How to Clean and Polish Leather Shoes
More than anything else you wear, guys, your shoes will get the most dirty. It’s that whole “closest to the ground” thing. And washing shoes is a chore.
That’s probably why we try and convince ourselves that our nice leather dress shoes don’t need to be cleaned or shined. After all, how often do you really wear your dress shoes anyway? And it’s not like you’re wearing leather shoes to a rodeo or anything. How dirty could they be?
It’s easy to fall into this sense of security, but you shouldn’t. You need your dress shoes as spiffy as ever whenever you use them; that’s why we only use them for special occasions. But you can’t just toss your leather shoes into the washing machine and hope for the best.
Cleaning and shining leather shoes requires time, effort and the right tools. It’s not as hard as it may seem, and making sure you’re ready to start will be totally worth it in the end.
What You’ll Need:
- A soft cloth. (By “soft” we mean ‘anything that won’t scuff your shoes.” Think an old rag or an old shirt at the bottom of your dresser drawer.)
- Shoe polish! Duh! We bet you didn’t know that shoe polish comes in different colors. That’s okay! Learning this stuff when you finally have to start thinking about it is how it goes. Try to match polish with your shoe color (aim for similar shades or lighter; avoid darker.)
- A shoe brush.
What You’ll Do:
Brush away dirt, grime, mud or whatever’s down there with the shoe brush. Or, dampen a cloth you won’t use for the actual polishing and use that. Just don’t start polishing while your shoe is wet. Yuck.
Oh, this is where we mention that you should’ve covered the floor with a towel or newspapers. This shoe polish business can get everywhere if you’re not careful. And if you’re polishing your shoes before you run out the door to an event then you’re probably not being careful! (We feel you. Been there.)
Anyway, now you can start polishing your leather shoes. Instead of applying the polish to the shoe itself, dab some on your polishing cloth and then rub in tight, circular motions across the shoe. Take it easy, but make sure you’re seeing a difference as you polish.
Pick up that brush again and dust away any top layer of polish that’s dripping or accumulating or sitting there, stacked up, looking at you in judgement for putting too much polish on. Don’t take that from your shoe polish. Wipe that excessive sucker off your shiny shoes.
Return to the cloth-shirt and buff your shoe until it shines!
Boom. You’re done. You’ve kept your shoes looking nice and clean in under 20 minutes.