How to polish shoes

So you've bought some new leather shoes. Hurah! You'll want to keep them looking great for as long as possible. Aside from keeping them clean(ish) and making sure that you dry them out if they get wet, you'll need to show them a little TLC with a bit of polish. There's a knack to knowing how to polish shoes properly, we won't deny it, but we've rounded up a handy 'how to' guide to help you keep your new shoes shiny.

1. Prep the area with old newspaper so you don’t get polish everywhere. It’s also a good idea to keep a clean rag for your hands in case you get polish on them too!

2. Remove the laces of your shoes – yes, it’s a bit fiddly, but you won’t be able to give them a proper shine with the laces still in, and you don’t want to end up with clumpy bits of polish stuck to them which totally ruins the look of your newly shined shoes.

3. Identify what brushes you’ll need and set them out – if you have black and brown shoes, you’ll need separate brushes for these as you don’t want to mix the polishes across the same brush. Keep everything in one place with a shoe kit so you know where everything is. 

4. Start with using a brush to get rid of any surface dirt on your shoes – we recommend a horsehair brush with stiff bristles. If you have to dampen a cloth to get off some stubborn dirt, let your shoes dry before applying any polish.

5. Start by applying the polish to your shoe – you can chose between wax or creams for your shoes depending on the desired finish – a cream will buff to a moderate shine and a wax is more useful for shoes where they need a bit of added protection (but can still be buffed up to shine!)

6. Apply a small amount of polish to a rag or soft cloth, and with gentle circular motions apply a thin layer of polish over the whole shoe. Try and spread it out evenly, and if you have any excess polish, gently rub this off before you start to shine them. Leave them to sit for about 15 minutes to absorb some of the polish (and you’ll need a rest before the next step!)

7. Take your polishing brush (with large soft bristles this time), and begin brushing your shoe, back and forth using a bit of elbow grease to get a lovely shine to your shoes. You can reapply another layer of polish and repeat this step if you feel your shoes need a bit of extra protection.

8. Ok, nearly there. Take a clean cloth this time and give your shoes a final buff (you know, like how they used to do it in the movies?) Voila! You should have beautifully shined shoes you can walk down the street and be proud of. We recommend that you show your shoes this TLC once a week to keep them in great shape.

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