How To Make Shoes Shine Like Glass? 5 Easy Steps To Follow

Everyone knows you have high-quality leather shoes if they have a mirror shine.

Hence, feel free to invest your time and effort in giving your footwear this glossy appearance.

The question is how to make shoes shine like glass properly and what tools can help you achieve it successfully. If you need a detailed guide, this post is for you!

Today, we will share some tips for cleaning leather shoes. You can also learn how to choose the best products for your footwear. So let’s read on to discover!

How To Make Shoes Shine Like Glass?

Whereas the surface of the leather may look flawless to the naked eye, this material has an uneven surface with pores and pits forming leather grains.

This unevenness reflects light in many directions, generating unclear reflections and making the material cloudy.

Luckily, you can use hard waxes to fill the grains. They then can create a smoother covering over the leather grains. As a result, the surface of your shoe will gain a glossy appearance.

There are five steps to apply wax on your leather shoes to give them a mirror shine. Let’s check and take some notes.

Step 1: Gather the tools

Make sure you have all the necessary tools at hand. They include:

  • Cotton rags
  • Wax polish
  • Leather cleaner
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Newspaper
  • Shoe trees
  • Horsehair brush

Step 2: Clean the surface

Before cleaning your shoes, remember to unlace them. You need to access every part of the shoe.

Then, insert shoe trees into your shoes so they will be easier to handle. You can also have a firm surface to apply the polish and perform other tasks on the material.

The working space is also important. It would be best to lay paper on the area. Otherwise, the polish will leave a mess after you finish your task.

Now, clean your shoes. They must have their original finish for the clearest shine. Please note that dirt and old polish may get stuck in the new polish, forming a cloudy coating on your shoes.

Hence, clean off the dust, dirt, and debris on your shoes using a horsehair brush. Then, use a damp cloth to remove leftover dust.

You also need to work with the old polish. This task calls for a leather cleaner to dissolve the wax and make it easier to wipe off.

Step 3: Apply the polish

Wrap two fingers with your thin cotton fabric, holding it tight on the front. Then, put some paste polish on your fingertips.

Apply the polish to the heels and toes of both shoes in little dab amounts. Try to cover non-flexing sections with smooth, thin, and even layers of polish.

Add a drop of water to the toe or heel of the shoe. Distribute the polish by dipping your fingertip back into it and using the water to soften and smooth out the layers.

To achieve a smooth base layer, use small circles to distribute the water and wax mixture uniformly. When finished, it shouldn’t look moist, sticky, or cloudy but clean and smooth.

Step 4: Crease cleanup

The creases on your dress shoes have slightly flexed since the last polish because you have worn them many times.

In this case, simply dab the creases with a bit of polish using your fingertips. Make sure to cover those areas and make them look good for the final shine.

Step 5: Apply wax

This step is how you can create a mirror-like shine for your shoes. We will break it down into different parts so you can follow easier:

  • Pick the wax

Wrap a cotton cloth firmly around your finger. A rubber hand may help you here. Then, add one or two drops of water onto your finger and pick a little wax with it.

The key here is to use as little pax as possible. The fresh wax has solvent. And if you apply too much, the wax will need a lot of time to dry, breaking down the solvent and dissolving the polish you have applied to your shoes.

  • Apply the wax

Apply the wax to the area you want to shine like a mirror in short, thin strokes.

This step requires a very gentle touch because you don’t want to remove any partially broken existing polish layers.

Trace the leather’s texture with your fingertip, so it shouldn’t dent from much pressure. You may smooth down the thin coating of wax you’ve done by using rapid, delicate circular motions.

  • Buff the wax

You may notice increasing friction between the wax and your finger when working with the wax.

It gets more complicated for you to proceed with a gentle touch. Moreover, the area may turn cloudy.

But don’t worry because you are doing great. This symptom occurs when the paste has dried. You must keep shaping your wax into smooth layers to solve this problem.

Add some water as lubrication and apply the wax in small circular motions. The more friction, the more water.

Repeat those steps until the cloudy finish disappears. You can see a shine then. Your shoes will become glossier after buffing the polish coats.

You can add more wax until it looks transparent and glossy enough on your shoes. Make sure to apply it in thin layers for the best effect.

  • Let the wax dry

Give the wax 10 to 15 minutes to dry. Patience is essential for mirror shine because rushing to add the next coating will simply stop them from forming correctly.

You might see some water streaks blurring the mirror gloss of your shoes even after you reach the desired level of gloss.

So, after the wax has dried, add some polish to the surface. Don’t forget to run rubbing alcohol on the material in light circles. This tip can help slightly dissolve the outer layer of polish and remove the streaks.

Best Products For Making Your Shoes Shine

You can easily shine your leather shoes using the right products. But what are they, and how to choose the best ones? This section will reveal.

Polishing cloth

You use a polishing cloth to shape your wax polish into an even, reflective layer. The material of the cloth plays a vital role here.

Choosing a towel from an organic material, such as cotton, would be best. Using synthetic fibers may contain hard chemicals that may scratch the leather.

After picking cotton, go for a soft version of it. We recommend flannel due to how finely woven it is. Besides, stay away from coarse knits and weaves, such as canvas, denim, and twill.

A thin fabric gives you more control over the pressure you apply on your shoes. You can also cut cloth from your 100% cotton shirt. It has all the features you need.

Wax shoe polish

The wax polish creates your toe caps‘ flawless, reflective mirror layer. Therefore, it is the most crucial aspect in determining how fast and for how long you produce the mirror shine.

Here are some factors to consider when buying wax polish for your shoes:

  • Wax-to-solvent ratio

A high wax-to-solvent ratio is what you want in wax polishes. These waxes are tougher and drier, making it simpler to shape them into layers that smooth the flaws in leather.

  • Natural agents

You should invest in a high-quality polish containing natural ingredients because you will apply many of them to your leather.

Also, many conventional products have synthetic solvents, silicones, resins, or petroleum-based ingredients. They are too drying for your shoes.

  • Neutral wax

If you wish to preserve the original color of your leather shoes, employ a neutral wax.

Because there will be a lot of wax polish on the surface of the footwear, colored polish pigments will accumulate and somewhat darken the mirror-polished area. Yet, some people do appreciate this darkness.

Buffing brush

You need a good buffing brush to remove dirt and buff basic coats rapidly. It works without harming the leather or losing any shine.

Choose a brush made from natural bristles, such as horsehair, because they are soft enough not to leave scratches on the leather or affect the polish. They can also generate the amount of heat you need to buff the wax.

The bristle density should be high for more effective cleaning, polishing, and puffing.

Brushes with slightly curved handles support natural brushing motions. So prioritize them when shopping for buffing brushes.

Dauber brush

A dauber brush has two main components: a spatula-shaped handle and horsehair bristles. They help you apply polish layers evenly and fast.

The brush can work for other products like cream polish and conditioning cream. As a bonus, your hands can stay clean after working with them.

To choose the best dauber brush for shining your shoes, please follow these tips:

  • Buy a brush that contains natural bristles.
  • Select a brush with a high bristle density, as it helps apply the polish evenly
  • If you have polish in different colors, employ a separate dauber for each. Using the same brush for multiple colors will contaminate them and leave color streaks on your shoes.

Strong leather cleaner

A powerful leather cleaner can dissolve polish, sometimes known as a leather stripper. It helps you create clear and neat foundational layers that prevent cloudy-looking mirror shine.

Check the ingredients of the leather cleaner before buying. Make sure it doesn’t have any harmful substances on your shoes.

Also, the leather cleaner should remove polish layers and debris above the material and not affect the original dye.

It’s necessary to test the product on a small portion of your footwear, such as inside the heel. Then, you can tell if it removes the original dye.

Mild leather cleaner

This cleaner can only work on the topmost wax layers, which often stick up dirt and dust. Using the cleaner, you can eliminate impurities trapped on your leather shoes, giving them a mirror-like look.

The leather cleaner shouldn’t contain any harmful ingredients. Also, choose an easy-to-use product so you can remove as much wax polish as you want.

Shoe trees

Shoe trees reinforce the leather from the inside. You will feel a stable platform on which to polish the leather.

You can pack your shoes with paper. However, using a pair of specially designed shoe trees is far more practical and will also significantly increase the longevity of your footwear.

Select shoe trees with a form that is similar to feet instead of those with generically formed ones. These trees can fit your footwear better, provide a more stable platform for glass shine, and maintain your shoes in good condition.

Shoe trees should also have spring-loaded sections so you can easily adjust them to accommodate different shoe shapes. They will also expand the leather upper more effectively while also providing good support for polishing the footwear.

Unvarnished wood is the best material for shoe trees. They absorb moisture that has leaked into the footwear lining, minimizing the risk of lining rot.

We love shoe trees made of American Red Cedarwood. Aside from common benefits present in many wood varieties, Cedarwood releases a natural pine scent. Hence, it can deodorize your shoes effectively.

How to Polish Shoes Without Polish?

If you don’t have any polish left but want to shine your shoes before an unimportant appointment, the three following alternatives will help.

Petroleum Jelly

Your leather won’t just have a nice shine thanks to the petroleum jelly; it can also aid in relaxing the material and make it much easier to work with.

After cleaning the shoes off dirt and debris, apply a little petroleum jelly to the tops using a cloth to avoid leather cracking.

Don’t wait any longer and more of the jelly than necessary to give your shoes the attention they require.

You can restore most leather shoes to their original, clean shine with just a drop of petroleum jelly.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is the greatest moisturizer and substitute for shoe polish. Your shoes will look brand new if you apply a little oil and let them sit for five minutes.

If you want your footwear to shine more, consider adding a few drops of lemon juice to the oil.

Banana Peel

The potassium content in banana peels is the main ingredient in shoe polish. So if you don’t have polish or want to use natural ingredients, you will like this option the best.

You can rub the inside of the peel on your leather shoes and clean them with a dry soft towel. These simple steps can make your shoes shine better.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does polishing shoes protect them?

Yes. Wax ingredients prevent water, dirt, and other impurities from penetrating the leather. Hence, you can protect your leather shoes from damage like stains and scratches if you polish them.

Moreover, since leather is porous, anything that contacts it will seep in and leave stains. Hence, you need a barrier to prevent external elements from penetrating the fabric.

Besides, your shoes may give you the impression that they are watertight due to their polish, but they are not entirely waterproof.

2. How often should I polish shoes?

Generally, polishing leather shoes once a week is a good idea. How often you use your footwear will, though, affect the exercise.

Polish your shoes every two weeks if you don’t often travel. And if you work from home, polishing the footwear once a month is acceptable.

However, you still need to regularly clean your shoes to get rid of the dust that forms when you store them under your bed.

It will be okay to polish them less often if you use a shoe tree. This wooden tool assists you in keeping your shoes’ size and form by holding them in place as they rest.

3. Can I polish suede shoes or nubuck leather shoes?

You can polish nubuck leather shoes, and there are multiple ways to do it. On the other hand, polishing is not suitable for rough materials like suede.

Suede is porous and extremely dry. When you polish this material, the polish absorbs completely, leaving a permanent stain and changing the color of your shoes.

Cleaning and removing the polish from the suede will be a much more tricky task. So if you still want to use your beautiful suede shoes, never polish them.

On the other hand, you can polish nubuck leather shoes to give them a more impressive look. Here is how to do it:

  • Rub the material with a suede brush.
  • Clean it with a dry cloth and saddle soap.
  • Allow the shoe to dry for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Your suede shoe will be crisp and dry after polishing. You need to spray a nubuck leather protector to soften it.

4. Should I polish my new shoes?

Your new shoes may have less polish than they need and won’t be as shiny. So before wearing new shoes for the first time, we advise polishing them.

Additionally, polishing will leave a thin layer on top of the surface to help shield it from dust, dirt, debris, and moisture.

5. What household items can I use to shine my shoes?

There are tons of household items to shine your shoes on. They can be:

  • Banana peel
  • Vegetable oil
  • Beeswax
  • Lip balm
  • Potatoes
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Body lotion
  • Toothpaste
  • Oregano leaves
  • Nail file
  • Baking soda
  • Corn flour

6. Does olive oil shine shoes?

Olive oil can easily permeate into leather, leaving behind a beautiful, smooth surface that will remain for a long time.

Simply spray a small amount of it over your shoe, set it aside for a few minutes, and wipe your shoes with a soft polishing cloth.

After applying the olive oil, you can add some lemon juice and rub it evenly. This tip will give more shine to your shoes.

This video will show you more tips for applying olive oil to your shoes:


Your shoes can shine like glass if you take the five simple tasks above. Finding the right product for each step would be better to yield the best effect.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you get mirror-like footwear. If you know any interesting tips, don’t hesitate to share them with us. Thank you for reading!

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