Thursday, January 29, 2009

Alternatives to Using Shoe Polish

One of my childhood memories is polishing my father’s shoes for work. We children all had our chores that helped to keep our family up and running. One of mine was shining my father’s shoes for work. I used to work really hard trying to make his shoes the shiniest he had ever worn. I wish I had known about these two methods back then. Sure beats a tin of polish, a well-used rag and a stiff brush for buffing.

Shoe polish can be toxic. Here's what the Dept. of Health and Human Services says about shoe polish:
[Emergency Instructions:]
INHALATION: Remove to fresh air. Contact a physician if irritation occurs.

EYE CONTACT: Flush eyes with water. Contact a physician if irritated.

SKIN CONTACT: Wash skin thoroughly with soap and water. If irritation occurs, contact a physician.

Product will temporarily stain skin. Direct eye contact may cause irritation of the eye.

Some cities have recognized the toxicity of shoe polish and taken steps to recycle it separately from other trash. In Los Angeles and most other places, shoe polish is disallowed in the regular trash. It must be disposed of as a hazardous material, because it often contains materials like naphtha and turpentine.

There are two completely organic ways of polishing your shoes without adding any burden to the environment.

Use a banana peel. The oils and potassium in the banana polish and preserve your shoes. Here are the directions:

1. Eat banana.
2. Rub the inside of the banana against the surface of your shoe.
3. Acquire soft cloth. Buff shoes.
4. Compost peel.

Use any vegetable oil.

1. Clean all dirt from shoes.
2. Place a couple drops of any vegetable oil on a soft cloth.
3. Rub all oil into shoes.
4. Buff and wear.

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