polish with a quality shoe polish.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 1

Place the shoes on the kitchen type towel on a hard floor or counter. This will help to soak up any additional fluid used.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 2

Soak a make up remover pad in the chemical of choice, such as acetone nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol or 3M adhesive remover. Make sure the pad is soaked, but not dripping. Rubber gloves can be worn, but are not necessary.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 3

Rub the chemical on the shoe wax in small circles. When the side of the make up remover pad becomes caked with wax, turn the pad over to the second side. When the second side becomes caked, use a new pad.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 4

Remove wax in small areas. Every 2 to 3 minutes wipe the shoe with a clean paper towel. The paper towel will remove some wax that the make up pad misses because it is rougher than the make up pad. It will also keep the leather from absorbing too much fluid.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 5

Allow the shoe to dry for one hour after completely removing the wax.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 6

Condition the shoes with a leather conditioner. Allow the shoes to dry for 1 hour.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 7

Polish the shoes with a quality paste wax.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media

Tips & Warnings

  • Wax the shoes immediately after either process to make sure the leather is protected.
  • Conditioning after either process will help to make the leather last longer.
  • Remember paste wax works best for shoes and boots polished on a regular basis.
  • Acetone, and rubbing alcohol will dry out the leather significantly; conditioning is needed to ensure the leather lasts and does not crack.
  • The dull knife can create damage to the leather if used improperly.

References

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