How to Make Your Own Shoe Polish

Homemade Shoe Polish. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Polished shoes look great and last longer. Here's how to make a top-rate shoe polish from things that you already have at home:


  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice


1. Combine one part lemon juice with two parts olive oil to form a polish.

2. Use a clean cloth to rub a small amount of the polish into your shoes. Then, allow it to soak in for a few minutes.

3. Buff with another cloth, and enjoy your shiny shoes!

Benefits of Using Homemade Shoe Polish:

  • inexpensive
  • chemical-free
  • environnmentally-friendly
  • all-natural

Tips and Warnings:

1) Apply to clean, dry shoes. You definitely don't want to lock in dirt and stains by coating them with polish, so take the time to give your shoes a good cleaning first.

2) Polish your shoes monthly, or as needed, to extend the life of your leather shoes. This will keep the leather from splitting.

3) Cheap olive oil works just as well as more expensive grades.

4) This recipe is intended for leather -- not suede. Applying oil to suede will result in stains.

Other Ways to Polish Leather Shoes (Without Buying Polish)


  • A Banana Peel - Use the inside of a banana peel to shine your shoes. Just rub the peel over your leather shoes, and the oils in the peel will restore your shoes to their original polish. Toss the peel in your compost afterwards, and there won't be any waste.
  • Homemade Shoe Paste - If you polish your shoes often, consider making your own can of shoe paste to replace the store-bought version. Just melt equal parts beeswax, a solid oil (like cocoa butter) and a liquid oil (like olive oil) over a double boiler, and pour it into an empty container. Allow it to harden fully. Then, it's ready to use. Just work it into your shoes; wipe off the excess; and then you're good to go again. The oil will condition and polish your shoes, while the beeswax will add a protective coating to protect against water, salt and any other grime you come into contact with.

                  Buy Beeswax on Amazon

    Deodorize Stinky Shoes

    While you're busy sprucing up your shoes, it may be time to deodorize them, too. There are two easy ways to accomplish this. You can stick your shoes outside for a few hours, and let the sun work its sanitizing magic on them, or you can simply sprinkle baking soda inside them; leave it for a little while; then, come back and shake it out.

    Extend the Life of Your Shoes

    Try not to wear your shoes two days in a row, if you can avoid it. Allowing your shoes time to breathe and dry out between uses will make them last a lot longer. 

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