How To Shine Shoes Without Polish
Alternatives To Shoes Polish
We’ve all been there. Running late for an important business meeting or formal event, reaching for our shoes only to discover they’re scuffed and dirty. Not to worry, a quick coat of shoe polish will brighten them up, but – disaster! – you’ve run out! Thankfully, there are plenty of everyday items that do a great job of polishing shoes and you probably already have most of them in your kitchen or vanity cabinet at home.
So, whether you’ve just run out of shoe polish or are looking to reduce the number of products in your home, check out our top tips for how to shine shoes without polish.
1. Olive Oil & Lemon
Although many oils are great for shining shoes, olive oil is widely recognized as the best moisturizer and shoe polish alternative. Simply sprinkle or spray a little onto your leather shoes, leave for 5 minutes, then buff with a dry, soft cloth. Add a few drops of lemon juice to enhance the shine.
2. Coconut Oil
Another excellent oil for shining shoes (although, as mentioned, nearly any type of plant-based oil will do) is coconut oil. Rub the coconut oil all over your shoes then buff off for a sophisticated look. Don’t use this method if you live in a cold climate, however, as coconut oil can clump in the cold and leave an ugly white mess on your shoes that will be difficult to remove!
If you’re anything like us, shining your shoes will be the last thing you do before you walk out the door! When you’re out of shoe polish, utilizing the banana you had for breakfast is one of our favorite alternatives. All you need to do is rub the inside of the banana peel over your shoes and buff off the excess for smart, shiny shoes that nobody would suspect had been polished with garbage!
4. Rubbing Alcohol
A tiny bit of rubbing alcohol applied gently to your shoes can do wonders for increasing the shine and overall appearance of your leather shoes. Just remember to test it on a small area first and allow it to dry before buffing.
5. Oregano Leaves
Not the dried ones in your herb cabinet. Proper fresh oregano leaves can make an excellent shoe polish and also contain special anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agents to keep your shoes looking and smelling better for longer.
6. Hair Gel
If you’re bothered by shiny shoes, we’re going to take it for granted that you probably have a pot of hair gel hidden somewhere in your vanity cabinet! Don’t be coy. Use this to your advantage when your shoes are looking a little lackluster and apply a little hair gel to the shoes before rubbing with a clean, soft cloth for a radiant shine.
7. Lip Balm / Petroleum Jelly
Another vanity cabinet hero, you’ll be pleased you never got around to throwing out your nearly-empty lip balms the next time you run out of shoe polish, as these can be applied to leather shoes, rubbed in with a soft cloth, and buffed with a rag to allow your shoes to shine. Just be careful not to use too much, as the benefits vs. risks of using petroleum jelly on leather shoes are still widely debated.
Beeswax is actually one of the ingredients of some of the oldest forms of shoe polish, so we can be pretty confident it’ll still work today! Simply heat the wax until it’s soft and apply it to the shoes, rubbing with a soft cloth before buffing for a shiny new look. The wax will also condition the leather, so it’s a two-in-one!
One of the most natural ways to shine shoes without polish, the hibiscus flower contains all sorts of cleaning agents to help you shine your leather shoes. All you need to do is rub the flower over your shoes, clean it off with a cloth, then buff away. Easy!
Although this is only really suitable for white shoes, we thought toothpaste was still worth including in our list as it’s so good for getting out scuffs. Just rub a little into the marks with a soft brush then buff with a rag for brand-new looking shoes in seconds.
How to Shine Shoes Properly
Whether you’re using proper shoe polish or one of our convenient alternatives, to get the best finish, it’s worth following these simple steps when polishing your shoes.
Remember, all shoes should be clean and dry before polishing, and it’s worth doing a small spot-test before polishing the whole shoe to be sure you’ll get the results you want.
- Place the shoes on top of old newspapers to prevent stains and remove the laces
- Dab a cotton ball in the solution you’ve chosen to use (oil, vinegar, or jelly)
- Rub the cotton ball all over the shoes in small, circular motions
- Use a clean, soft cloth or rag to wipe/buff your shoes and remove any excess polish
- Allow the shoes to dry