What Is Shoe Polish?
Shoe polishes / Waxes, are organic solvents and dyes. Solvents are selected to match the waxes. Around 70% of shoe polish is solvent based so this is going to have an adverse affect on your leather seats as solvents remove the paint – again car seats are not the same as how shoes are finished off.
In shoe waxes / polishes, Nigrosin is one of the most common dyes used in black shoes, the main industry use for Nigrosin is the pen market industry due to its covering power and performance hence why it’s used in shoes.
Shoe waxes / polishes have a very high content of volatile solvents, wax-based shoe polish hardens after application, but retains its gloss levels. When buffed and friction happens the shine gets higher, due to the wax content, this attracts dust and dirt to the surface cause premature wear to take place to leather seats.
Volatile solvents are extremely dangerous to your health and let off gases, that rise into the air. With this being inside a car, this is vapourised more often and each time you enter your car, you’re releasing volatile gases that could kill you. Volatile solvents gasses, when inhaled, can cause a state of intoxication and long-term nerve and organ damage.
Some shoe polishes when you open the tins you will notice a white bloom on the surface or this appears after use on the surface inside the tin, this is due to poorly blended shoes waxes / polish, what appears on the surface is stearin.
In the 18th century shoes became more popular with a shiny varnished look to them, so the need for better waxes / polish become more apparent as dubbing did not leave a depth of shine required. People began home brewing products mainly using beeswax and lanolin to create the shine desired and the protection needed to keep them waterproof.
One of the first companies to set up production in England were the Warren brothers in London, in 1795-1798 they began the production of blacking as it was known back then, they began as partners and in the end competing companies.
Jonathan Warrens blacking company was the first known employer of Charles Dickens at a tender age of 12 in 1823.
In 1801 a competing company in London was formed by Day and Martin, they produced two forms a liquid polish and a paste polish for shoes. The main exclusive uses for blacking was the army, the good old days of spit and polish dubbing to create that shine. Army personnel used to spend several hours hand buffing boots to get a mirror shine on the leathers surface to protect them and waterproof them.
In todays market shoe polishes and waxes have declined in sales due to the introduction of fake materials and sneaker style footwear, but those passionate about quality still need a quality shoes wax to protect and prevent damage happening to fine hand made shoes using crust leathers, where the shoes are buffed with creams to colour and create two tones on shoes also.
Pigmented leather shoes are more durable and require less attention to polishing and waxing due to the surface of the leather being painted and then sealed over with a clear coat sealer. Whereas traditional hand crafted leathers made from a crust require buffing, waxes and polishes with coloured products to keep the colour and protect them and to feed the leather as it’s porous and open to the elements.