How to Fix Patent Leather Shoes

by Ann Hudson

It's a disappointing sight. That favorite pair of patent leather shoes has become scratched, scuffed and dulled until they are a sad imitation of their original glory. Take heart! While some repairs, such as broken buckles or damaged soles, will require the attention of a professional, there are some simple ways that you can fix scratches and restore the shiny appearance of your favorite pair of patent leather shoes.

Items you will need

  • Mild soap
  • Lukewarm water
  • Cotton swabs
  • Cotton balls
  • Crayons
  • Mineral oil
  • Acetone (finger nail polish remover)
  • 5 soft cloths
  • Patent leather scratch and crack restorer
Step 1

Begin by cleaning the surface of the leather with a mild soap and lukewarm water. Mix a tablespoon of soap with about four cups of lukewarm water and dip a clean, soft cloth into this solution. Wring out any excess liquid and gently wipe away any dirt or dust from the shoe.

Step 2

Wipe the shoe with a soft cloth that has been soaked in clear, lukewarm water and wrung out. This will remove any soap residue. Dry the shoe with a dry, soft cloth.

Step 3

Apply mineral oil to the shoe with a cotton ball to remove minor scuff marks. Dip the cotton ball in about a teaspoon of mineral oil and gently rub the scuff mark with the cotton ball.

Step 4

Use acetone to get rid of larger, more stubborn scuff marks. Dip a cotton swab into the acetone and shake off excess liquid. Gently rub the scuff mark with the cotton swab. Don't rub too hard or for too long a time as this may damage the shiny finish.

Step 5

Use a crayon in a color that matches the shoe to cover scratch marks. Gently apply the crayon to the scratch mark. Rub the crayon mark in with your finger to blend.

Step 6

For more serious scratches, there are commercial patent leather restoration products available in a variety of colors. Most of these products come with their own applicator. Use the provided applicator to apply the restorer over the scratched or cracked area as you would apply fingernail polish. Allow the area to dry fully before proceeding to steps 6 and 7.

Step 7

Restore the shine of the patent leather with petroleum jelly. Put about one tsp. of petroleum jelly on a clean, soft cloth. Use the cloth to apply the petroleum jelly to the surface of the leather. Be sure to thoroughly rub the jelly into the leather and do not apply additional amounts of petroleum jelly. Too much jelly will leave a residue that can attract dust and stain hosiery.

Step 8

Buff the shoe with a clean cloth until it shines.

Tips

  • If your shoes get too wet, dry them by placing crumpled newspaper inside of the shoes and storing the shoes in a dry area with good air circulation.

Warnings

  • Don't use anything abrasive when cleaning patent leather, such as steel wool or other abrasive cleansers. Doing so will wear away the shiny finish of the leather.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

About the Author

Ann Hudson is a freelance writer who began her writing career working for a small community newspaper. While there, her work as a feature writer and a weekly columnist were honored. Hudson holds a bachelor's degree in journalism. She has been writing for more than 30 years.