How to Soften Shoe Polish

by Darren White ; Updated September 28, 2017

If you haven’t polished your shoes in a while, the polish you purchased months ago may be rock hard when you pull it off the shelf. But you don’t need to buy a brand new can of polish give your shoes a new shine. By using the heat sources in your bathroom and kitchen, you can restore the consistency of the polish. You’ll need to add oil to the polish, to restore the natural softening qualities of the polish that are lost when it hardens. This will keep the leather shoes shiny and healthy.

Open the can of dried out polish. Identify areas of the polish that may be harder and dryer than other areas.

Place a few drops of olive oil on the dryer areas of the polish.

Heat the polish with a hair dryer placed on a medium heat setting. Heat the polish as it sits on a counter or wrap the can of polish in a towel or cotton rag to prevent burned hands.

Place the can in an oven set to 300 degrees, or the lowest setting on your oven. Heat the polish for approximately five minutes or until it begins to soften.

Remove polish from oven while wearing an oven mitt or another heat-proof glove.


  • Keep windows open while heating the polish, which can give off some fumes.

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About the Author

Darren White is a third-year student studying photography and art history at Haverford College. Raised in the Philadelphia area, he has followed its art scene for some time, which has influenced his column, The Fashion File, that he writes for the "Bi-Co News." He also writes, edits and photographs for Haverford's fashion magazine, "Feathers & Fur."