How to: Care for (and fix) Patent Leather

I have MANY patent leather shoes, that I love, love, love, (including this weeks pair) but occasionally they get a little worn around the edges. So here’s a few tips for caring for, cleaning and repairing patent leather products (not just shoes).


Patent leather is leather that has been treated in the final stages of drying with a lacquer (or for cheaper versions plastic) to give a high gloss finish. So it’s nice to keep it glossy! Before wearing patent shoes, always give them a shine over with a lint free cloth, to keep them dust free and “slippery” (as in, when you accidently knock your heels together you don’t get stuck and fall face first into the ground…. it’s been done).

The heat of some places (Queensland most definately included) can cause havoc on two pieces of patent leather lying together, so before putting your shoes away, make sure there is a cloth sitting in between the leathers. This will ensure they don’t stick as they heat and cool. A 99c Chux will do the trick!



If your shoes are a little scuffed, here’s a few simple steps to getting them looking brand new again.

Materials: An eraser, a clean cloth, cotton ball and rubbing alcohol.


1. For the larger scuff marks, use the eraser to “erase” them. The rubber won’t mark the leather but will cause enough friction to remove the scuffs. Keep wiping the shoe clean with the cloth in between erasing.

2. Once you’ve removed most of the scuffs, dip the cotton ball into the rubbing alcohol and wipe off the remaining marks. Again, clean over with the cloth to take away any residue.



Some marks, rips, holes and tears are beyond “erasing” and need a little more handy work. I’ve split it into two different sections, small marks /gouges and rips / tears, as there are different ways to repair them. Don’t fear – it’s really not that hard!

Small Marks / Gouges

Materials: An eraser, a clean cloth, cotton ball and rubbing alcohol and a crayon in a matching colour to the shoe or matching shoe polish, clear nail polish.


1. Follow the instructions above for cleaning the leather, it must be fully cleaned prior to trying to repair it.

2. Smudge the crayon into the mark to be filled. Use your finger to blend it in and a cloth to remove excess. Alternatively, use the shoe polish in a matching colour to fill the mark. This gives a deeper colour and is better for larger marks.

3. Allow the crayon / polish to set onto the shoe for 20 minutes, then clean over again with a damp cloth. If the mark is a little larger, use clear nail polish to give it back some shine. Like in grade 1, be careful not to go outside the edges! Voila!


Rips and Tears

Materials: An eraser, a clean cloth, cotton ball and rubbing alcohol, patent leather patch (for holes), scissors, razor blade and super strength craft glue (that dries clear).


1. Follow the instructions above for cleaning the leather, it must be fully cleaned prior to repairing it.

2. Cut your patch down to the size of the rip or hole. You can get Patent leather patches from craft stores, like Spotlight, or you may even be able to get some from the local shoe man. You won’t need much, so he might give you some scraps for free – no harm in asking!

3. Using the razor blade, scrape the edges down so they’re as thin as they could possibly be. The best way is to put the leather upside down on a hard surface and gently work the blade away from you, rotating the piece of leather. Don’t push too hard or you’ll cut the edge off. Patience, in this instance, is a virtue!

4. Apply the glue to the hole that needs fixing. Fit the patch down and starting from the middle, gently press out any excess glue and wipe away with a clean cloth. Once dry, use a warm clean cloth to clean the area and shine before the next use.

5. Store them with a clean cloth, so they don’t rest in contact with other leather (see the care section!)


Remember these??? Sachi – $20!  Jess xo




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2 thoughts on “How to: Care for (and fix) Patent Leather

  1. Ida says:

    just what I needed I have a pair of nursing shoes the tops have been gourged works wonders

  2. jgwynne says:

    Glad we could be of assistance Ida! xx

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