How to Use Black Shoe Polish to Polish Furniture

While polishing wood furniture with a manufacturer-recommended furniture polish is the optimal choice, if you're in a pinch you can polish darker pieces of furniture with black shoe polish. The colourant in the shoe polish covers scratches effectively, while the shine agents leave your furniture gleaming. Additionally, using shoe polish for this purpose is not any more difficult or time-consuming than using furniture polish. Because the black shoe polish permanently deposits colourant onto your furniture, however, make sure you use this method only with black or very dark furniture.

Spray furniture cleaner over the surface of the piece, then wipe with a dusting rag. Repeat as necessary on any stubborn, sticky spots, and thoroughly clean the entire piece to remove any dirt, grease or debris. While you're dusting and cleaning, make note of any scratches or discolourations on the piece.

Dab a small amount of the black shoe polish onto a clean rag. On an inconspicuous area of the furniture, such as the underside or inside a drawer, rub in a small amount of the shoe polish to test how well the shoe polish will work on this piece. If you do not like the outcome of the test, do not proceed with polishing the rest of the piece.

Dab more shoe polish onto the rag and wipe it onto scratches and discolourations. Let the shoe polish sit for a few minutes so the colourant can penetrate the wood and permanently stain the scratches. Use the second clean cloth to wipe up any excess and gently buff the scratched areas.

Wipe shoe polish across the entire piece, working the rag in sweeping, circular motions. Allow the shoe polish to dry.

Buff the entire piece of furniture with the second clean cloth, until the furniture has a nice lustre.


Use this method only on furniture that is black or the very darkest brown. Black shoe polish can permanently stain lighter coloured wood. Always test this method in an inconspicuous area before treating the entire piece.

Things You'll Need

  • Dusting cloth
  • Furniture cleaner, such as Pledge or similar
  • Black shoe polish
  • 2 clean cloths or rags
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About the Author

Sandra Rousseau has been writing since 1990, covering such topics as home decorating, fashion, health, beauty, gardening and cooking. Her articles appear her hometown newspaper, the "Aledo Community News," and on various websites. Rousseau holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and advertising from the University of Texas at Arlington.