How Often Should You Polish Your Shoes?


Today, good-quality shoes can cost $100 and up. At those prices, you absolutely need to ensure you get the biggest bang for your buck. Ask any cobbler how to protect your investment; he or she will tell you to polish your shoes as often as once a week, but at least once a month. If you want your overall appearance to look polished, start with a pair of well-polished shoes.

Tools and Equipment

  • Having the right tools and equipment are key to working smart and not hard. Here's what you will need to complete your shoe shining task:

    -- Two 100 percent horse hair shoeshine brushes; one for black only and one for brown or other colors
    Two applicator brushes; one light and one black
    Wax polish--use for waterproofing
    Cream polish and pastes--add moisture to leather and cover up scratches and other imperfections
    Liquid polish--strictly for emergencies
    Two shine clothes; one for black shoes and one for brown or other colors

Shoe Polish Prep

  • Shoe polish will significantly increase the lifespan of your prized Manolos or Crockett & Jones, but polish can also be the premature demise of clothing or any household surface. Slip into old clothes before you begin as you almost certainly will get polish on your hands which could end up on whatever you are wearing. Also, safeguard furniture and floors by placing ample newspaper on the floor around your work area.

    Start with a clean slate. Ensure your shoes are free from any foreign substances. If your shoes are not new (yes, new shoes should be polished), wipe away any dirt or dust. Clean very dirty shoes with a moist rag, and permit them to dry before applying polish.

    Finally, remove the shoelaces. Doing so allows you to clean the shoe's tongue without ruining the laces.


  • Using the applicator, apply polish or cream to shoes in circular motions. Distribute polish evenly from toe to heel. Allow wax to dry completely. Once the wax dries--usually within five minutes--buff shoes with the horsehair brush. For the final step, hold shoe between your knees and, using your shine cloth, buff the toe. When buffing shoes, whether using a brush or a shine cloth, use a vigorous motion, as this generates heat, helping the polish to flow into the leather.

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