Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)


Friday, March 19, 2010

How to Shine Shoes

How to Shine Shoes

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
A well dressed man should have a clean shirt, pressed trousers, a haircut, and unscuffed shoes. It takes just a few minutes to shine them yourself, with little expense or effort.


  1. Gather your shoe shining supplies (see the Things You'll Need section below). Visit a drug store, a shoe store or shoe repair shop, and stock up. Buy liquid and wax shoe polish in the color of your shoes. Wax takes a bit longer to use, but it gives a much better finish and a higher shine.
  2. Brush the shoe briskly to remove any loose dirt.
  3. Apply the polish. If using the liquid shoe polish, glide it over the shoe. When using the can of wax polish, a puff is included inside the can for you to use. Apply the polish in circular motions till the shoe looks cloudy.
  4. Let the shoe dry.
  5. Brush the shoe with the larger brush in a side-to-side fast action. Make sure you shine the entire shoe, sides and back also.
  6. Buff the shoe with the soft cloth on the front in a brisk back and forth motion, until it shines. Do the same with the back of the shoe. The sides are more difficult, so use a brisk wiping motion with one hand instead. When both shoes are buffed, set them in front of you and see how nice they look.
  7. Put all your shoe shining supplies in one location, preferably in a box that holds them neatly together, so that everything's ready for the next time.
Spit Shine Method This uses polish, water, shoes, and a cotton t-shirt.
  1. Add a little bit of water to the cloth and clean the shoes of dirt and old polish residue.
  2. Apply a drop of water and a tap of polish to the rag and spread in a circular motion, evenly coating the dry shoe.
  3. Once the polish has been added, gently massage the shoe with a damp cloth.
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 several times. Be sure to be gentle, and patient.


  • Another way you can shine shoes in a pinch is with a banana.
  • If you have many shoes of various colors, you might want to purchase neutral polish instead of investing in so many colors.
  • In between polishing the shoes, a quick brushing will restore the shine and remove the dust and grime that accumulates when walking.
  • Use the wax for a heavier shine, and in between the liquid will do. The wax preserves the shoes, and will not allow the rain to spot them.
  • You can achieve an even better shine with most waxes by applying them with a wet cotton ball or bit of cotton waste, squeezed almost dry. With the harder waxes (Kiwi, for example) an adequate finish can then be achieved with the brush alone. Softer ones require the buffing cloth and spit-shining--which really isn't worth the trouble once you've mastered the cotton ball method. On well-maintained shoes, a good shine can take as little as three or four minutes.
  • Use matching liquid shoe polish on the outside and upper soles of the shoes as well as the leather heels.
  • Shoe polishes contain alcohol. Leather is no different than your skin. If you put alcohol on it, the alcohol will dry it out and continual use will lead to cracking. There is more alcohol in liquid and hard waxes than in creme polishes, so use accordingly.
  • Polishes build up on leather (and may cause a haze to develop) so it is best to occasionally use a saddle soap and leather conditioner to clean the leather.
  • Silicone sponges used continually instead of polishes can build up and cause a haze to develop. Use only on trips or occasionally.


  • Shoe polish is messy, so put down some newspaper to protect the surface under your shoe shining effort
  • This technique is effective for basic good looking shoes, but for a real "hard" or "military" shine, using a brush and buffing cloth will actually make your shoes worse. A hard shine can only be achieved by spit-shining (more often water than spit as spit is bad for the polish) or fire shining.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid or wax polish
  • Brush
  • Soft cloth
  • Storage box for supplies

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Shine Shoes. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter


Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at


The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.

The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.

Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.

Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.

Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email to request permission.

Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.

Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.

Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.