How to Restore Dried Out Shoe Polish on Shoes

by Amanda Ballard Coates ; Updated September 28, 2017

Polishing your shoes or boots will make them shine and extend the life of the shoe. A shoe that has been polished will look well-maintained while protecting it from wear and weather. Shoe polish is typically applied to leather or suede footwear to waterproof and moisturize the surface, restoring the appearance of the shoes. Leather that is not treated will dry and crack, making it brittle and causing it to fall apart. Leather shoes or boots should be polished once a week if they are worn often. Use quality leather shoe polish that comes in a cream, paste or wax polish.

Open the shoe polish and apply a small amount of polish to a corner of the soft cloth. Even if the polish is dried out, you can still use it. When applying it with the soft cloth, the heat from the friction will soften some of the polish and make it easier to work into the leather surface. If this does not work, add a couple drops of mineral oil. When using a wax polish, warming it slightly will soften it.

Rub the polish onto the leather shoe, starting at the toe, in a circular motion.

Continue rubbing in the polish over the shoe until it has been completely covered.

Use another area of the soft cloth to buff the polish over the entire shoe. You can occasionally dampen the buffing section of the cloth with water if you want a more magnificent shine.

Repeat the process with the second shoe.


  • Adding a few drops of turpentine to the shoe polish can also help to rejuvenate it if it has dried out.

    Shoes worn less than regularly should be polished only as needed.

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About the Author

Amanda Ballard Coates is a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and a member of the American Association of Professional Coders. She is also a freelance writer and photographer. She writes mostly nonfiction and has been published on several informative websites. Ballard Coates' writing has been published on websites such as Healthmad.com, Quazen.com, Gomestic.com and Socyberty.com.