If you have got a pair of leather shoes that you have worn for a while, you might notice that they have started to lose some of their glossy shine. Leather shoes that are scratched, scuffed, and dull, tend to look unimpressive and scruffy. Fortunately, it is easy to restore that sheen by polishing your shoes. This doesn’t need to be a difficult and terrifying process, though!

Here at Shoe Adviser, we have put together a guide to how to shine your shoes at home without needing any specialist equipment beyond a tub of polishing wax or cream and a shoe brush! So if there is anything you want to know about the process of polishing your shoes, or even how you could try polishing your shoes without any sort of wax or cream, then we’ve got all the information you could ever need! Just read on below to learn all you might want to know about shining your shoes, so they look fresh and new once again!

How can I make my Shoes Shiny?

There are many simple, low maintenance models of shoe available in almost any color you can imagine, but these tend to fall apart relatively quickly and do not often look as good as a nice pair of leather shoes. As long as you follow proper shoe care habits, a good pair of leather shoes will last you a lifetime.

To make your leather shoes shiny at home, you will need a few different pieces of equipment. First, you will need a tub of shoe polish, which could be either a cream or a wax. Note that cream polishes can affect the color of your shoe a bit, while wax polish can be bought in a color that matches the color of your shoe to ensure no discoloration.

You will also need a soft polishing cloth or a good shoe care brush to achieve a high level of shoe shine. Ideally, you will want to have both a soft cloth and a buffing brush – ideally a brush made from horsehair. Just make sure that it is a brush designed specifically for shoe shining purposes in order to avoid risking damage to your shoes! Once you have got all of these materials together and laid down a cover over the area you are planning to use to shine your shoes, you will be ready to get to work.

Step 1: Remove the laces from your shoes. You don’t want to get polish on the laces, so it is worth taking the time to remove them from each shoe before you start.

Step 2: Fill in your shoe with newspaper. Pack balls of newspaper into your shoe to give you a solid and firm surface. You might need to use quite a lot of paper to get a firm enough surface!

Step 3: Clean your shoe. There is no point polishing your shoes if they are still covered in dirt. Use a welt brush for this, and make sure you brush all of the small corners as well as the large, smooth areas. Make sure you let the shoe dry completely before you continue!

Step 4: Apply your polish. Put a little bit of your chosen wax or cream onto your polishing cloth and use gentle circular motions to apply it to the surface of your shoes. This motion causes friction that softens the wax and allows it to spread more smoothly and evenly across the surface of your shoe. Do this all over your shoe until there is a waxy sheen visible all over it.

Step 5: Buff your shoes. Using your horsehair buffing brush, buff your entire shoe with quick side to side motions until it shines. This is the step that transforms your waxy, strange-looking shoe into a smooth, shiny, smart looking piece of footwear!

Step 6: Wipe your shoes clean. Use a clean rag or cloth to wipe down your shoe and remove any excess wax or cream. Then, all you need to do is leave it to dry for 10 minutes or so, and your shoe will be ready to wear again!

How can I Shine my Shoes Without Polish?

There are a number of DIY shoe polish options you can try if yo a’re in a pinch, you have run out of your favorite wax polish, and really need to know how to shine shoes without polish. Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can shine your shoes with no polish and no risk of changing the color of your shoe.

The best option if you need to shine your shoes without polish is to mix olive oil with a little lemon juice. Sprinkle a little bit of this mixture over the top of your chosen pair of shoes and rub it in with a soft cloth. Leave this to dry for 5 minutes or so, and then, also using a soft clean cloth or a shoe polishing brush, wipe away any excess.

Banana peels are also a great option if you need to get your shoes shiny and don’t have any wax polish available. Just rub the inside of a banana peel on the surface of your shoes, then clean and buff the shoe, using a soft, dry cloth or shoe polishing brush.

If you are trying to polish any color of leather shoes without using a wax polish, then coconut oil is a great option. First, clean your chosen pair of leather shoes with a soft dry cloth or brush. Dip a cloth in coconut oil and use this to gently wipe coconut oil all over the surface of your shoe. This should restore the shine almost instantly!

How do you spit Shine Shoes?

“Spit shine” is a term used to refer to a shoe shining method commonly used in the military to achieve a higher level of polish on leather boots. This is a technique that requires standard shoe polish equipment as well as water or alcohol and only works on leather shoes. It takes about an hour, so be prepared to get to work pretty determinedly for a long time if you want to achieve good results!

First, spread a thick layer of shoe polish paste over your boot, and leave the polish to dry for somewhere between five and ten minutes.

Once the polish is dry, wrap a soft, clean cloth around your index finger tightly so that you have a smooth, wrinkle-free cloth surface. Alternatively, using a cotton ball can work well here. Dip the cloth wrapped finger or cotton ball into a container of water or rubbing alcohol to wet it, but do not soak it so much that it is dripping with excess liquid.

Buff the dried shoe polish with the wet cloth or cotton ball, moving your hand in a circular motion until the surface starts to become shiny. Then, still using your damp cloth or cotton ball, dip it into your wax polish, and apply a fine layer of polish to the surface. Also, using a circular motion here, rub lightly until a hazy, faint shine starts to develop. Repeat this several times, applying several thin layers of wax polish and buffing in between applications, until you can see a highly glossy, polished surface. Make sure you don’t use too much polish in any one layer here, as that can dissolve the base layer you have already built up, ruining your result and wasting your time.

Once you are happy with the shine on your boots, just use a clean, dry cloth or shoe shining brush to give the surface a final buff and really raise that polished shine to the next level!

How do you Shine High Gloss Shoes?

High gloss shoes may look great when they are new, with a mirror-like surface that looks sparkling and smart, but the shoe care required to keep them looking this good after you have worn them for a while can take a lot of time and effort. High gloss shoes that don’t get enough care and polish look scratched, worn, and unloved, and nobody wants that! Let’s take a look at how to keep high gloss shoes as shiny as possible, keeping them looking fresh and sharp.

The good news is that high gloss shoes are easy to clean and polish. This is because they are not actually made from leather, but rather an artificial leather product called “poromeric,” which has different properties from leather.

Poromeric should not be polished with standard shoe polish. What you will need is simple soap and water, and also an acetone-based nail polish remover if you want to deal with scuffs, or a vaseline or mineral oil to use for additional glossiness, depending on what level of shine you are trying to get on your shoes.

Step 1: Clean your high gloss shoes thoroughly with water and soap. In most cases, this should restore a dull surface to that new shoe shine they had when you first bought your pair of high gloss shoes.

Step 2: If you have a scuff to the surface of the shoe, you can restore it with acetone-based nail polish remover. Put a tiny bit of nail polish remover on a cotton bud and wipe it over the scuff. Be cautious and careful, though, as while acetone will remove the scuff, it can also remove the high gloss shine layer from your shoe if you are not careful!

Step 3: If your shoes are looking a bit dull even after cleaning, you can use vaseline or mineral oil to get that sparkling high gloss shine back. Just lightly wipe the surface of your shoe using a soft cloth dipped in the vaseline or oil to shine your shoes fully once again.


Our guide to how to shine your shoes above should be more than enough to get you started with polishing your shoes at home easily enough. It might be an intimidating prospect, but it really is not difficult to get to grips with the shoe shine process. There are other options available, but the methods we have listed above are a great way to get started and should be ideal for almost everyone out there, no matter how hesitant you are about polishing your shoes.

About the Author

Hey, I'm Lilly Harvey. If there's two things I'm passionate about in life, it's shoes and writing!

Combining both my passions with my Fashion Design degree, I've helped create Shoe Adviser to help readers choose the best shoes for them, enjoy!

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