How To Prevent Shoe Polish From Drying Out? [#1 Solution]

Written By Mahia

Does your buttery smooth wax shoe polish have all dried up?

Are you thinking of discarding the cracked shoe polish as they are of no use now?

Take a chill pill! While you were planning to throw your dried shoe polish, I was doing extensive research on how to prevent shoes from drying out and save your few bucks.

So let’s learn the easy yet effective ways of stopping shoe polish from

How To Stop Shoe Polish From Drying?

Firstly, let me enlighten you with the fact that shoe polish doesn’t go bad, nor it expires, so if your shoe polish gets dried by any chance, then do not throw it. There are easy hacks following which you can simply make the dry polish reusable.

However, it’s better not to let the shoe polish get completely dried out and eventually cracked because the more it gets dry, the more the polish texture will deteriorate.

There are specifically three types of shoe polish- wax-based, cream-based, and liquid. Liquid shoe polishes don’t dry out quickly, but the wax and cream shoe polish tend to lose moisture very rapidly and get dry.

You will find hundreds of solutions for fixing dry shoe polish on the internet but a handful of suggestions to prevent shoe polish from drying; this is because there is only one way to stop shoe polish from drying. That is appropriately storing them.

No matter how expensive or branded your shoe polish is, lack of proper storage will make the polish useless. To get the best outcome of shoe polish and prevent it from drying, make sure you close the shoe polish tin tightly after every use. If you think the tin’s lid is not tight enough, you can transfer the product to an airtight container. Once the tin is tightly closed, there are no chances of shoe polish getting dry.

Another hack that I follow to prevent my shoe polish from drying is keeping them in an airy place and out of sunlight’s reach. If you keep the shoe polish in direct sunlight, the heat will soak all the polish moisture and make them very dry and cracked.

Therefore, only investing in good-quality shoe polish will not work; instead, store the product properly and utilize every bit of it so that your investment will be worth every penny.

But before that, go through our epic guide Does Waterproof Shoe Spray Work.

Why Does Shoe Polish Gets Dry?

Shoe polish is made with a combination of different types of waxes, solvents, and oils. Each of the ingredients has an individual and essential role in making the shoe polish an effective one.why-does-shoe-polish-gets-dry

For instance, wax( paraffin, Carnauba wax, beeswax) is incorporated in shoe polish to increase the life of the shoe as well as to look good. Solvents(Naphtha, Turpentine, Stoddard solution) are used to soften the wax to glide smoothly onto the shoes. Lastly, oils(Lanolin, mink oil, neatsfoot oil) act as a leather conditioner by keeping the leather fabric of the shoes supple and slowing down leather oxidation.

So let’s come to the actual question, why does shoe polish get dry?

When the tin of the shoe polish remains open, the solvents evaporate, leaving only the wax in the container. The solvent is used to soften the wax, so lack of solvent makes the wax separate and harder to use, and eventually, the shoe polish gets dry.

Check out our separate post on Shoe Cream vs Shoe Polish.

Can You Heat Shoe Polish?

Solvents in shoe polish are flammable, i.e., if you heat it directly on the flame, sometimes the polish will catch fire. The solvents Naphtha and Turpentine have a flash point less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so when they are exposed to open flames, there are chances they will catch fire.

As the solvents are flammable when it catches fire, a cloud of smoke is generated which is very unsafe and toxic to human bodies. Shoe polish includes chemicals like benzenes, petroleum, and carbon-based dyes; if you inhale these chemicals, you can have a severe illness. All these products are also carcinogenic to human bodies. So it is suggested not to heat the shoe polish directly, or you can have adverse effects.

Additionally, if you heat your shoe polish directly on the stove, the tin will get excessively hot, and the risk of the burning finger or hand increases. And by any chance, if the container of shoe polish is made up of plastic, then I guess you can assume what will happen if you heat it straight to the flame. So never heat shoe polish directly in the burner.

However, there are easy and simple ways by which you can quickly melt or soften your shoe polish, and of course, these methods don’t include direct flame. The most useful way of heating shoe polish is using a double boiler or giving it a hot water bath. In the next paragraph, I have explained the easy process of softening dry shoe polish, so keep reading.

How To Fix Dried Shoe Polish?

All this time, I was talking about how you can take precautions so that your shoe polish doesn’t get dry. But there are times when you keep shoe polish unused for a long time, resulting in a dried and cracked shoe polish.

If you are thinking of throwing away the dry shoe polish and getting a new one, let me tell you that you can use the dry shoe polish again by simply following some easy steps.

Here are few methods following which you can fix dry shoe polish:

Method 1: Use Double Boiler

When shoe polish gets dry, all its solvent gets evaporated, so to revive the shoe polish’s goodness, you will need to add solvent. Turpentine is a good choice as it is readily available in the paint shops. You can also use orange oil because it has a higher flash point and even smells nice.

Fill in the shoe polish with ¼ part of solvent.

Fill up the bottom pot of a double boiler with 75% of water.

Place the top pot on top of the bottom pot and put the shoe polish tin on the top pan’s center.

Turn on the flame and let the water heat, the hot vapor of water will heat the top pan and let the wax melt completely.

Once the wax is fully melted and becomes liquid, turn off the stove.

Let the shoe polish sit in the pan until the wax cools down.

The cooling process can take up to an hour.

After the wax is completely cool, the liquid will solidify, and the shoe polish is ready to use again.

Method 2: Hot Water Bathhot-water-bath

Take a pan or tray, fill the tray with water so that half of the tin of shoe polish sinks.

Turn on the stove and let the water boil to 80 degrees celsius. Do not let the water reach a boiling point; overheating can burn the shoe polish, and you definitely don’t want your shoe polish to smell burnt. You can use a thermometer to check the temperature of the water.

As the water heats up, the wax will start to melt.

Once the wax melts completely, turn off the flame.

Let the shoe polish sit in the water until the water cools down.

You will notice as the water cools, the wax starts to harden.

When the wax solidifies fully, take it out of the water, and the shoe polish is ready to use again on your shoes.

Follow our guide to know Saphir Renovateur vs Venetian Shoe Cream.


It is quite normal for shoe polish to get dry, but this doesn’t mean it is of no use. You can easily reuse dry shoe polish following simple tips and tricks. But firstly, you shouldn’t let the shoe polish get dry because the more you melt it, the more its texture and goodness deteriorate. So better take all the precautions that will give you a smoother shoe polish.

About The Author
Since childhood, Mahia is a shoe freak. And this is what lead her to do more research and gather knowledge about shoes.Mahia has always wanted to share her skill and knowledge about footwear with a mass audience, which ended her up in this amazing workplace.When Mahia is not writing, you can almost always find her in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes to upgrade her catering menu.

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