how to Clean Dress Shoes Without Polish

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.

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 may still look fantastic in your shoes without exposing yourself to harmful chemicals. Natural medicines and everyday household products can be used as shoe polish substitutes.

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How To Clean Dress Shoes

Body Lotion

With a small ball of cotton, apply any type of body lotion onto your shoes, and it doesn’t take many lotions to get outstanding results. Similar to other shoe-shine products, you should always buff the shoes to a high shine with a clean, an old t-shirt or soft polishing cloth in small circular motions.

Most individuals have body lotion on hand, and if you’re using it to polish the surface of the shoe, it doesn’t matter which kind you use because they all have the same effect.

Coconut Oil

Leather shoes respond best when you dab a little coconut oil onto a piece of cotton and rub it into the shoes, much like other forms of oil. You also 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 clean 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 accompany you around for the rest of the day.

Banana Peel

This one is a little out of the ordinary, but it works. Remove the banana and rub the inside of the peel against your shoes. After that, use a soft cloth or a tissue to clean away any excesses. After that, rub the black shoes with a clean rag or a paper towel to make them shinier.

Some people dislike this method since there is usually a little banana left within the skin, but it is an economical and effective method that is also simple.

Hair Gel

The nicest thing about using hair gel to polish your shoes is that you only need a small quantity. 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 gel is blue or green, don’t panic; the colour 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.

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, 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.

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. 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.

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 rag 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.

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 alcohol in small circles with a small cotton ball until you achieve the desired shine. After that, use a clean, soft rag 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.

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.

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, soft rag until you achieve the desired shine.

Everyone nowadays wants to recycle, and using lip balm to polish your shoes makes recycling lip balm a lot easier.

Baking Soda

By making a baking soda paste and rubbing it into your fabric shoes, you may eliminate dirt and bacteria from your shoes. Allow for five minutes before rinsing and drying in the sun.

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.

Walnut/Vegetable Oil

It doesn’t take much walnut or vegetable oil to get your shoes smooth and polished. Simply rub the 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

Wear your leather shoes only seldom. Giving them a day off now and then will help your shoes 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.

To keep your shoes looking sharp, 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

The preceding guide on how to shine your shoes should be sufficient to get you started with polishing your shoes at home. Although it may appear frightening at first, learning how to shine shoes is actually rather simple especially since you most likely have warm water and many of the ingredients listed above at home at all times, if you do not have any shoe cream and a shoe brush.

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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