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Solvents in Shoe Polish

Star

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I popped into a Shoe Repairer the other day to take a look at his range of shoe polish. I mentioned in general speak the Kiwi brand to which he grimaced and then responded that I should avoid that brand as it contains solvents which is damaging leather. Instead, I walked out of the store with a tube of Colllonil. (also 4 x more expensive than a can of Kiwi)

I know the Kiwi Parade gloss has been mentioned on these forums as one to avoid however I find it hard to believe that a brand like Kiwi would use solvents if it thought is is bad for leather. I am assuming that 100 years of experience and endless amounts of R&D dollars would have discovered this and appropriate action taken if it was found to be the case.
 

r_fine

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I heard the same thing several years ago. But I must admit that rather than reseach it I just moved on to another polish (Church's house brand).

Would really like to read input from those in the know.
 

habitue

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Your Shoe Repairer is telling you bullshit. It's no possible to put a good polish in plastic tube, to tired to explain it here. Rule of thumb: Always go for a wax in a tin and from time to time emulsion from a glas, e.g. Saphir medaille d'or.

BTW: Church's cream is from Avel, quite a good company!
 

Zenny

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Nope, Kiwi is fine.
 

MarcellHUN

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I use both of them: Meltonian and Kiwi too. It depends on the leather and the technique you use to shine your shoes.
 

Star

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I did go to another Shoe Repairer (50meters from the first) and this guy gave me the complete opposite story. Kiwi according to him is the best in the world while Collonil quote : "I should not take it even if it is given to me for free!". He also then went on to tell me that he would not sell it to me eventhough he had a stash collecting dust in his display case. It would supposedly damage the leather.


I am starting to think that there may be a sleight of too much romanticism when it comes to shoe care. I just wanted the objective facts.

I may toss these two shoe repairs in a ring of jelly and let them fight it out over which is better Kiwi or Collonil. Amazing that two colleague meters apart have such divergent views. There is a third shoe maker so I might ask him and see if I can get him fired up also.
 
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There are definitely some heady solvents in the Kiwi. Its probably the longest running polish in the Shoe care game but does contain Propane, Butane and Napthalene. I can't speak for all polishes out there but Lincoln, Burgol and Meltonian seem to be well represented although I can't comment on their makeup.

Personally I use Tapir Organic Shoe polish which works fine for me. It may be a little more expensive than you are used to but they do list their ingredients on the package and it is Organic.
 

bjh

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boiling point propane = 231.1 K = -43.7 F = -41.9 C
boiling point butane = 273.1 K = 31.9 F = 0.1 C

Kiwi is not likely to contain either.
 

stickonatree

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EG, G&G, vass, and many other high end shoemakers use kiwi to polish their shoes.
 

acidboy

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As solvents are used to dilute chemicals, the Kiwi product your guy might be pertaining to is those 'instant shine' types where the bottle has this brush applicator that you just rub on the shoe sans buffing. Those are not good for the leather.
 

Dmax

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Kiwi shoe polish does contain petroleum distillates, mostly Stoddard solvent and Heavy Naptha with small amounts of Benzene and color dyes. I have not seen any evidence of it causing damage to shoe leather though. Forum consensus is that it probably doesn't, otherwise several high end shoe manufacturers would not be using it. That said, I think Kiwi smells nasty and can can give you a headache if used indoors for a prolonged period of time. Meltonian cream seems to smell less offensive and Colonil even less so.

My personal favorite is the Saphir/Avel line of creams and polishes. They are based on Turpentine (a solvent made from pine), beeswax and carnauba wax. I don't mind the smell, they don't give me headaches and they work well. The ingredients used in Saphir line are a lot more expensive which explains their higher cost when compared to Kiwi.
 

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