My one and only New Year’s Resolution this year was to make one eco-friendly/self-sufficient change per month for the year 2009. Once a month we will either convert from one product to another greener one or, better yet, learn to make something ourselves.
January came and went without a task (that’s thanks to the economy), so I’m doing two in February to make up for it. January’s task was completed this weekend: home made shoe polish.
I used the recipe I found in this Wikibooks article, which was exerpted from The New P.W.M.U. Cookery Book of 1941, by the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union of Victoria (Australia). The three half-pint jars in the picture came out pretty well — the mixture is creamy and an effective emollient for leather, but it didn’t incorporate as cohesively as I’d hoped. I think that my shortcut of using flaked Irish Spring (which is real soap, but has perfumes and dyes that the other ingredients may have reacted to) instead of good old fashioned soap flakes may have been the cause. One of the jars in the picture is MIA now. When I started the project it was after dark and I didn’t want to have to go outside to get charcoal for the black pigment. So I grabbed some the next morning and tried to melt one of the jars and add the charcoal powder . . . which was a long and messy disaster. I think it would have worked if I had followed the directions, but my cheat resulted in a think, weak layer of gray beeswax floating on top of what appeared to be black ink the consistency of water.
But, at any rate, the neutral colored polish works just fine. Here’s what it did for my beloved Docs. The boot on the right got a liberal wipe-down with the new polish and the one on the left is just as scuffed as ever. Not too shabby!