How to Use a Heat Gun to Shine Boots

Written by william garmany
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How to Use a Heat Gun to Shine Boots
Freshly shined shoes ready for inspection (heavy boots image by Indigo Fish from

Getting a mirror shine on boots has been a struggle over the years for individuals in the military and law enforcement. A few tools can help you achieve the desired look. Use a heat gun to help you get the perfect shine.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • New pair of leather boots
  • Cotton balls
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cloth diaper or T-shirt
  • Water
  • Black shoe wax
  • Heat gun
  • Neutral shoe wax

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  1. 1

    Strip the factory finish. Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol. Placing one hand into the first boot for support, take the cotton ball in the other hand and rub it over the boot leather, stripping off the chemicals that create the factory finish. If the boot still has a factory shine, repeat the process until the boot has a matt-black look.

  2. 2

    Ensure the alcohol has completely dried. Use your index and middle fingers to hold a the cloth diaper (you may substitute an old cotton T-shirt), dip a small section of the diaper into cold water. Run the wet spot of the diaper over the black wax, collecting it onto the diaper. Apply the wax onto the boot in circular motions and continue until you have removed all excess wax.

  3. 3

    Melt the wax with the heat gun. Hold the heat gun (you can also use a hair dryer on the highest setting) one to two feet away from the freshly waxed boot. Heat the wax until it shines and melts into the pores of the leather. Set the heat gun aside and watch as a haze forms on the cooling wax. Dip a clean cotton ball in water and rub the wax in light circular motions until the haze fades.

  4. 4

    Repeat the process, adding another layer of wax, heating and polishing until the leather shines. Always use thin layers of wax, building up a little at a time.

  5. 5

    Add neutral wax. Once there are five or six layers of black wax, apply two layers of neutral wax using the same process. The neutral wax adds a clear layer of shine and protection to the newly polished boot. Repeat the entire process for the second boot.

Tips and warnings

  • Set aside plenty of time to work on your boots. The entire process will take three hours or more for a first-time boot polisher.

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