How Do I Shine My Shoes?

Explains how to shine leather shoes using traditional methods and tools. Also provides instructions on how to care for shoes made from different materials.

Shining your shoes on a routine basis is a process that you should perform in order to prolong the life of your shoes. Typically, you should shine your shoes at least once a week to enhance their appearance and extend their wear.

The basic rule for shining leather shoes is that the shoes should be thoroughly dry before beginning the cleaning and shining process. If your shoes are wet, they will not be able to absorb the shoe creams properly and you will not be able to polish them correctly. Additionally, the shoes will have a dull finish if polished when wet. When cleaning and polishing your shoes, you will need a standard set of tools. These tools include the following:

-A coarse brush that is specifically made for removing dirt from shoes. This type of brush can be purchased in a shoe or variety store. Note that this brush type features a scraping edge on one side of it that is used to remove stubborn dirt from the shoes.



-Several clean cloths to remove dust and dirt.

-Shoe creams that match the colors of your shoes. Make sure that the creams contain a wax additive that will repel water from the shoes. Additionally, do not use creams that contain acrylic additives because these additives tend to form deposits on leather shoes and will cause the leather to crack.

-An application brush or cloth used to apply the shoe cream.

-A soft, yet thick, bristle brush to perform final shoe polishing.

To begin cleaning your shoes, take a shoe and use the coarse brush to remove any excess dirt and dust from the shoe. If there are any heavy deposits of dirt or mud on the shoe, use the brush's scraping edge to remove the caked-on dirt. Once all surface dirt has been eliminated, take a clean cloth and remove any remaining residue. Do not place any water on the cloth, or on the shoe, to remove the dirt. Next, take the application brush/cloth and dip it lightly into the shoe cream. Apply the show cream to the shoe, in an even coat, making sure that it covers the whole shoe including any crevices. It is important that the cream be applied as close as possible to the shoe's sole. If the color of the sole differs from the shoe's body, avoid getting the cream on the sole. Otherwise, if the shoe's body and sole are the same color, apply the cream on the sole as well. After the cream is applied, set the shoe aside to allow the cream to soak into the shoe. This process should take approximately 10-15 minutes.

Once the allotted time has passed, take the soft brush and start polishing the shoe. To polish a shoe, place your hand in the shoe and swiftly brush the shoe back and forth using quick, yet firm, strokes. You will know when the shoe is polished when its finish changes from dull to shiny. Because you are removing shoe cream from a shoe as you are polishing it, it is important that you use separate soft polishing brushes for each color of shoes that you have. Not using separate brushes causes the colors to mix resulting in discoloration of your shoes. After you have polished your shoe with the brush, check it for any streaks that may remain. To remove these streaks, take another clean cloth and rub them on the streaks to remove them from the shoe. The polishing process is complete.

This shoe cleaning and polishing process may differ for shoes made from leather variations as well as for shoes made from other materials. For example, patent leather shoes usually require only a good cloth cleaning to remove any dirt from them and to create a shine. Meanwhile, shoes made from suede usually require special suede cleaning brushes and solutions in order to clean them properly. Finally, for cloth, plastic and rubber shoes, plain soap and water can be used to remove surface dirt. Once cleaned, however, these shoe types must be allowed to dry before wearing.

It is important to take care of your shoes by cleaning and polishing them properly. By doing so, your shoes will look brand new and you will be prolonging their life indefinitely.

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