Shine Your Shoes With Bananas or Crayon Shoe Polish -- UPDATED




About: I am a paper engineer, writer, maker and chemist wannabe. In addition to pop-up cards I design and build furniture, lights, costumes or whatever I happen to need at the time. Lipstick, a mixing studio, all-p...

If you're looking for a green alternative to commercially available shoe shine, this instructable is for you!

For a quick and easy shoe shine, nothing beats a banana peel. I realize that the association of "shoe" with "banana" is usually considered a source of hilarity (and pain), but this method really does work. The potassium in the peel nourishes the leather, and after rubbing your shoes with the inside of the peel, and buffing them with a clean rag they really will shine!

Unfortunately a banana will not waterproof leather. If that's what you're looking for, proceed to step number 2 for a simple, cheap, non toxic, shoe polish recipe.

UPDATE November 2012: I added the color shoe polish ingredients and instructions

Step 1: Ingredients

For clear or white polish:

1 tea candle
1 tbsp mineral oil (alternate: mink or macadamia nut oil)
1 tbsp lanolin
4 tsp zinc oxide (optional, for white polish)

Tip: tea candle tin has a volume of 1 tablespoon which makes it a handy measuring tool.

For colored polish:

3 colored wax crayons (choose color to match your shoes)
1 tbsp mineral oil (alternate: mink or macadamia nut oil)
1 tbsp lanolin

Notes on ingredients:
Lanolin is a wax sheep secrete to keep their wool from getting waterlogged. You can find it in health food stores or in pharmacies. It is marketed to relieve the cracked nipples of breast feeding mothers.
Mineral oil is sold in pharmacies with laxatives. Baby oil is mineral oil with fragrance, so it makes a fine substitute. Mink or macadamia nut oils are better for leather than mineral oil but they cost more and the shelf life of your polish will be reduced (although it should still be good for at least one year). Mink oil can be found in hardware stores, and macadamia nut oil is in most grocery stores.

Step 2: Instructions

Remove the wick from the tea candle or the paper from your colored crayons.
Combine the wax (i.e. candle or crayons), mineral oil and lanolin in a double boiler.
When all the ingredients have melted, remove from heat and mix in optional zinc.
Pour into a small tin or jar (such as an empty glass baby food jar) to set.

Step 3: Use

Apply small amount to leather with a rag or paper towel. Let stand for a few minutes minutes, then buff with a clean rag.



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    11 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I typically abhor anything "green"... so it is with all humility that i say that this is freakin' awesome, AND i can't wait to try it! great instructable!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Let me know how it works out, especially if you use charcol for black... Theoretically it should work, but I haven't had a chance to test it yet.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I think that the Burning Question is asking a bit more about how to actually shine shoes. The recipe is great though - and will make a great addition to the Instructable. Care to update your project with how to instructions and ping me back? I'll enter it into the contest group if you decide to make changes to it.

    3 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I provide advice and a shoe shine by post service, mainly for the armed forces and emergency services.
    To answer your question on how to shine shoes please feel free to download a free copy of The Butlers guide to shiny shoes.
    I do not use a banana but I am starting to look at alternatives to Kiwi polish.
    I will eventually create an instructable but at the moment I am very busy Butling


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    How to actually shine shoes? But that's so boring! I'll do it though, as soon as I get the chance. You can't have too many instructable T shirts....


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I never even heard of that show -- I don't have cable and I only watch the Simpson's when the weather is good enough for my antenna to work. But I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one doing it!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    It's a show called "How Clean is your house" and it's on BBC America. Kim and Aggie are the presenters and go and clean up really filthy and disgusting houses (in UK and USA)