Sorry - but I wish to maintain my shoe tongues in the same condition as straight out of the box. Dirty tongues may not be too visible to your colleagues, friends, or associates. But neither is dirty underwear. And most often, if you know you have dirty shoe tongues and you know you don't change your underwear as often as you should - you will be the first one who knows the difference, and it will show in your self-esteem, confidence, and outlook. Invest an extra 120 seconds for removing and replacing the laces, and it will mean the world to your self worth.
How often some may remove their laces before adding any product - may be similar to how often some may pull out the sofa in their home to clean underneath and against the wall. As a youngster, the full cleaning of our home in portions (living room, bedrooms, etc) meant just that (a full cleaning). But we did not perform the full cleaning every week in every room, but rather - rotation of rooms for full cleaning - including pulling the beds out, chairs out, dressers, everything where normal dust settles. The regular weekly cleaning always included a surface clean - vacuum, dusting, glass cleaning. But I do recall my mother mentioning she was raised to clean under the sofa and against the walls on the full cleaning schedule. She also mentioned that anyone who showed neglect in one area of their life would most certainly show neglect in their home and automobiles. (I was the one who started paying attention to how men either maintained or neglected their shoes, no matter how well groom their suits looked)
As for shoes, what is required on a day to day wear? Maybe it's just a quick brush and buff, or a minor application of polish products to portions of the shoes. But if the routine includes the entire upper - then OFF come the laces!
Here are some other well known quotes:
"Remove the shoe laces! The lazy way to polish shoes is with laces in. But that leads to getting polish on them.
"Sticky laces lie.
"Destroy and impair the luster of the tongue by permitting long term neglect.
"Avoid the discrepancy between the color of the tip of the shoe and the tongue where the lace is."
(The last quote is my favorite)