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How to Polish a Pair of shoes

Posted by Rachel Thomas on

A pair of good shoes can last you for life, as long as you maintain them properly. A routine shoe clean and polish can keep the leather supple, stop it from cracking and it will help you identify any other problems early on before they later become irreversible (worn down heels beyond the point of no return for example).

As well as this, I also find it in my list of things to do to have a bit of downtime, switching off from any devices and just meditating on a pair of shoes can be a very relaxing and satisfying way to spend half an hour, and the outcome can be pretty rewarding.

So, here's my guide of how to get a good clean.

Firstly, assemble your tools:

Leather Cream (or I use Dubbin)
Shoe Polish,
Shoe Brush,
An old cloth,
A Duster,
Toothbrush (optional)
Newspaper of a shoe tree if you have one,
An apron.

You'll need to be wearing an apron, or clothes that you don't mind getting shoe polish on, and be working in a space that you don't mind getting dirty - outside is perfect for this if you're lucky enough to have the space, if not then set your self up on an old towel.

Step 1 Prepare your shoes by removing the laces, and stuffing the toes with newspaper, this helps to pad out all the crease marks so that you can get the cream in there a bit easier. Now using a dry brush you need to dust the shoes down removing any dirt (this is where the toothbrush can come in useful). If you get the shoes wet you have to let them dry out before moving on to the next steps.


Step 2 Conditioning.

Take your old cloth and rub in the Leather Cream or Dubbin to the shoes, you want to really massage it in. This is going to moisten and condition the leather. The shoes I have to work on are pretty creased and cracked and so I'm concentrating on really getting a lot of the moisturiser in these spots. Have a cup of tea/coffee/water and watch the world go by while you wait for this to soak in and dry up.

Step 3 Polish.

Now using a cloth start applying the shoe polish, again working in circular movements to make sure you get a good coverage. When you have done one shoe, move onto the other and by the time you have finished this one the first will be ready for brushing down. Now vigorously brush your shoe, you want to be really buffing the polish so that it starts becoming more shiny in appearance. After this is completed on both shoes it's time for a quick shine over with the duster. Again, the more vigorous you are the better the shine will be! 


Any very bad scuffs or dents can then be polished, buffed and shined again to build the polish back up in those spots. Re- thread the laces and hey presto you are finished! A lovely looking a happy feeling pair of shoes!

On the subject of shoe laces I have actually been reading a lot about the subject over the last week and will be adding another blog post later on discussing the matter.

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