How to Make Leather Shine

Do you live for the sleek, stylish feel of leather? Few materials are as timeless and luxurious as leather apparel and accessories. There’s nothing quite like a tastefully crafted pair of shoes or an elegant leather bag – but to keep your items looking their best, it’s important to know how to make leather shine!

How to Make Leather Shine

Shining leather isn’t as complicated as you might think and doesn’t have to involve any special tools or expensive products. All you need is a few common household items and patience.

Fortunately, making your favorite pieces look dazzling is easy. In this post, we’ll explore some easy ways to keep your prized leather possessions sparkling and give them the care they deserve.

What Will You Need?

Before you begin, it’s important to gather all the necessary materials. Here are some items you may need:

  • A soft cloth (microfiber works best)
  • Leather conditioner or oil
  • Shoe polish (if polishing shoes)
  • Water and mild soap
  • A hairdryer (optional)

Once you have everything together, you’re ready to start shining!

8 Easy Steps on How to Make Leather Shine

Step 1. Clean the Leather:

Begin using a damp cloth to gently wipe away any surface dirt or dust from your leather item. Ensure that the cloth is only slightly wet to avoid water stains. If your item is filthy, you can use a mild soap to help lift the dirt but rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residues.

Step 2. Dry the Leather:

After cleaning, it’s crucial to dry the leather thoroughly. You can pat dry the item using a soft and absorbent towel. If you’re in a hurry, you can use a hairdryer set to the cool setting, but ensure to hold it at a safe distance to prevent overheating and damaging the leather. Never leave your leather items to dry in direct sunlight, as this can lead to cracking or fading.

Step 3. Apply Leather Conditioner:

Once your leather item is clean and dry, it’s time to apply a leather conditioner or oil. This step is essential to restore the natural oils that keep the leather supple and prevent it from drying out and cracking.

Apply a Leather Conditioner

Use a soft cloth to evenly apply a small amount of the conditioner to the leather, ensuring you cover all surfaces. Allow the conditioner to absorb the leather for about 30 minutes, then gently wipe away any excess with a clean cloth.

Step 4. Buff the Leather:

With the conditioner fully absorbed, it’s now time to buff your leather. Using a clean, dry cloth, gently buff the leather in circular motions. This step enhances the leather’s natural shine by smoothing out any small imperfections and creating a sleek, glossy surface.

Don’t apply too much pressure – the goal here is to polish, not to scrub lightly. If you notice an even shinier look after buffing, that’s a sign you’ve done it right. Once you’re satisfied with the shine, your leather item is ready to use or display!

Step 5. Maintain the Shine:

To keep your leather items looking their best, it’s important to maintain the shine regularly. This doesn’t mean you need to go through the full cleaning and conditioning process every day, but a quick buff with a soft cloth can do wonders to maintain the glossy appearance.

If you notice the shine starting to fade, it may be time to reapply the conditioner. Remember, the key is to be gentle and avoid using any harsh chemicals or abrasive materials on the leather. With a bit of regular care, your leather items can maintain their beautiful shine for many years.

Step 6. Periodic Deep Cleaning:

Even with regular upkeep, every leather item will occasionally benefit from a deeper clean. This could be every few months, depending on how frequently you use the item. Make a habit of thoroughly cleaning and conditioning at least twice a year. This will ensure that any accumulated dirt or grime that might dull the shine gets removed, and the leather stays well-nourished, prolonging its lifespan and preserving its shine.

Always test any cleaning or conditioning product on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t discolor or damage the leather. With proper deep cleaning, your leather can continue to shine bright for years to come.

Step 7. Condition Leather Regularly:

Proper care and maintenance of your leather items are not just about cleaning and shining. Regular conditioning is crucial to maintain the longevity of your leather items. Leather is like skin, and just as skin gets dry, so too does leather.

Maintenance of Your Leather Items

Conditioners provide the necessary moisture leather needs to prevent cracking and maintain its shine. Apply a small amount of a high-quality leather conditioner to a soft cloth and gently rub it into the leather every few months. This will keep the leather supple and maintain its luxurious shine. Before applying any product, always do a spot test to ensure that it won’t damage or discolor the leather.

Step 8. Protect the Leather:

To maintain the shine of your leather items for a longer period, protecting the leather is vital. Once you have polished and conditioned the leather, consider applying a protective sealant specifically designed for leather. This can help protect the leather from spills, stains, and damage from the elements.

Be sure to choose a product that is right for the type of leather you have, and always perform a spot test first to ensure it does not negatively affect the color or texture of the leather. Remember, this step is optional and should be done with discretion as some may prefer the naturally aging look of their leather items.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your leather items looking shiny and new for years.

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

1. Use Natural Products Where Possible:

Natural products are often gentler on leather, reducing the risk of damaging your items. Consider using natural oils like coconut or olive oil as a leather conditioner, or mix lemon juice with olive oil for a homemade cleaning solution. Always test any natural products on an inconspicuous area first.

2. Don’t Overdo It:

While regular conditioning is important, over-conditioning can cause buildup and make the leather look dull and greasy. Follow the instructions of the product and only condition when necessary.

3. Store Your Leather Properly:

Store your leather items in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources when not in use. This will prevent the leather from drying out or becoming discolored.

4. Keep an Eye on the Weather:

Weather can have a significant impact on leather items. Exposure to extreme temperatures or humidity can cause damage and dullness. Avoid wearing or using your leather items in harsh weather conditions if possible.

5. Clean up Spills Immediately:

Leather is not as durable as other materials, so it’s important to act quickly when spills occur. Use a clean cloth to blot the spill, and then follow the proper cleaning or conditioning steps to ensure the leather is properly cared for.

Use a Clean Cloth

With these tips in mind, you can easily maintain the shine of your leather items and keep them looking beautiful for years. Remember always to be gentle with your leather and avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage it.

5 Things You Should Avoid

1. Avoid Using Harsh Chemicals:

Never clean your leather items with harsh chemicals, as they can strip the natural oils from the leather, leading to dryness and cracks. Always opt for gentle, leather-specific products.

2. Avoid Direct Sunlight:

Do not expose your leather items to direct sunlight for prolonged periods. The ultraviolet rays can cause the leather to dry out, fade, and lose its shine.

3. Avoid Wet Conditions:

Do not let your leather items get wet; if they do, dry them properly as soon as possible. Moisture can cause the leather to swell or discolor, and damp conditions can promote mold growth.

4. Avoid Storing in Plastic:

Never store your leather items in plastic bags or boxes. Leather needs to breathe, and plastic can cause it to dry out and deteriorate, losing its shine and suppleness.

Never Clean Your Leather Items With Harsh Chemicals

5. Avoid Overloading Leather Bags:

Do not overload leather bags. Too much weight can strain and stretch the leather, distorting its shape permanently and diminishing its shine. Always respect the weight limit recommended for your leather items.

By avoiding these things and following the proper care and maintenance steps, you can ensure that your leather items stay shiny and beautiful for a long time.


Making sure your leather goods stay shining and look good is easy as long as you take care of them properly. Clean away dirt and debris promptly, use conditioners when necessary, keep them safe, and buff out any scratches.

With regular care and maintenance, your leather shoes, bags, jackets, or furniture will shine like new for many years to come! We hope this article has helped you understand the best practices for caring for your leather goods and keeping them looking their best.

Hopefully, the article on how to make leather shine has provided you with all the necessary information and tips to keep your leather items shining for a long time. Always be gentle with your leather and use proper products and techniques to maintain its shine and durability.

Photo of author

Matt Clark

Hi, this is Matt, and I am a leathercraft hobbyist. I have been working with leather for quite a bit of time. When I was a teenager, my father taught me the basics of leathercraft. Along the way I have learned a lot of things about leather work leather items, restoring leather, and creating leather accessories. I started this blog to share my knowledge of leatherworking with others and help people learn about this amazing craft. I also wanted to create a community of like-minded people who could share ideas and support each other in their leatherworking journey.

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