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How To Make Your Leather Boots Last Longer

How To Take Care Of Leather Boots featured image

If you don't pair of shoes, then you likely know how pleasing it can be to see them shining like a beacon on your shoe rack. To get this shine, you need to polish your boots with dedication and care.

However, it is not easy to polish your shoes to achieve that ethereal shine that we all want. Read this guide to get a better idea of how to polish your boots properly.

How to Shine Your Boots

leather boot image

Prepare Your Boots

The first step in polishing your shoes is to prepare them. To do this, you have to remove excess dust, debris or particles at the surface of the shoes.

A natural horsehair brush is perfect for this purpose. Be cautious when using a synthetic brush because the bristles of synthetic brushes could scratch the surface of your shoes.

It helps to dampen the horsehair bristles very slightly to help remove the particles quicker. Use gentle, back and forth motions to remove these particles before proceeding to the next step.

Apply a Base Coat

This step is required if you are polishing your boots for the first time. If you have already applied a base coat in the past, then this step is not necessary for you.

To apply a good, solid base coat, you need to apply a thick layer of polish using a soft cloth in small, circular motions. Allow this coat to dry for about ten or fifteen minutes before scrubbing it thoroughly with a clean, dry cotton cloth to remove excess polish.

If you don't see a shine yet, don't worry. This stage in the process is only meant to smooth out the leather's bumps and irregularities so you can get that shiny finish later on. Allow the base coat to dry for another five minutes before moving on to the next step.

Polish Your Boots

Once your boots have absorbed the base coat, you can begin the process of polishing them. You can start by wrapping the tips of your index and middle fingers with a soft, clean, and dry cotton cloth and using it to apply small amounts of polish to the surface of your shoes in small, circular motions.

Once done with both shoes, take a new clean cloth and dampen it slightly. Repeat the above process with a damp cloth until you've covered both shoes.

You can repeat the process around six or seven times until you've achieved the degree of shine that you like. Once the polish is dry, you can buff your shoes with a clean, dry cloth.

Dab Your Boots with Water

When done buffing your shoes, you can take a clean cloth, dip it in water to make it slightly damp and rub small, circular motions into your shoes, similar to how you polished them in the previous step.

This helps keep the polish on your shoes longer. Be careful not to use too much water, or you might spoil the finish that you had worked so hard to achieve. Just a few drops of water will do the trick for both boots.

Dry Your Boots

Once your boots are dry from the previous step, you can apply a very tiny amount of polish to the boots in a circular motion. This is basically stepping two on a much smaller scale.

This is where you will start to see the shine that will make your boots visible from miles away. If you are not sure how much to do this step of the process, it should take about ten minutes for your shoes to start gleaming with pride.

Buff Your Boots

You've already done from prior steps, but your boots will need one final buff before use.

Take a fresh piece of cloth, even an old pair of tights will work as long as they're clean and wipe your boots down thoroughly but gently. This step will remove any moisture that might have been left behind on your boots.

Building a Shoe Shine Kit

shoe shine kit image

Tin of Wax Polish

Wax polish is just shoe polish. Any shoe polish you buy from a store is made of wax. It is meant to polish, shine, and waterproof leather shoes and shoes thus extended the life of the footwear.

The best-selling brands of shoe polish in the world are Kiwi, Tana, Johnson, and Reckitt & Coleman. Other leading brands include Kelly's, Shinola, Lincoln Shoe Polish, Meltonian, Angelus, Woly, Salamander, Collonil, and Cherry Blossom.

Horsehair Shine Brush

As we have already mentioned, horsehair brushes are the best for polishing shoes.

Synthetic brushes are available, but they create the risk of scratching the surface of your shoes if you are not careful. Horsehair is enough to do the job, but it is not hard and causes any damage to your shoes.

Of course, you shouldn't use too much force when using a horsehair brush. Doing so can reduce the risk of scratching your shoes by accident.

Shoe Polish Brush (Applicator)

If you are in a hurry and do not have the time to apply polish onto your boots repeatedly, you can get yourself an applicator. This is a device that consists of a hard sponge with polish pre-soaked into it.

You just need to pop the cap open and rub the applicator over the surface of your shoes. You must do it in the same way as you would with a piece of cloth - in small, circular motions.

Cotton Balls

Instead of using a damp cloth for polishing your boots, you can also use cotton balls. They serve the same purpose as a piece of fabric.

However, a damp cloth may be a better option since it is wrapped around your finger while you polish. You may find yourself dropping the ball quite a lot if you use cotton balls for this purpose.

Shine Cloth

A shine cloth is simply a piece of cloth that is cut in such a way as to be neatly wrapped around your fingers firmly and securely while you polish your boots. They make the job a whole lot easier because they will not fall out of your hands when you are not paying attention.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a mirror shine?

Getting that clean mirror shine takes time and patience. When you are applying polish after the base coat is done, you should apply and reapply several coats of polish. As you keep doing this, you will start to notice a shine gradually forming on the surface of your boots. It is up to you when you should stop polishing.

What home remedy can I use to polish my boots?

There are several home remedy alternatives that you can use to shine your shoes as effectively as regular shoe polish like vinegar and petroleum jelly. These products give the same results as shoe polish and are perfect if you have run out of polish and didn't have time to go to the store.

Here are some:

  • Vegetable oil or olive oil

First, damp a piece of cloth to dust off dirt on the shoe. Then, Drop a small amount of vegetable oil and polish the shoes by rubbing the exterior surface to get that shine back.

  • Banana peel

Hmm, it might sound strange, but hey, it works! Using the inside of the banana's skin, rubbing it just like a regular commercially produced shoe polish, then again rub it off using a clean cloth to achieve that shine.

  • Petroleum jelly

On a clean piece of cloth, use a dab of petroleum jelly to shine your shoes. This process will also help your leather shoes to soften and prevents it from cracking.

  • Vinegar and Linseed Oil

After removing off the dirt on the shoes, prepare a solution made of 1 part vinegar and two parts linseed oil. Spray it evenly on the shoes and then in a circular motion, rub off the solution onto the shoes.

How do I shine my shoes fast?

If you are in a hurry, there are some things you can do to polish your shoes quickly and efficiently. The first thing is to use an applicator. With an applicator, all you have to do is give your shoes a once over, and you're done. If you don't like using applicators, you can make do with one layer of polish and a quick buff.

What is the best black shoe polish?

The quality of the shoe polish itself is the most important factor in getting the mirror shine that will make your shoes stand out in the crowd. Some of the best brands of shoe polish on the market are Kiwi, Meltonian, Lincoln, Tarrago, Shinola, Allen Edmonds, Collonil, and Saphir.


So if you have been polishing your shoes but not getting the results that you wanted, then this article should help you get started and achieve that mirror shine.

So get your polishing kit together and get your shoes shining bright!

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