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How this thrifty mum used vegetable oil to shine up and clean her daughter’s leather school shoes


Mom uses a very unlikely pantry staple to polish her kids’ school shoes: ‘They look like new’

  • Mom cleaned her child’s shoes with vegetable oil
  • She shared the impressive results online

A mom discovered an unlikely way to polish her daughter’s school shoes ahead of picture day with an ordinary pantry item.

The woman said she was out of black shoe polish and instead gave the footwear a lick of vegetable oil.

She shared the impressive results online, astonishing hundreds of moms who discussed their best hacks for cleaning shoes using things like petroleum jelly and baby oil.

“School photo day and I forgot to buy a new black shoe polish…vegetable oil to the rescue!” the mother wrote in one after to the Facebook group Inspiration Australia for cleaning and organizing.

She included a before-and-after photo of the two shoes, one before cleaning and one after she applied the vegetable oil to show how effective the pantry had been.

A clever mother shared how she used vegetable oil to make her daughter’s leather school shoes look like new again

Here’s how to clean leather shoes with vegetable oil

What you need

  • Mild liquid hand soap
  • Water
  • Rags without color

  • Hand washer
  • Vegetable oil
  • Cleaning brushes


  1. Mix about 1/3 cup of liquid hand soap and 2/3 cup of water to clean a leather pair of shoes or handbag. Make foam. If you have a larger leather item to clean, mix in more soap and water as needed.
  2. Wet the cloth or scrubbers with the hand soap. Wash and scrub the dirty parts of the leather item you are cleaning. Repeat to satisfaction if necessary.
  3. Allow the leather item you cleaned to air dry. This can take 24 hours or more if you have been cleaning leather furniture.

Source: eHow

“I was so happy with how they turned out so I thought I’d share,” she said.

‘I am very curious how my daughter’s shoes will look when I pick her up from school soon and whether they will stay that way.’

A group member asked if the shoes came out slippery and greasy, and the mother replied that they didn’t suspect the leather was absorbing the oil.

According to Favorite leathervegetable oil seeps into the durable material protecting it from water damage and stains and keeping it hydrated to prevent drying.

Other moms shared their handy tricks for polishing leather shoes.

“I used to use baby oil. I hated polishing my school shoes,” said one woman.

“Vaseline will also save and waterproof them,” another explained, and a third said, “Banana peels apparently work, too.”

“Black felt-tip pen over the chafe marks works wonders,” suggested a fourth.

Pros and cons: Can you clean leather shoes with vegetable oil?


  • Vegetable oil is a natural product
  • It’s cheap and easy to find
  • Vegetable oil will soften and condition your leather
  • It prevents water damage
  • It gives leather a natural shine
  • It is easy to apply


  • Vegetable oil can be made from a combination of different oils
  • It can get rancid
  • It requires frequent use to keep leather conditioned
  • It darkens leather in the long run
  • It can make leather surfaces sticky
  • It can attract dust and dirt
  • It is not suitable for all types of leather

Source: Favorite leather

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