A method of polishing one's shoes or boots to ensure a vibrant, glass-like shine. Requires: The polish equipment all comes in small polish kits that AAFES or K-Mart or WalMart sell.

To polish:

  1. Remove laces from the shoes.
  2. If your shoes are new, and the fake cardboard leather, they may have come with an annoying lacquer-like substance. Remove this with isopropyl alcohol. If you have leather shoes, or shoes that have been polished before, do not do this.
  3. Using the polish brush, apply polish liberally working in circular strokes, beginning each application of polish from the toe of the shoe, working backwards. Ensure a thick layer of polish is applied.
  4. Let stand for a few minutes. If you alternate shoes, they will stand while you repeat this step for the other shoe.
  5. Using the shine brush, buff the shoes liberally, until the shoes begin to approach a smooth, dull shine. Buff with the grain - laterally across the toe of the shoes, front to back strokes along the sides.
  6. Wad a small piece of the cotton cloth. Ensure the top of the wad is smooth, approximately 2 cm. across. Wadding it will make it easier to hold. It isn't necessary, but reduces the amount of polish you will get on your hands. Dip the cloth into warm water, and squeeze out as much water as possible. The cloth should be barely damp.
  7. Gently rub the wad across the top of the shoe polish (use the second can). There should be a 1 to 2 cm solid black spot from the polish on the cloth.
  8. Using small circles, rub your shoes with the cloth. Work in small areas. The shoe will shift to a dull gray, then slowly deepen into an obsidian mirror shine. An area is complete when the color of the cloth being used is a very very light grey. Repeat the last three steps until your shoes are covered in deep black shine.

Your shoeshine kit probably came with a small buffing cloth. The cloth is one-sided (not like a Moebius strip. The soft side is for buffing out small scratches during normal use.

If you are shining uniform shoes, you should repeat the spit shine process every few wearings for a while. After that point, at most the shoes will require light buffing, and occasionally a touch up with the last three steps.

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