How to Shine Leather Shoes?

Nothing makes an outfit together completely like a pair of shiny leather shoes. You love your leather shoes and want to keep them beautiful and shiny for years to come. Don’t worry, and it’s not a complicated process at all. You need to know a good polishing technique and tools. Shining your leather shoes will be like a breeze. But make sure to clean the shoes before buffing them.  In this article, you will learn about cleaning and shining leather shoes that need a lot of patience. 

Shine Leather Shoes in five simple steps:

To keep your shoes looking shiny, clean them regularly, condition them every month to moisturize the leather, and then polish them for that lovely glow. When you put them away, store them properly.

Step 1. Shoe cleaning 

Remove the shoelaces 

Pull out the shoelaces from your leather shoes if your leather shoes are lace-up type shoes. As the shoelaces are made of cloth, they may get stained due to the leather cleaner and polish. Wash them separately in the washing machine. 

Remove the dirt  

This step is optional for shiny leather shoes. If your shoes have pretty clean, then skip this step. Otherwise, use a soft-bristled brush to remove the dirt and debris from the shoes. Make sure to remove the chunks of land from the lines and soles of the shoes.

Apply leather cleaner for stubborn marks 

You use a soft brush to work the leather cleaner into the leather. Move the meeting back and forth while applying the leather cleaner. Avoid the use of water to clean your leather shoes. 

Use talcum powder to remove oil and grease stains

To remove grease stains from your leather shoes, sprinkle talcum powder on them. Leave it for an hour to soak the oil. Softly dust away the powder using a soft cloth or soft bristle brush.  

Use vinegar to remove salt stains. 

Salt stains leave white residue on your leather shoes. Mix vinegar and water in a 1:2 ratio to clean them, and apply to your shoe stains using a clean, soft cloth. 

Dry your shoes 

Leave your shoes to dry at room temperature before applying the conditioner to make leather shoes shine like never before. Avoid using heat, as it will damage your shoes. 

Step 2. Shoe conditioning 

Condition your leather shoes 

Pour a drop of leather conditioner onto the shoe top and spread it using a clean cloth. Let it dry for a few minutes, and then wipe it away. 

Your leather shoes are now ready to be polished and buffed. Let’s move toward the main topic: how to shine leather shoes. 

Step 3. Shoe polishing 

Choose the suitable polish. 

Polish does come in different forms like wax, liquid, and cream. Out of which cream and waxes stay longer. Liquid polish is a handy option when you are in a hurry. 

Choose the right color of polish. 

Shoe polishes are available in different colors. So choose the right color that matches your leather shoes. Otherwise, they may look ugly. 

Choose the right brush or cloth to apply the polish 

Most of us wear material or old t-shirts to use shoe polish on leather shoes. That’s ok. But the best is to invest in a polishing brush. 

Choose the right shining brush

A horsehair shoe shining brush is the best option to brush excess polish and to work the remaining polish into the leather. 

Cover your work area with a newspaper 

To avoid mess related to shoe polishing, protect your floor by spreading some newspaper beneath the leather shoes. 

Apply the polish on leather shoes 

Ladle the old t-shirt or polish brush in the shoe polish, and work it into the shoe surface in circular motions. Make sure to evenly apply the polish over the shoe surface and to the heel and toe. Use a cotton swab to apply the shoe polish to hard-to-reach places. 

Let the shoe polish dry for 15 minutes. 

Each shoe requires 15 to 20 minutes of drying time so after applying polish to the leather shoes, place them on the newspaper. 

Recoat of polish 

If you feel that your leather shoe requires another coat, let it. But remember to use the minimum amount of polish for a recoat. 

Rub off the extra polish 

Once the polish has dried, use the horsehair shoe brush in quick strokes to remove excess polish. Make sure to brush off the polish from your leather shoes evenly. 

This step is necessary to remove the extra polish, while the heat generated from the quick strokes helps the rest of the polish to sink in. After finishing the brushing, the shoes already got a little twinkle shine. For a super shiny look, keep reading.

Step 4. Buffing

Choose the proper cloth to buff. 

Chamois is the best leather cloth to add a shiny finish to your leather shoes. Alternatively, you can also choose any soft cloth like an old t-shirt. 

Buff the shoes 

Take an old t-shirt or chamois cloth, and buff the shoes using a side-to-side motion. It’s simple for you to wear the boots before filing. Breathing onto the shoe top before buffing is a handy idea to add extra shine to your shoes. 

Step 5. Shine your leather shoes 

First method: Mirror shine 

Use a wet cloth to polish 

To attain mirror shine, wrap the soft cloth tightly around your hand, with the index and middle fingers covered by the material. Dip your cloth-covered fingers in water until wet, and then use this damp cloth to apply polish to your shoes. The water is used to deter the polish from sticking to the fabric and enable it to stay on the boots. 

Buff using a damp cloth 

Pick up a shoe, and start buffing in a slow circular motion using a damp cloth. Make sure to rub all parts of the shoe from top to toe and heel. Then move on to the next shoe. And let them dry. 

Apply a second layer of polish and buff using a damp cloth 

When the shoes are completely dry, apply another layer of shoe polish using a wet cloth. Then again, use a damp cloth to buff your shoes.  

Continue doing these steps till you get the desired results. The surface of the shoes looks smooth and shines like a mirror. 

Second method: Fire shine; Burn the wax. 

Remove previous coatings of polish. 

Add a few drops of rubbing alcohol to each shoe and use a cotton cloth to stroke it. The polish will rub off the fabric. 

Burn the shoe polish

Open the container of your shoe polish, and burn the surface of the polish using a lighter. Be careful not to drip melting polish on the floor or your clothes. Allow it to boil for a few seconds, then extinguish it by blowing it out. 


Fires are always dangerous and can cause burns. Place a bucket of water near you before doing this fun activity. 

Use a damp cloth to apply softened polish. 

Roll a t-shirt around your hand, dip it in water, and then in soft polish. Apply this polish onto the shoe 

surface in a circular motion as done before for other processes.

Continue till acquiring desired results. 

Add multiple layers to the leather shoe to make them shine. Make sure to apply thin layers of polish on the boots. Otherwise, the shoes will look messy. 

Final heating

Take out your lighter and run the flame over the entire surface of the shoe. Make sure the flame should not touch the shoe. And keep the love moving. Otherwise, it will burn the spot where you stay for a while. Stop! When the shoe surface looks wet.  

Set them aside for 20 minutes to dry. 

Last buffing

Use a chamois cloth to treat your shoes with one last buff. 

Shine Leather Shoes


To keep your shoes looking shiny, clean them regularly, condition them every month to moisturize the leather, and then polish them for that lovely glow. When you put them away, store them properly. 

Do you find my article informative? If yes, then please share with me your lovely comments. 

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