16 Home Remedies for Restoring & Protecting Shoes

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Every time you wear your shoes, their appearance takes a small blow. Shiny shoes become dull with time. Scuff marks attack leather and patent-leather footwear. Stains, salt and other elements can cause discoloration. Before your shoes get to the point of needing repair or a replacement, you may want to get familiar with home remedies for restoring and protecting shoes.

Home Remedies for Restoring_Protecting Shoes

Shoe Restoration & Protection Home Remedies

Just because your shoes have a few scuff marks or the winter slush has soaked through your boot, doesn’t mean it’s time to go shopping. There is still hope to rescue your shoes from damage and frequent use. Home remedies for protecting and restoring shoes can help lengthen the life of your favorite footwear. A few popular methods include:

a) Olive Oil:

You can revamp leather shoes by conditioning the material with olive oil.

b) Shampoo:

Restore your leather shoes by rubbing in a small amount of shampoo into the worn circles to clean and enhance the color in some cases. This remedy will also protect your leather footwear from salt stains.

c) Potato [1]:

When shoes look too old to wear, but you don’t want to give up – try revamping the scuffed marks by cutting a potato in half and rub down with the raw side of the vegetable. Follow up with a polish of the shoes, and you should see a renewed shine.

d) Nail Polish Remover:

Restore a pair of patent-leather or light-colored vinyl shoes by using nail polish remover to remove scuff marks. Gently yet briskly use a soft cloth or paper towel dipped in nail polish remover to treat the shoes. To remove any leftover residue, use a damp cloth across the shoes.

e) Milk:

Restore the look of patent-leather shoes by dabbing on a bit of milk, and then buffing with a soft cloth after allowing it to dry.

f) Vinegar:

After a day in the snow, the white stains of salt can appear on your footwear. Dip a cloth in undiluted white vinegar and wipe fresh stains to avoid long-term damage.

g) Plastic Bag:

Let’s say you have to do a little work outside following a rainy day. Protect your shoes from mud by placing a plastic bag over your footwear. The mud will get on the plastic bag and not on your shoes. The plastic also prevents water from soaking through your shoes and wetting your feet.

h) Petroleum Jelly:

Add a longer-lasting shine to your patent leather shoes by polishing with petroleum jelly.

i) Pantyhose:

You can use pantyhose to buff a freshly polished pair of shoes. Use a medium-length strip of the pantyhose.

j) Ammonia:

Bring your white tennis shoes to life by rubbing down the material with a cloth dipped in a solution comprised of 50% ammonia and 50% water.

k) WD-40:

You can keep shoes waterproofed and shiny by occasionally spraying on WD-40. Use a soft cloth to gently buff the material.

l) Baby Wipes:

When you need a quick fix to restore the shine of your leather shoes, use a baby wipe.

m) Hair Spray:

A light coating of hair spray over freshly polished shoes will make the shininess last much longer. The coat of protection will not rub off as easy.

n) Hair Conditioner:

When the weather is bad, protect your shoes from salt and other chemicals by lathering up with hair conditioner.

o) Steel Wool:

When it looks like there is no hope for a dirty pair of footwear – wet a steel wool soap pad (like an SOS pad) and gently scrub at stains and caked-on grime to revamp your favorite pair of shoes. Use a damp sponge to wipe the shoes clean. You can also put them in the washing machine for a bit.

p) Newspaper [2]:

To quickly dry a pair of wet shoes and still keep the original shape, stuff a collection of crumbled newspapers into the insides of the shoes to absorb the excess water.


[1] Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest; pg. 274
[2] Five Minute Fixes by Reader’s Digest; pg. 277.