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Shoe Care Guide

How to Shine Patent Leather Shoes

Kirby Allison, founder of The Hanger Project goes through the steps to bring your patent leather shoes back up to a high shine in just minutes. Patent Leather Dress Shoes are easy to clean with the Saphir Vernis Rife Patent Leather Cleaner.

Products used in this video:


Hi I'm Kirby Allison founder of The Hanger Project and here at The Hanger Project we love helping the well-dressed take care of their wardrobes. In today's video I'm going to be showing you how to clean patent leather shoes using the Saphir Vernis Rife patent leather cleaner. If you have any questions or comments during this video please ask them in the comments section below. I get back to all those questions personally.

Today I'm going to be cleaning my Grenson patent leather opera pumps. Now these shoes I actually bought back in college and are a great example of how if you shop the sales you can find some absolute gems. I'm certain that I bought these for $200 or $250 dollars. A Grenson is a very well-known brand of English shoes and they do absolutely great work and so whenever I bought these back in college they were a great find. I've absolutely enjoyed wearing them and over 10 years later their the shoes that I still wear every single time I put on my black tie. Now Saphir's Vernice Rife patent leather cleaner comes in two colors: black and neutral. I'm going to be using the black today but the neutral is great for women's shoes. You know like nude pumps or red Louis Vuitton's that you know your wife may have. It's an absolutely great product that is going to clean and help re-shine the patent leather. Cleaning patent leather is very simple. There's really not much you can do with it because it's such a treated leather. I mean to call it leather is a little bit of a stretch in my opinion because it is treated with a polyurethane.

The only way to really take care of patent leather is just to treat it with the Saphir patent leather cleaner. Now the Saphir patent leather cleaner comes with a small chamois but I'm going to be using one of our larger Hanger Project chamois during this tutorial. Step one take your cotton chamois and just gently clean the patent leather. Now the purpose here is to just wipe any type of surface dirt off of the shoe and to get them as clean as possible before you apply the patent leather cleaner. Step two apply the patent leather cleaner to the shoe. I like to shake this first you know to make sure that it's well mixed and then just gently open this up and be careful that you're working either on a protected surface or some place that if you were to accidentally spill this you wouldn't be upset because it would ruin anything that it were to spill on top of. And I'm just going to use one of our Hangar Project chamois. This comes with a chamois but I like to use one of my own chamois just because it's larger. So apply this generously to the cloth and then what you're going to do is just simply wipe this onto the shoe. Now you can be generous in its application. What you're going to do is allow this to dry for three or five minutes and then you're going to come back over and buff it off. Now this is going to help shine the patent leather.

Now it's not going to fix any type of like deep scratches or scuffing but it will certainly make the patent leather shiny. Now the patent leather really isn't absorbing this in the same way that calfskin would absorb like say the Saphir Medaille d'Or polish and the reason is because it's so heavily treated that you know really the the material is completely sealed. So here we're just honestly treating just the surface of the leather itself. So I've applied the patent leather cleaner. Step three is to allow the patent leather cleaner to dry for between three and five minutes. Now after you've allowed the patent leather cleaner to dry for about three to five minutes. You can tell it's dry whenever it's gone from clear to fogged. The next step is really easy. You know basically take a clean portion of the same chamois that you used to apply that patent leather cleaner and you're just going to buff it off. Now this is going to buff that patent leather cleaner to a nice soft shine. You can really see that buffing to a nice shine. After I've buffed off that first application of the Saphir patent leather cleaner it really will expose whether or not you have any kind of harder spots that need to be treated on the patent leather.

And if you see on the left shoe there is some hard kind of spotting on the front of this toe. So what I recommend is taking a little bit of alcohol. And again you can apply this on your cotton chamois and then gently see if you can work those spots off. So I'm applying this this alcohol to my chamois. So I'm just going to try to gently work those spots off and as you can see it's fogging up the patent leather a little bit. So you don't want to do this too hard because you don't want to affect that polyurethane finish but it should be really effective at taking off any spots that the patent leather cleaner isn't able to get off by itself. And then what I'm going to do is I'm going to reapply another coat of the patent leather cleaner to that area that we spot treated in order to redevelop that shine.

Now that's not something I would recommend doing to the entire shoe. But again if you have any of those hard spots that don't come off after your first application of the patent leather cleaner and you really want to try to get those off you can try the alcohol and see if that works. So there we go I've reapplied that. I'm going to allow this to dry. You can see that it didn't take everything off but it certainly did take a lot of those you know that's spotting off of the front of the shoe and then the patent leather cleaner helped bring that back up to a shine. So my only recommendation would be not to go too hard with the alcohol because you don't want to affect the actual smoothness of that finish applied to the patent leather because if you do that then you actually damage the integrity of the patent leather and you won't be able to re-shine it. So you really just want to spot treat only as needed and then focus on just the areas that you could come back on top of this with the second application of the patent leather cleaner just to try to elevate that shine even further. But otherwise I think these patent leather shoes look fantastic and they're ready to be worn to a nice black tie event.

You know before I go out and I wear a pair of my patent leather shoes you know I'll just apply quick coat and buff and actually keep a bottle of this in the same shoe storage box that I keep my Grenson opera pumps in. And so patent leather. Beautiful shoes always shiny. The patent leather cleaner is a great way to take care of them. Other than that there's not much you can do to take care of your patent leather shoes as far as shoe care is concerned. There's really not much to it. If you have any questions about this video please feel free to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any tricks about how you clean your patent leather shoes you know please share that with us and then if you have any stories about your favorite pair of formal dress shoes that you wear with black tie I'd love to hear what your preferences are. The Saphir Vernice Ripe patent leather cleaner can be found at as well as a full and comprehensive assortment of other Saphir products. If you liked this video please give us the thumbs up or better yet subscribe to our channel so that you can receive notifications whenever we release new videos. I'm Kirby Allison founder of The Hanger Project. Thanks for joining us.