How Often To Polish Shoes? (Detailed Guide)

How Often To Polish Shoes

Shoes are man’s best friends. And just as they look shiny when new, it is necessary to care for them to maintain their lifespan and luster. But, only polishing the shoes with a brush does not suffice. Good quality shoes require deep nourishing and maintenance to make sure that the polish has been applied properly and that it does not cause harm to your shoes.

If the polish is not applied properly, using proper techniques and measures, then it can deteriorate the quality of your shoes. In fact, it can make them look wrinkly and not offer good protection either.

Therefore, we have addressed common questions when it comes to polishing shoes. Additionally, we have also come up with a step-by-step guide on how to polish and maintain your shoes perfectly for best results and shine. Read on to find out!


Why do you need to polish and condition leather shoes?

Leather is a very classy yet very sensitive material and hence, needs to be handled with care. This is because the leather making process is not very easy, due to which regular maintenance and conditioning are very essential. Polishing and conditioning them regularly helps your leather shoes last longer and does not let them deteriorate.

Also, leather is a naturally obtained material that requires proper conditioning and nourishment to maintain its quality and luster. While making leather shoes, it goes through several processes like tanning and finishing stages. During leather tanning, most of the fat and oils that occur in the leather naturally are extracted. Whereas in the finishing stage, the oils and fats are restored to give leather its finishing touch and shine.

However, with regular wear and tear, these shoes lose their elements and nourishment required to make them last longer. Due to this, leather becomes brittle and scaly, and the material starts wrinkling. If you don’t polish or condition your leather shoes, they are also prone to tearing easily and don’t last long enough, looking old and dull.

Therefore, while investing in any good quality shoes, be it leather, suede, or canvas, proper maintenance, and care are essential. For which you must own a comprehensive shoe care set. Following routine care and nourishment for your shoes not only makes them look better but also makes them last longer.

Polishing and conditioning leather shoes are part and parcel of buying and maintaining them. Read on further to know how to polish and care for your leather shoes.


Difference Between Polishing And Conditioning

Polishing And Conditioning

Polishing and Conditioning are essential aspects of shoe care. But, it is necessary to understand the difference between the two routines for your boots for the best results.

Conditioning is not the same as polishing. Often, fans of leather shoes think that polishing shoes also condition them, which is not true. Some good quality shoe polishes may contain lubricants, conditioning agents, and oil, which nourish the boots, but polishing gives that added shine and prevents your shoes from cracking.

It is recommended that you follow both for the best results and to let your shoes last longer. But polishing is recommended especially if you are attending an occasion and want your shoes to look shiny and classy.

Conditioning becomes a necessary aspect, whereas polishing can be subject to your need for the moment. Nevertheless, a little polishing to your shoes does not harm and only adds to your dapper looks, giving your shoes a neat overall appearance.


Advantages of Polishing Shoes

Just as we take care of our skin and make sure to keep it nourished if it feels dry or rough, similarly, we need to take care of our shoe material. Talking about shoes that need regular polishing, leather is a material obtained from live animals and hence is subject to drying easily. It can end up losing its moisture and oils, which is why it requires special attention. Just like our skin, leather also consists of open pores, which get clogged by dust particles. Regular polishing ensures that these particles are removed and that the quality of the shoes remains intact.

A few advantages of polishing shoes are:

  • Preserves the nourishment of shoes
  • It keeps them shining and crack free
  • Retains their newness and looks
  • Makes them durable
  • Prevents the entry of dust particles in the leather pores


Components of shoe care set

You can think of investing in different shoe care products individually based on your needs. However, a shoe care kit comes with the basic essentials you need and is customized based on the type of shoes you own. Certain shoe manufacturers make their shoe care kits highly recommended for best care and cleaning results.

But, if you are new to the concept of shoe care and want the best for your shoes, then here are a few essentials that you should own for ideal care:


A stiff brush:

stiff brush

A stiff brush cleans all the dust and lose particles that linger on the surface of your shoes. Usually, a stiff brush is made of boar bristles or oxtail hair, or horsetail hair. These are gentle on your shoe surface, and make sure there are no scratches while brushing.


A separate applicator brush:

You want to make sure you don’t mess your hands while applying shoe polish or shoe cream. This is why we recommend a separate applicator brush for each application. Be it a shoe polish of different color, or any wax or cream; if you mix the brush and use a common applicator for everything, you may not get the desired results.


A black or brown wax cream:

brown wax cream

This is necessary in the case of leather shoes. Wax makes sure that your shoes have a good shine while not allowing water or dirt sticking on their surface. Black or brown are standard colors, and hence owning a wax cream of these colors can prove to be quite handy.


Colorless Waterproofing solution:

Colorless Waterproofing solution

If you plan to tread out with your leather shoes during the rains, make sure to waterproof them. There are special waterproofing coats available for shoes that act as good protectants during the rainy season.


Leather sole oil:

Often, the sole of leather shoes may start to bite you around the corners of your feet, or the shoe may feel uncomfortable after long hours of use. To make the edges soft and easier to wear, sole leather oil ensures the sole remains intact and lasts longer. Alongside, it feels comfortable to wear too.


Polishing brush:

Lastly, a brush or polishing cloth specifically meant for polishing shoes is a must. Ensure the bristles are soft, or the cloth fibers are made of cotton, not causing any scratches on the shoe surface.

How Often to Polish Shoes?

There is no such specific number of times that you need to polish your shoes. It solely depends upon your usage and shoe exposure to the environment. If you are a rough user and use them almost every day, you need to polish them once or twice a week. Also, if they are exposed to any muddy areas or dirty surfaces, then it becomes a must to clean them with a cloth first and then polish them.

But, if you use your shoes in a very refined area where it has no chances of being exposed to anything dirty, then polishing them once in two weeks will also suffice. Additionally, if they are not used, then shining them once a month is good to make sure they haven’t dried out and are not covered in dust.

Even if you are not polishing your shoes, make sure to clear off the dust and dirt from their surface, often using a brush. Don’t allow the dust to settle on the leather pores and clog the shoe surface.


How to Polish Shoes Perfectly?

How to Polish Shoes Perfectly

We believe that shoes require a good amount of care and pampering before you polish them, condition them and clean them to perfection. Polishing should be given some good amount of time, for the best results.

Especially when it’s leather shoes that require the utmost care, following a few steps before you actually apply the polish will give you the best results over time and make your shoes last longer.

We have given a step by step procedure for you to polish your shoes to perfection:

  • Remove the shoelaces if there are any.
  • Use a brush made of horsehair (since it has soft bristles) and remove any dirt or dust from the surface of the shoe.
  • Use a dry cloth or rag and spray some alcohol or nail polish remover over it.
  • Wipe off the shoes using this cloth to remove all the excess shoe polish and dirt settled in the pores of the shoes.
  • Make sure to not run too hard with the cloth else it may cause discoloration and spoil your shoes. Just wipe gently or dab if necessary.
  • The next step is to rejuvenate the leather. This helps the leather soak in and absorb the polish better. For rejuvenation, you can use either a shoe conditioner or mink oil.
  • To apply the mink oil or shoe conditioner, use a small piece of cotton cloth and wrap it around your index finger and middle finger. Dip the fingers in the conditioner or mink oil, a small drop is enough, and rub it in gentle circles on the shoe surface.
  • Once done applying over the shoe, allow the shoes to dry for 15-20 minutes to soak in the mink oil properly and nourish the shoes.
  • Now comes the main part, which is polishing the shoes. You can use an applicator brush for this. Take a small amount of cream-based polish on your brush and start applying from the below portion. If it forms a very dark patch on the leather, then you may want to reduce the quantity of polish and gently rub the polish over the entire shoe area.
  • Make sure to not cake on the polish and apply the polish very carefully especially for light-colored shoes.
  • Allow the shoes to dry for 20 minutes after applying the first coat.
  • Now, wrap another cotton cloth around your fingers (index and ring finger) and use wax-based polish for the second coat. Wax makes sure the shoes don’t dry up and remain moisturized.
  • Do not press too hard but you want the shoe surface to look smooth for which, you can cover the open pores on the shoes with polish.
  • Wait for some time after applying over the entire shoe. By some time, we mean a few hours or even overnight depending on the shoe polish you have used.
  • Finally, use the same cloth and dip the fingers in a bowl of water. Just take a small drop of water and dip it again in the wax polish. Rub it uniformly over the shoes for a smooth finish and shine. This covers the creases and makes your shoes appear shiny while also making sure the shoes don’t get dry and cracked up


Is too much polish bad for shoes?

There are several theories to back this idea of whether too much polish is good or bad for your shoes. Ideally, too much of anything is not good, but too much polish won’t harm your shoes excessively either. In return, it will give it some additional shine which would make your shoes look glossy.

On the other hand, if your shoe has some wrinkles and creases on its surface, then too much polish will accumulate within the creases and spoil the shoes. While cleaning and conditioning, you would have nothing but polish scraps coming off on your hand which can end up spoiling your shoes if nothing.

These layers of polish are not formed at once, but with months of accumulation. They can also leave stains on your shoes and come off as scaly patches if too much polish has accumulated.

Ideally, we would suggest that a thinner coat is better for every day or for weekly use. A thin coat will neither cause too much accumulation and won’t cause any harm to the shoes either. You get the desired level of shine as well as protect your shoes.


Should I polish new shoes?

Yes! Be it new or old, polishing them to bring back the shine is a must. Especially, when they are just out of the store shelf or display at the store, they have years of dust accumulated inside them. Shoe polishing makes sure these dust particles are cleaned while maintaining the luster and newness of the shoes for a long time.


Will polishing make my shoes waterproof?

Not necessarily. If you polish them almost every day or once or twice every week, then the leather remains protected and you can ensure that your shoes are safe. However, if you use them regularly and expose them to water without polishing frequently, then your shoes are subject to spoiling very easily. In fact, leather shoes should be kept away from water as much as possible.

Be it polishing or not polishing, leather and water don’t go quite well. Moreover, the ideal function of shoe polish is to clean and make your shoes shine, not waterproof them. For waterproofing, you can use a specific waterproofing cream or solution over your shoes that prevent water from settling on your shoe’s surface.


Can I wear my shoes immediately after polishing them?

Most shoe polishes these days offer a lot more than just polishing. They also nourish and moisturize your shoes, retaining the nutrients and quality of the shoes. Therefore, the best time to polish your shoes is at night and then use them the next morning. That ways, the shoes get enough time to absorb all the nutrients and moisture that the polish has to offer and they look fresh to kickstart your day.

If you wear your shoes immediately after polishing them, the shoes don’t get enough time to absorb these nutrients and may end up wearing out sooner.


Take Away

Polishing is a part of routine care and maintenance for your shoes. Especially, when it comes to good quality shoes made of materials like suede or leather, then it is necessary to polish them with utmost care.

Therefore, we decided to give you a detailed guide on polishing your shoes to perfection that ensures your shoes last longer and shine better. Additionally, we have addressed some common concerns when it comes to polishing shoes to retain their quality and shine.

We understand how important shoes are for your style which is why our article above will help you polish them to perfection. Read on and let us know if you managed to get that perfect shine on your shoes through the comments section below.

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