How to care for patent leather shoes

Updated November 21, 2016

Patent leather has been treated to give it a high-gloss lustre. It can be natural or man-made and is frequently used for bags, belts and shoes. To keep that exceptional shine, patent-leather shoes may require a little extra attention.

Wash your patent-leather shoes with ordinary soap and water. Swab the shoes with a soft, damp cloth. Rub a bit of liquid soap across the surface of the shoes, and then wipe clean with a dry cloth or paper towel.

Shine your shoes once they have dried by rubbing on a bit of mineral oil or petroleum jelly. Coat a cotton ball with the remedy of your choice and apply to the surface of the shoe, moving the cotton in a small circular motion. Buff any excess away with a lint-free cloth.

Remove scuffs with a light application of acetone-based nail-polish remover. Dip a cotton swab into the bottle of polish remover and brush over the scuffed area with gentle strokes. Allow the shoe to dry, then cover the treated area with a light coating of vegetable oil.

Treat clean, dry and shined patent-leather shoes with a commercial water-repellent product. Spray the shoes, evenly covering the entire surface. Set the shoes aside and allow them to dry for at least four hours before wearing.

Store your patent-leather shoes carefully when you are not wearing them. Place shoe horns inside dirt-free shoes to help them retain their proper shape. Then wrap each shoe in a piece of tissue paper and place the shoes inside a shoebox. Label the box with a description of the shoes and stow in a cool, dry place.

Place the shoes in individual bags when packing them for a trip. This will keep them from rubbing together and will prevent any debris from your shoes rubbing off onto your clothing.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid soap
  • Water
  • Soft cloth
  • Paper towels
  • Mineral oil
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Cotton balls
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Nail-polish remover
  • Cotton swab
  • Vegetable oil
  • Commercial water repellent
  • Shoe trees
  • Tissue paper
  • Shoebox
  • Small travel bags
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.