Uh oh! No shoe polish, no problem! Today I’m going to show you how to clean dress shoes without polish.
Explore these natural solutions and common home objects that have become easy alternatives to shoe polish to breathe new life into your pair of dull leather shoes.
Did you know tallow, oil, wax polish, and soda ash were used to make the first commercially produced shoe polish, which was designed to waterproof and soften leather. The ability to make the shoes shine was only added in the 18th century.
Shoes must be polished on a regular basis to stay in good shape. Toxic compounds like nitrobenzene, trichloroethylene, and methylene chloride are found in store-bought shoe polish.
Thankfully, you can polish shoes without exposing yourself to harmful chemicals. Natural medicines and everyday household products can be used as shoe polish substitutes.
We’re going to go over how to clean shoes without polish in this article!
How To Clean Dress Shoes Without Polish
Who knew that you can clean shoes without polish!
Back when both myself and my husband worked in Corporate, you would have days where you reached for your shoe polish to get ready for work, and you were out!
I needed something to shine shoes with as they weren’t looking great that day. Once I started to do some research, I quickly found that apparently shoe polish is not great for you or your shoes
Since then, I researched the best ways to shine shoes and clean shoes without polish and I’m going to share these natural remedies here with you today.
1) Body Lotion
With a small ball of cotton, apply any type of body lotion onto your shoes, and it doesn’t take many much to get outstanding results. Similar to other shoe-shine products, you should always buff the shoes to a high shine with a clean soft cloth, a soft polishing cloth or an old t-shirt. Always move in small circular motions.
I’m guessing you have body lotion at home, and if you’re using it to polish shoes, it doesn’t matter which kind you use because they all have the same effect.
2) Coconut Oil
Leather shoes respond best when you dab a little coconut oil onto a small cotton ball and rub it into the shoes, much like other forms of oil. Again, you don’t need much coconut oil because a little goes a long way. After the coconut oil has been soaked into the shoes, buff the shoes to a shine using a soft cloth.
In fact, you don’t want to put too much coconut oil on your pair of shoes because it has a distinct odor that will stick with you for the rest of the day.
3) Banana Peel
Banana peel can be used instead of shoe polish! This one is a little out of the ordinary, but it works. Remove the banana from the banana peel and rub the inside of the banana peel against your shoes. After that, use a soft cloth or a tissue to clean away any excesses. After that, gently rub your shoes in a small circular motion with a soft rag or a paper towel to make them shinier. Gently wipe the peel away.
Some people dislike this method since there is usually a little banana peel left within the skin, but it is an economical and effective method that is also simple.
4) Hair Gel
The nicest thing about using hair gel to polish your shoes is that you only need a small quantity, and everyone has hair gel in their bathroom cabinet! . Apply a little dab of hair gel on the shoe, then vigorously rub it with a soft rag or damp cloth to make it shine in no time. If your hair gel is blue or green, don’t panic; the color never transfers to the shoe. Hair gel is a good alternative to shoe polish if you want something less expensive but still effective.
For centuries, beeswax has been used to polish shoes. You must first heat the wax, ensuring that it is malleable enough to apply to the shoes, and then thoroughly rub it into each shoe. Then, using a clean, soft cloth, buff the shoes to a brilliant sheen.
Beeswax is also available in volume and online, so if this method of shoe shining works for you, you might want to invest in large quantities.
6) Olive Oil and Lemon
Most people have olive oil in their kitchens, and all you have to do is spray a bit on your shoes (I use this mister for my olive oil), let it stay for a few minutes, and then wash them off with a soft cleaning cloth. If you want more shine, rub in a few drops of lemon after you’ve finished with the olive oil.
Olive oil will penetrate into leather shoes and swiftly absorb, leaving a lovely, even, and very smooth texture that will endure for a long time.
7) Oregano Leaves
You can rub oregano leaves onto your shoe and then buff it to a high shine with a clean cloth since oregano leaves contain essential oils that are ideal for treating leather shoes. This isn’t the most typical approach to make your shoes shine, but it’s cheap, simple, and effective.
Additionally, because oregano leaves are antifungal and antibacterial, they protect the leather in your shoes, making them soft, supple, and long-lasting. Naturally, you won’t want to use this method to shine your shoes on a regular basis, but you’ll be astonished at how efficient it is.
Potato juice has a lot of uses, including polishing shoes. Simply peel the potato and rub it into your shoes; the juice must be wiped away with a clean cloth before the juice dries. If you’re going to an important meeting and your shoes are dull, this is a quick and easy way to shine them up before leaving the house.
Most individuals have potatoes in their homes on a regular basis, and if you’re in a pinch, they’re the ideal item to use to shine your shoes.
9) Hibiscus Flower
Hibiscus plants are both attractive and practical, as one of their numerous purposes is to restore the shine to shoes. Simply massage the flower against the shoe for a few seconds before wiping it clean with a clean cloth. After that, rub the shoes using a soft cloth to acquire that lustrous finish you crave.
You probably won’t want to polish your shoes with hibiscus blossoms on a regular basis, but if you’re in a pinch, it’ll do the trick.
10) Rubbing Alcohol
The majority of people have no idea that this works, but it does. Simply dab a little amount of rubbing alcohol onto your shoes and rub the rubbing alcohol in small circles with a small cotton ball until you achieve the desired shine. After that, use a clean, soft cloth to rub the shoes until they are shining.
For this procedure to work, you only need a small amount of rubbing alcohol. Start with a small bit and gradually increase it so you don’t end up with too much on your shoes.
11) Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly has been used to give shoes a wonderful shine for decades, but the benefits of applying this product on your shoes, particularly if they are made of leather, are mixed. If you want to use petroleum jelly on a brand-new pair of leather shoes, first try it on an old pair to avoid being startled later.
For the best results, start with a tiny amount of petroleum jelly and end by rubbing the shoes with a clean, dry cloth, as with other techniques of shoe cleaning.
13) Lip Balm
If you have a bunch of half used lip balms lying around, here’s what you can do with them. Instead of throwing them away, wipe a small amount of lip balm into your shoes using a soft cloth. After that, massage the shoe with a clean cloth until you achieve the desired shine on your shoes.
Everyone nowadays wants to recycle, and using lip balm to polish your shoes makes recycling lip balm a lot easier.
14) Baking Soda
Baking soda has so many uses in our homes, it’s not really surprising it works to shine shoes! By making a baking soda paste and rubbing it into your dull leather shoes, you may eliminate dirt and bacteria from your shoes. Allow for five minutes before rinsing and drying in the sun.
15) Vinegar and Linseed Oil
Mix the linseed oil and vinegar in a 2-to-1 ratio before rubbing it on your shoes with this manner. You’ll have a great shine in no time; but, because different materials react differently to this combination, it’s best to test it on a tiny area first before applying it to the entire shoe.
Another disadvantage of using linseed oil is that it takes a long time to work with and can collect mildew on the surface. If you use this procedure, make sure you don’t use too much oil and that the oil is properly wiped out before wearing the shoes. I would try some other alternatives for cleaning shoes without polish first.
16) Walnut/Vegetable Oil
Shine shoes with vegetable oil – who knew? It doesn’t take much walnut or vegetable oil to get your shoes smooth and polished. Simply rub the vegetable oil into your shoes with a soft cloth, but be sure to buff for a long period because the longer you rub with this substance, the shinier your shoes will appear. Once all of the oil has been absorbed, wipe the shoes again with a clean cloth for more shine.
Apply toothpaste to your shoes to restore their whiteness and get rid of scuff marks. You can use a toothbrush, a buffing brush, or a rug to apply the toothpaste. To add shine, buff using a polishing brush or cloth for extra shine.
How to Care for Leather Boots and Shoes
I recommend wearing your leather shoes less seldom than your other shoes to give them a break every now and then, this helps shoes to last longer.
When not in use, avoid storing them in shoe boxes because this prevents them from breathing. Allowing your shoes to absorb moisture from the air allows them to stay hydrated.
The best thing for teating leather is to use a leather conditioner a couple of times per year. This will also assist your leather shoes stay waterproof. While the boot is still damp, condition it straight after using a DIY shoe cleaning.
Bottom Line for Cleaning Shoes Without Polish
Now you know how to clean dress shoes without polish, if ever you find yourself without shoe polish when you need it! If you’re feeling nervous, just pick a natural cleaner and try a few drops on on your shoes and see what happens.
The great thing about all of the above ingredients, is that you will have most of them in your home – walnut oil, banana skin, lemon juice.
There are additional possibilities, but the ways outlined above are a wonderful place to start and should work for almost everyone, regardless of how cautious you are about polishing shoes.
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- How To Clean Loafers
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Grainne Foley is a wife and mother of 2 great kids. During her 5 years of full time RV travel, Grainne learned to become very efficient at household chores, in order to make time for family adventures. Now, back in a house, she has continued to create tools and techniques to help others lighten the load of household organization and cleaning.