How to Shine Shoes Without Polish: Home Remedies

Are your shoes looking a little dull and worn? Have you just gone to the cupboard to find you have no polish to clean them? No need to worry – you’re not out of luck!

We can help with our guide on how to shine shoes without polish.

We’ll detail some of the things you can find in your home to help polish shoes. We are also happy to share our step-by-step guide on how to make your own polish.


What is a Substitute for Shoe Polish?

Many everyday items you find in your kitchen or bathroom can be used to polish shoes. Here are some of them and how to use them.

1. Olive Oil Shoe Polish

olive oil for Shine Shoes Without Polish

Reach for the pantry and grab your bottle of olive oil. It’s not just good for cooking and salads; it can also shine your shoes.

What You Need

  • Olive oil.
  • A few soft cloths.
  • Warm water.

What You Do

  1. Using a cloth and warm water, remove any dirt and dust from your shoes.
  2. Take a clean cloth and apply a small amount of olive oil.
  3. Rub it all over your shoes.
  4. Leave it for a few minutes to soak into the leather.
  5. Buff to a shine with a soft cloth



  • Other oils in your cupboard could work just as well. You could try using vegetable oil or walnut oil as a natural shoe polish. Coconut oil shoe polish is another option.
  • For a higher shine finish add a few drops of lemon juice to the olive oil before applying.
  • Patch test first in an inconspicuous area to make sure it won’t change the color of your shoes.

This video shows you how to shine your shoes with olive oil.


2. Banana Peel Shoe Polish

banana for Shine Shoes Without Polish

Eat your banana for breakfast and then use the skin to shine your shoes.

What You Need

  • Banana skin.
  • Soft cloth.

What You Do

  1. Take your banana skin and rub the inside (white part) of it over your shoes.
  2. Take a soft cloth or a tissue and clean it off.
  3. Use a fresh cloth to buff your shoes to a shine.

This video shows you shoes being shined with a banana skin.


3. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can be used instead of water to get that military quality high shine you’re looking for. Use some on your dull shoes to restore their luster.

What You Need

  • Rubbing alcohol.
  • Cotton balls.
  • Soft cloth.

What You Do

  1. Remove any dirt or dust from your shoes with a soft damp cloth.
  2. Soak a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol.
  3. Using small circular motions, rub it all over your shoes.
  4. Use a soft cloth to buff your shoes to a shine.


4. Shine Shoes with Petroleum Jelly

Check your bathroom cabinet and see if you have some petroleum jelly. This can be used to shine your shoes.

What You Need

  • Petroleum Jelly.
  • Soft cloth.

What You Do

  1. Make sure your shoes are free from dirt and dust.
  2. Using a cloth, apply petroleum jelly all over your shoes.
  3. Rub it in using a circular motion.
  4. Take a clean cloth and remove any excess while buffing to a shine.



Test on a small area that can’t be seen first to make sure it won’t impact the color of the leather.


Other Forms of DIY Shoe Polish

oil for Shine Shoes Without Polish

We’ve listed some of our favorite solutions above. There are some other products you can find around the home that can also work to shine your shoes:

  • Linseed oil and vinegar: Mix two parts linseed oil to one part vinegar and apply it to your shoes. Buff to a shine with a soft cloth.
  • Beeswax: Heat some beeswax until it’s soft and apply it to your shoes with a cloth. Buff it to a shine. This can also help condition leather, keeping it supple.
  • Hair gel: Apply a small amount of this hair product with a cloth then rub it to a shine.
  • Lip balm: Maybe you have some lip balms which are not quite empty. Use them on your shoes by applying and then buffing with a soft cloth.
  • Toothpaste: For white leather shoes, apply some toothpaste with a soft brush and then buff to bring up a shine.


How To Make Homemade Shoe Polish

how to make homemade Shine Shoes Without Polish

Are you worried about what chemicals your store-bought shoe polish might contain? Why not make your own and control what goes into it.

What You Need

  • A heatproof bowl.
  • A saucepan.
  • Water.
  • Olive oil.
  • White beeswax.
  • Empty jar or container.
  • Black or brown oxide (optional).

What You Do

  1. Fill your saucepan with about two inches of water.
  2. Place your heat resistant bowl on top.
  3. Put the pan on the stovetop and bring the water to simmer on a low to medium heat.
  4. Measure out about three ounces of olive oil and one ounce of white beeswax.
  5. Add both to the bowl and stir until the beeswax has melted. Make sure they are well combined.
  6. At this point, you can add about one and a half teaspoons of ground brown or black oxide. This will enhance the color of brown or black shoes if that’s where you intend to use the polish.
  7. Pour the molten wax and oil into a small container.
  8. Leave the mixture to harden before use. This should take about an hour.
  9. Use the polish as you would any other by applying with a soft cloth and then buffing to a shine.


Pro Tips

  • If you want added shine, you can use half beeswax and half carnauba wax.
  • If you plan to use the polish on many different colored shoes, do not add any oxide. Leave the wax its natural color.
  • Empty candle tins or small glass jars are good for storing your polish.


Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Shine Fake Leather Shoes?

Most of the home remedies we have outlined can be used on faux leather shoes. Another way you could shine them would be to use some glass cleaner. Give them a light spritz and then buff to a shine.


Are There any Natural Polish Alternatives to Shine Shoes?

If you want a really natural shoe polish, you can turn to your garden. The flowers of the Hibiscus plant contain an oil that can be used to shine shoes. Rub the petals over your shoes and then shine them with a cloth.

How to make Shine Shoes Without Polish


What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Shoe Polish?

All of the suggestions we have made give you an alternative to shoe polish. Just go check out your pantry or bathroom cabinet and see what you can find. Not having shoe polish at home doesn’t mean you can’t have shiny shoes.


Get Buffing

We have offered you many different household and natural remedies for how to shine shoes without polish. Now you can try them and see how they work for you. Dull shoes will become a thing of the past, and yours will always shine.

We hope you enjoyed our guide and found it useful and informative. Please leave us a comment with your experiences; we would love to hear how you get on. Don’t forget to share so your friends an family can have shiny shoes too.



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