The other day I picked up a pair of favorite old boots at the cobbler and I was shocked by how new they suddenly looked. Sure, the worn-down heel caps and thread-bare soles had been freshly replaced, but that wasn’t the only reason the boots looked so great. It was the way the leather—previously scuffed and dull—seemed to gleam. The boots almost looked like they had never been worn at all.
Now, I’m sure the shoe professionals at my neighborhood repair shop used some kind of crazy, heavy-duty shoe polish on my boots, but the end result really had me thinking: There’s got to be an easy trick to keeping those puppies looking good all winter long.
Turns out there are a few—and the best ones involve stuff you most likely already have around the house.
1. Petroleum Jelly
Yup, the slimy salve we all grew up with has tons of uses, including sprucing-up dull leather and patent leather. To use, first clean the shoes with a damp cloth. Once dry, smooth on a thin layer of the petroleum jelly over the leather. Next, buff the jelly off using a soft cloth.
2. Cheap Hair Conditioner
Aren’t you excited to finally have a purpose for all the tiny bottles of hotel hair conditioner you’ve collected over the years? Inexpensive hair conditioners contain more wax than fancy conditioners, so they’re great for moisturizing and protecting leather. Use a clean rag to gently rub small amounts of the conditioner into clean, dry leather.
Though this probably goes without saying, please don’t use conditioner or petroleum jelly tricks on suede. Suede is a like a tiny precious little baby and therefore it requires its own super-special treatment.