Is Vaseline Good For Leather Shoes? (Tips and Tricks)

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that one of my prized leather shoes needed a bit of love and care. It was looking pretty scuffed up, with stains all over the upper.

Scratch marks on leather shoe
Scratch marks on the back of the shoe

Nothing that any quality leather cleaner can’t handle.

So, I went to my supplies closet to get my favorite leather conditioner, but my eyes fell upon something else.

Vaseline. Or petroleum jelly if you are a snob.

So I decided to do a little experiment.

I decided to use Vaseline to make my shoes look brand new. Here’s what I learned –

Vaseline is definitely good for leather shoes. It can remove scratches, restore shoe color, make your shoes waterproof, and even make them soft and shiny.

Here’s how.

How To Soften Leather Shoes With Vaseline?

Using Vaseline (petroleum jelly) to soften leather shoes is a common method that can be done at home. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

  1. Clean the shoes: Before applying Vaseline, make sure to clean the leather shoes thoroughly to remove any dirt or grime. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the shoes, or you can use a leather cleaner if needed.
  2. Apply the Vaseline: Take a small amount of Vaseline on your fingers and apply it evenly to the leather surface of the shoes. Make sure to cover the entire surface, including the sides, heel, and toe. Use a soft cloth to rub the Vaseline into the leather, making sure that it is evenly distributed.
  3. Allow to dry: Allow the shoes to dry for about an hour. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or heat as this may cause the leather to dry out and crack.
  4. Buff the shoes: Once the shoes have dried, take a soft cloth and gently buff the leather surface to remove any excess Vaseline.
  5. Use it: Your shoes should now be softer and more pliable than before.

It is also worth noting that this method is a temporary one, leather shoes should be conditioned regularly to keep them in good shape. And finally, please take into consideration that this method is not recommended for leather shoes that are already in bad condition as it may not bring the desired results.

How To Shine Shoes With Petroleum Jelly?

Shining your shoes with petroleum jelly is a quick and easy way to give your footwear a new lease on life! Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of this method:

  1. Give your shoes a good cleaning before you start. This will ensure that the petroleum jelly can work its magic on a clean surface, and it will help remove any dirt or grime that could interfere with the shine.
  2. A little bit of jelly goes a long way! Just use a small amount of petroleum jelly and spread it evenly across the leather surface of your shoes.
  3. Use a soft cloth to rub the jelly into the leather, don’t be shy! Get in there and work it in well, making sure to cover the entire surface of the shoes.
  4. Buff, buff, buff! Once the jelly has been spread out, use a clean and dry cloth to buff the leather surface to a high shine. Use a circular motion and don’t be afraid to put some elbow grease into it!
  5. Let your shoes dry for a few minutes before wearing them. It’s important to give the jelly a little bit of time to set and dry, so your shoes will be ready to go when you are.
  6. If you want to take your shoe shining to the next level, try using a bit of chrome polish to add an extra shine to your shoes!
  7. Have fun with it! Shining shoes is a great excuse to take a few minutes for yourself, to take care of something, and to have some fun with it, make it into a enjoyable task.

Remember, the goal is to make the leather look shiny and new, but keep in mind that this method is a temporary one, to achieve a more durable shine and prolong the life of your shoes, a commercial shoe polish should be used regularly. Happy shining!

What Does Vaseline Do To Leather?

Here are a list of things that vaseline can do to leather.

1. Remove Scratches

Vaseline was easily able to remove the minor scratches that had come to define the look of my shoes. Really, it took less than a minute for the Vaseline to work its magic.

So, how do you clean a leather shoe with Vaseline?

Simple. Take some Vaseline on your finger. Rub it over the scratches or the scuff marks on your shoes. Don’t use a cloth, as it would absorb the Vaseline immediately. Let the shoes absorb it, and then wipe with a dry cloth.

2. Restore Shoe Color

Another bonus point for using Vaseline on your leather shoes – it was able to restore the original color of my shoes!

Before applying Vaseline
After applying Vaseline

Although you might not see a lot of difference on the camera, but trust me, the difference was enough for a friend to think that I had gotten new shoes!

To restore shoe color, rub Vaseline all over the shoe. Make sure that you don’t miss any part, because we don’t want our shoes to be two-toned (unless that’s what you are going for).

Leave the shoes in a dry place and let the leather absorb the Vaseline. Done!

3. Make Your Shoes Waterproof

To be honest, I noticed this one by sheer accident. I had done my little experiment, and decided to wear my restored leather shoes to work.

But New York decided to be a little extra New York-y.

I got drenched. But more importantly, my shoes got drenched too. Or so I thought.

When I reached the office, I realized something. My shoes were practically dry.

Vaseline can ensure that your leather shoes remain waterproof for quite some time. But remember, this is not a long-term way to waterproof your shoes. For that, you must invest in some good quality waterproof sprays.

4. Make Your Shoes Soft And Shiny

Granted, there are only a few times when you would want your leather shoes to be super shiny – Patent Leather shoes being the obvious example.

Using a shoe polish would be a more ideal choice for shine. But if you are attending a wedding and someone stepped on your foot, you can’t just start furiously polishing right away. Speaking from experience, it tends to raise a few eyebrows.

That’s where good’ol Vaseline comes in.

Vaseline can easily make your shoes shiny. All you need to do is to take it a scoop of it, and rub it all over the shoe. Next, take a paper towel, and rub that all over the shoe.

We are going to use the paper towel because we don’t want the leather to absorb the Vaseline; we want a surface level shine.

How To Apply Vaseline To Your Leather Shoes?

So what is the best way to apply Vaseline to your shoe? It’s not that complicated –

  1. Clean the leather upper with a dry cloth. Try to get rid of all the major scuffs and dirt marks.
  2. Take a generous amount of Vaseline, and rub it all over the shoes with your finger.
  3. Buff off any extra petroleum jelly using a paper or a dry cloth.
  4. Place the shoes in a dry and airy location for a few hours to let the leather absorb the Vaseline.

Can Vaseline Be Applied To Suede Shoes?

One final thing –

Never apply Vaseline to your suede shoes. This can cause discoloration and leave colored spots all over the suede upper.

If you want to find out more information about cleaning suede shoes, you can check out this article that we posted a few days ago.

Even though Vaseline is amazing, it is not a long-term solution to any of these problems. It may help you in a pinch, but you definitely need to invest in some quality leather-specific products if you care about your shoes.