Shoe Polishing Hack: Use a Heat Gun

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Introduction: Shoe Polishing Hack: Use a Heat Gun

About: That's what I do. I drink, and I know things.

Things are better with powertools.  In this Instructable I will describe how to use a heatgun for two purposes.  First, I use it to remelt broken bits of shoe polish or to soften it prior to application.  Second, I use it prior to the final buffing in order to soften it on the shoes again and enable a high-gloss shine.  Please though, a word of caution.  You want to use the heat gun on the LOW setting and AT AN APPROPRIATE DISTANCE and for A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.  Heat guns get hot enough that they can set shoe polish or your shoes on fire and believe me, you don't want to have to explain how you set your shoes on fire because you followed instructions on the internet from some guy named Grunambulax.  

Step 1: Pictures of Shoes Before Shining

You will notice that there are scuffs and discoloration on the shoes. 

Step 2: Remelting Broken Wax

In the first photo, you will see a common site.  A tin of polish that cracked into small pieces.  In order to restore this, take the heat gun on a low heat setting and hold it about 12 inches away from the tin.  Warm the polish gently until it liquifies.  Keep the heat gun far enough away from the polish so that you only gently heat it.  Once the polish liquifies, give it 15 minutes to resolidify.  Even if the polish is good I will heat it for about 15 seconds to soften it up.  This is important as it softens the polish and allows you to spread it more deeply and evenly.

Step 3: Apply Polish, Buff

This is the normal process.  Apply the polish well and massage it into the leather.  Let it dry 5 minutes and buff with a shoe bush.  Now you have only a very thin layer of polish left on the shoe.

Step 4: Lightly Warm the Shoe With Heatgun and Rebuff It

In the final step, use the heatgun for about 15 seconds a shoe on low setting at about 12 inches away.  You only want to warm the polish here.  Once you have done this use the brush or a clean rag to give it the final shine.  You also can wipe a damp, but not wet cloth on the shoes at this point and rebuff it.

Step 5: After Pictures

Here are the shoes after shining.  Notice the scuffs are gone and the discoloration is covered.  The leather is better preserved.  These shoes are 5 years old.  I've been shining them this way for a year about every three weeks.

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    10 Comments

    The old army trick was to heat a spoon over a gas flame and go over your shoes. This is just that on steroids

    ?yes a hair dryer will do, but it will take longer

    Excellent advice - I always use heat when polishing my boots.

    Great method for those of us who still polish shoes,(and believe me we are a minority.) I'll be adding this one to my repertoire. Thanks.

    1 reply

    After soap, shined shoes are the yardstick of civilization.

    I use a hot spoon rubbed over the surface as learned in the army.

    1 reply

    Yes. This is just a tricked out way to do the same thing. Good call!

    Yes, yes...use caution not to melt shoes.