I recently wrote about how to winterise your children's shoes when I realised this is a process I could get my children involve in. While shoe polishing is generally an activity for those aged 3yrs + I wanted to have a shoe polish that was completely safe for my toddler to use too. I knew the best option was to find a good homemade DIY shoe polish/conditioner.
Due to the minimal nature of the ingredients I decided to try the recipe at Montessori Services.
2 tablespoons beeswax
1 cup food-grade linseed oil (or flax seed oil)
Here I've used beeswax pellets but when I've used a block I've simply grated the beeswax so it's in smaller and easy to melt pieces. Montessori Services recommend melting the beeswax in the linseed in a double boiler, but I've always safely used the microwave. I put the oil and the wax into a pyrex measuring cup/jug and heat for 20 seconds at a time. I stir the mixture and then heat for another 20 seconds until it is completely melted.
Once it is completely combined I pour the mixture into various round tins until they cool. Once cooled the polish solidifies and you can put a lid on and store them in a cool space or use them straight away. This recipe filled 1 x 200 ml and 9 x 15 ml tins.
This polish is soft and really easy for the toddler to use. Montessori Services liken it to using Vaseline. It isn't as hard as our homemade wood polish for example. For this reason I think it's best to present it to the child in very small reusable tins or jars, perhaps only enough for one or two shoes.
This polish is suitable for leather only (not suede). I love that children can use it on their own shoes but if you are presenting an activity on a tray or possibly for the classroom I think it's fantastic to consider polishing a leather belt, leather wallet or coin purse. Perhaps there are other leather products the child could polish?
We like to apply the polish/conditioner with a little dauber but wipe off the excess and polish with a soft cotton cloth. We use old cotton baby wipes but little polishing mitts would be ideal. Be sure that the shoes are clean to start, clean with a soft damp cloth or small brush.
Other polishing/conditioning ideas include:
- Anna at Eltern Vom Mars has a similar recipe here.
- Natural Shoe Conditioner at Montessori Services. This includes olive oil, carnauba wax, beeswax and lavender essential oil.
- In the UK we have and use the Handmade Beeswax and Carnauba Wax Natural Shoe Polish at Bee Naturals. This includes beeswax, carnauba wax and eucalyptus, orange, lemon and tea tree oils.
- Shoe Polishing (For Leather and Sneakers) Kit including non-toxic polish from Montessori-n-Such.
Essential oils can be added to the polish for a natural and beautiful scent and many also have anti microbial properties that prevent mildew and mould growth. The beeswax and oils condition and nourish the leather and protecting it from outside elements.