A spit shine -- also known as spit and polish -- is a method of shining boots traditionally used in the military. One version of the technique involves dampening the upper surface of the boots -- with clean water, rather than spit -- so the polish adheres to the leather, ensuring even application. The polish is heated with a hair dryer until it melts into the leather, filling any small holes and imperfections. Multiple layers of polish are built up to create a flawlessly smooth surface and reflective shine.
Load a small amount of saddle polish onto the bristles of a shoe polish dauber. Dip the sponge in water, and lightly scrub the boots -- including the seams, threads, lace studs and tongue. Rotate the boots until all dirt and residue has been removed.
Wipe off all the foamy residue, and dry the boots with a clean towel.
Put a quarter-sized dollop of shoe polish on an old sock -- or your bare hands, if you don’t mind getting them dirty.
Massage the polish into the boot in small circles, working backward from the toes. Use an old toothbrush to apply polish to the bottom rim of the boot where the sole meets the upper leather.
Gently heat the surface of the boot using a hair dryer on a hot setting. Move the hairdryer over the entire leather upper, until the polish starts to melt and disappear as it's absorbed into the leather.
Repeat Steps 4 and 5 up to three more times, as needed.
Wet the cotton cloth and ring out the excess water. Wrap the cloth around the first two fingers of your polishing hand. Hold the free end of the cloth in your palm with your other fingers, to keep the tension at your fingertips taut.
Lightly touch your cloth-covered fingertips to the container of shoe polish, and pick up a pencil-eraser sized amount of polish.
Apply the polish to the boot in light, small circles. Work on one small section at a time until a mirror shine appears.
Clean any stray polish off the sole of the boot using an old towel.
Spit shine the other boot using the same method.
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Based in London, Lisa Green has been writing entertainment and women’s lifestyle articles since 2004. She has contributed to the MyVillage and Glam networks and is the former editor of Entertainmentwise. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from De Montfort University and a City & Guilds journalism certificate from the City of Bristol College.