My grandmother, who didn’t like to send my grandfather out of the house unless his shoes were shined.
She kept a couple of tins of shoe polish in a closet. One was black. The other was brown.
Both of them smelled terrible.Because they contained nasty chemicals.
Even today, shoe polish will likely include a list of chemicals we can’t pronounce. Some may be relatively benign. But others, such as 4-Diethylaminoazobenzene, have been shown to cause cancer in lab rats.
This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s carcinogenic for humans, But why expose yourself to something that causes cancer in animals?
The good news is that you don’t have to. It’s really easy to make your own non-toxic shoe polish with coconut oil and a few others ingredients.
You could also use just straight coconut oil. However, you’d have to be careful to use it in a way that it doesn’t bleed too much into certain types of leather. The recipe on this page uses coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax.
The end result is a neutral-colored balm with a consistency that resembles store bought shoe polish. It can also be used on shoes of any color.
Wax is what makes shoes shine and holds the shine. So there’s an advantage to using a DIY recipe with beeswax.
How To Shine Shoes With Coconut Oil
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I didn’t have any shoe polish in the house the morning one of my children was getting dressed for a job interview. His first real professional job.
But I noticed his shoes were in rough shape. They were scuffed. Not suitable for a job interview.
How To Make Shoe Polish Using Organic Materials
Since we don’t own commercial shoe polish (I don’t like things that contain nasty chemicals) I decided to shine the shoes with a DIY balm that I use for my skin. Figuring what works well on my skin should work well on leather.
I like to keep a tin of this balm in my purse. I use it instead of lip balm made with questionable compounds. I also use it as a natural skin moisturizer and sunscreen. (The coconut oil and the lavender oil I add seem to have sun protective properties.)
Anyway, this worked pretty well. The shoes were pretty scuffed. They looked a lot better after they were polished.
How To Make Non Toxic Shoe Polish
The recipe you see below will yield a translucent balm similar to regular shoe polish. Adding a few drops of lavender oil is also a good idea. It smells nice. Lavender is also very soothing. It’s good for skin. It’s good for leather. I even add lavender oil when I’m making non-toxic hardwood floor polish.
1/4 cup of organic shea butter (You can find it here)
1/4 cup of organic coconut oil (You can find it here)
1/4 cup of white beeswax pellets (You can find them here)
10 drops of lavender essential oil (You can find it here)
An empty mint tin (If you don’t have one you can order them online)
Melt the first three ingredients in a sturdy stove top sauce pan, with the heat set to low. You don’t need a double boiler if you watch over it. You may gently stir with a fork to help the ingredients melt. Remove from the heat it was soon as the last beeswax pellet has dissolved.
Add the lavender oil before the mixture starts to cool. Then quickly pour it into the empty mint tin. Allow to harden. (About 30 minutes.) It’s then ready to use. (This is totally non toxic. So you can also use it as a natural lip balm or to moisturize your skin.)
Non Toxic Black Shoe Polish
The recipe above will make a neutral colored translucent shoe polish. However, if you want a black shoe polish you could add 5 charcoal capsules to the above recipe. You can find charcoal packaged as dietary supplements at your local health food store or online.
My shoe polish recipe worked really well for what it was needed for. If you plan to use it on a very expensive pair of shoes, I encourage you to test it first, on a small part that’s not noticeable. Make sure it works well before using it on the entire shoe. I’m only sharing my story of what worked for us. So I’m not responsible for how it works on anyone else’s shoes.
For More Reading
Animal Malignancy and 4-Dimethylaminoazobenzene