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Cleaning & Polishing

  • Remove dirt and grime with a leather cleaner intended for smooth leather shoes, or saddle soap. Use a soft cloth to clean with.
  • Let shoes air dry completely.
  • Conditioning your shoes protects them from drying and cracking. To keep them soft and smooth, rub in a commercial shoe conditioner after each cleaning.
    To polish leather shoes, first decide what kind of polish you want to use. Commercial shoe polishes, which can be purchased at shoe stores or online, come in liquid, cream, and paste form. Or try an at-home alternative such as walnut oil, olive oil, or the inside of a banana peel.
  • If you use traditional shoe polish, read and follow the instructions carefully. Some commercial polishes contain toxic chemicals and can cause unpleasant side effects when used. Wear gloves when using, and dispose of polish rags safely.
  • Always test polish or oil in a small spot first.
  • If your polish does not have its own applicator (or if using an at-home alternative) wrap two fingers in a soft cloth and dip it in the polish.
  • Rub polish or oil into shoe in small, circular motions.
  • Make sure the entire shoe has been covered, but do not over-polish.
  • When shoes are dry, buff with a clean soft cloth. Hold it taut with both hands and slide it quickly back and forth over the toe of the shoe, then fold cloth and use one hand to rub the sides.