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How to Clean Leather Shoes or BootsUpdated a year ago

Watch the Tutorial

Important: When using any product on your footwear, always try it on a small discrete area first to check it doesn’t damage the leather or colour.


Step 1 - Clean the Leather


  • Remove laces if required.
  • Brush off any dirt or mud.
  • Use a leather cleaner with a cloth to help remove any bad scuffs and a build up of old wax.

Example Leather Cleaners:

Saphir Renomat

TRG Universal Cleaner


Step 2 - Nourish the Leather


Nourishing your shoes with quality cream before polishing is extremely important. This rejuvenates the leather and creates an easier surface to polish.

  • Apply small amounts of cream by hand.
  • Start from the toe and work up into the vamp of the shoe or boot.

Use a Neutral beeswax Cream such as this 



  • Apply a second coat of cream to nourish and protect the leather further.


A Mink oil based cream such as Saphir Renovator is best for this Saphir Renovator Cream


Step 3 - Polish


Find a Wax Polish that is a close match to your shoes or lighter to prevent the colour changing. A neutral wax polish can also be used.


  • Using a brush, apply a small amount of polish and starting from the toe or heel, work it into the rest of the shoe. Use a Wax Polish such as this for your base coat.


  • Once the initial coat has been applied, try using your fingers to build up more layers of wax. This creates more heat, melting the wax and working it in to the leather more efficiently.


Pro Tip: Concentrate the wax on the toe and heel, using lighter amounts on the vamp of the shoe. This will help to prevent cracking in the polish when moving your foot.




If required, use a darker wax polish around the sole of the shoe. An old toothbrush can be used to remove a build up of wax on any stitching.


Good Enough?


That's your basic care routine and polishing complete. Should you wish to take your shine to the next level then proceed to Step 4, but this point in the process will be satisfactory for a general spruce up or your more casual leather styles.


Step 4 - Shine

Once the base coat of polish has been applied, take your shine to the next level  using a thinner wax such as this.


Again if the colour can’t be matched, use a shade lighter or pick a neutral wax.


  • Applying by hand in small amounts, gradually build up several coats.


Pro Tip: Using a neutral wax as a final coat will help protect the leather and offer an even better shine.




  • Using a folded pair of lady’s tights (40 denier), lightly brush the footwear to reveal the high shine.



Optional: A dry palm can also be used for a final polish as it warms the wax and brings up a mirror shine.




Loose Threading


If your footwear is starting to show loose threads, don’t cut or pull them. Try using a lighter to burn them off which will seal them and prevent them coming back.

Please use extreme caution when using naked flames, Base London cannot be held accountable for personal injury or property damage.


Meet the Expert


Steven Skippen - ShoeShineUK

Steven has over 20 years experience in high-end shoe shining, patina and leather care. You can see his work on instagram or visit the Hilton on Park Lane, London for a personal appointment.


We hope this tutorial was helpful to you, make sure you check out the video at the top of this article for a masterclass in shoe care! Please get in contact with us if you have any other shoe care queries and look out for more content on how to take care of your footwear.






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