Shoes… Can’t live with them, at least not without them breaking after a few months of wearing them even though you buy a pair that cost half of your student aid. And you can’t very well live without them either.
At least for me it seems I can never find a pair of shoes that will last me very long. But if you take good care of your leather shoes, you should be able to keep them for a good while. Or at least until the heels are worn…
Last weekend, I started looking around for homemade leather shoe shine recipes. And as it turns out, it’s quite easy to make your own shoe polish.
A good shoe polish needs to shine, protect and restore the shoes, and all this can be done with quite easy ingredients. Actually many of the shoe polishes you’ll find in the store still contain ingredients that have traditionally been used for polishing shoes, such as oil and wax. Plus a bunch of other stuff that I honestly don’t know what they are doing there… So why not get back to basics and make your own chemical free shoe polish?
Let’s take these in order of difficulty, adding on more ingredients for more effective shoe polish. Before you start polishing your shoes, make sure they’re clean, dry and made of real leather.
1 Olive oil
Olive oil or walnut oil (I’m pretty sure any oil work just as well here but I can’t say for sure) will give your shoes a nice shine and also a little bit of water protection. Using a soft cloth, rub some oil all over your shoes, leave the oil to soak in for a few minutes up to overnight, and if necessary wipe off any excess oil. Shiny and new! Do this a couple of times a week, and that’s all you need to keep you shoes in top condition.
2 Olive oil and lemon juice
I haven’t tried this one myself, but there are loads of tutorials online on how to use olive oil and lemon juice to polish your shoes. Here’s one for instance, check it out – and try it out!
3 Oil and wax
Adding some beeswax to the mixture will add extra protection and shine. If you have the possibility to get some carnauba wax, do add some to the mixture as it is great for protecting leather and will give a high-gloss finish.
40 gram beeswax, or 20 gram beeswax and 20 gram carnauba wax.
150 gram (170 ml) olive oil
Melt beeswax and oil in a double boiler, pour into a container and voilá! Apply with a soft cloth brush. If you like, you can use a buffing brush afterward to bring out the shine in the shoes and remove excess polish, or wipe it off with a cloth or some paper towels. This recipe will be quite solid – feel free to add some more oil to make it more runny.
4 With vaseline
If you have a jar of vaseline or petroleum jelly lying stuffed in the back of your cupboard that you don’t want to use because it’s… well, the root of all evil basically, you can still use it to polish and protect your shoes. Either rub it on straight as it is, or add a little bit to the recipe above:
20 gram wax
80 gram (90 ml) olive oil
45 gram vaseline
Melt ingredients, pour into a container and leave to cool. Apply with a brush or soft cloth.
5 Add color
Many shoe polish products contain some color enhance the colour of the leather. This is easily done at home as well, if you buy some color pigments that I mentioned in the last post.
Make recipe 4 or 5, adding about 2-3 tsp of pigment depending on how much color you want.
OR add a pinch of pigment color to a paper plate or similar (the lid of your shoe polish jar works too), add about 2 tsp of premade shoe polish 4 or 5, mix well with a disposable wooden skewer, and apply with a brush or soft cloth. This way you only need one jar of shoe polish and you can make any color you like!
How do you take care of your shoes? Do you polish them, if so how often and with what?
Also check out: Banana peel as shoe shine