Shining shoes is quite a big deal around our house. Lucas is in the Air Cadets, and having anything less than shoes you can almost see your reflection in is not acceptable. They even have a class in their training camp dedicated to shining shoes using pantyhose (stretched taut and buffed with a sawing motion according to artofmanliness.com – the Library Of Random Man Knowledge is particularly good reading). Doing this on the final shine is apparently the best way to get them perfect.
If you look at what’s in one of our most popular brands of shoe polish, Kiwi, you may want to start making your own polish, like this one which uses only candle wax and canola oil.
Finding the ingredients in Kiwi polish wasn’t that easy as there’s none printed on the tin, after some searching here’s what I found the ingredients to be: Naphtha, otherwise known as petroleum distillate, Stoddard solvent: a mixture of long-chain petroleum distillates, 3′, 6′-Bis-(Diethylamino)-Fluoran and 4-Diethylaminoazobenzene which are both dyes, 1, 2, 4-Trimethyl Benzene: a byproduct from making Stoddard solvent, and solvent black 7 (Nigrosin) which is a cellular dye. Oh, and then there’s Carnauba wax, the only organic ingredient as it comes from a Brazilian tree.
And Wikipedia has this to say on shoe polish in general “Today, shoe polish is usually made from a mix of natural and synthetic materials, including naphtha, turpentine, dyes, and gum arabic, using straightforward chemical engineering processes. Shoe polish is usually flammable, can be toxic, and, if misused, can stain skin. It should be used in a well-ventilated area with care taken to protect clothes, carpet and furniture.”
DIY Two Ingredient Shoe Polish
All you need for this is the end of an old candle and some canola oil, once you have these two ingredients you can make your own non toxic shoe polish in a jiffy.
Simply melt 2 tbsp of canola oil and 10g of candle wax together in a double boiler.
When it is mixed, pour into a wide-mouthed jar or tin, one of our used deodorant tins is perfect for this. It’s best to use this while it is still soft as it hardens. You may need to soften it slightly when using it again by placing in a bowl with warm water that comes part way up the in or jar.
To use rub onto the shoe and buff off, continue to buff until you have a brilliant shine.
Wendyl’s Recipes For A Cleaner Life