How to Clean Shoes

How to clean shoes. How to clean leather shoes? Learn how to shine shoes, how to polish shoes, how to make your shoes last.

How to Clean Leather Shoes

How to clean shoes? First keep them clean and dry – Try to alternate your shoes so you do not have to wear the same pair of shoes everyday. It is always good to give your shoes a day off after a day of use so they have time to breathe. If you make this a habit, your shoes will last you for years.

Shoe Trees – Get shoe trees instead of plastic ficus trees. This is especially important for expensive shoes. Invest in a pair of shoe trees so your shoes remain in shape and always have that fresh look on them.

Get a canvas shoe holder – Your shoes need air in order to last long. Never keep them back in the shoe box or in your closet, where it is damp and stuffy.

How to Shine Shoes

As Russell Smith notes, traditional military methods provide the best shine. Here is an interesting excerpt from his witty book:

There are all kinds of military tricks for instant results, if you are late for parade and need a quick fix, such as rubbing the inside of a banana peel all over your shoe (not recommended, even in affix), or slathering a heavy layer of wax on the shoe and then melting it with a match held close (dangerous: it’s easy to burn the leather).

How to Polish Shoes

How to clean shoes? The only reliable shine is the most labor-intensive one: the old spit and polish method – another great quote from Russell Smith:

This shine builds over weeks of meticulous repetition. It requires old-fashioned wax polish, available in cute little tins at any grocery store (Kiwi brand is still the best). Take a soft shoe cloth, wrap it around your finger, and use it to smear on a generous amount of polish.

Oh no! It looks as if you’ve ruined it – your shoe has gone all dull! No fear; this is only the beginning. You spit – only a little bit – on the mess you’ve made and then start rubbing in tiny circles. This is crucial: tiny circles, not wide swaths. You go over and over the circles you’ve just made until a shine starts to come up. If it doesn’t, spit a little bit more.

You will get to learn, with practice, what exact ratio of spit to polish will bring up the best gloss. If you do it with enough patience, you will not need to brush off excess polish afterward.

You might use an even finer shoe rag – a women’s nylon is particularly effective here – to buff when you are finished. The process takes experimentation, failure, frustration. It takes layer after fine layer, applied week after week. But soon – sooner than you know it – your shoes will be impervious to even salted slush, at least for the duration of the walk between the taxi and the red carpet.

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