Advice & Tips

How To Clean Leather Gloves: The Complete Guide

Leather gloves are strong and will last for a long time, but if you take care of them, they will last much longer. Due to the dryness of the material, leather, which is made of animal skin, reacts in a manner similar to that of your own skin while also being more absorbent.

As a result, leather absorbs liquids, dirt, grime, oils (especially from your own hands), and other substances, as well as picking up scuff marks, scratches, and abrasions. It’s time to clean your gloves when they start to look worn down or dirty. A quick cleaning will extend the life of your gloves and keep them looking new.

However, this does not entail washing them in a machine. Follow our simple step-by-step guides for the best results.

Exterior Glove Cleaning

It’s essential to choose a mild soap without any harsh chemicals before washing your gloves. These will remove the leather’s natural oils, making the gloves uncomfortable and stiff. Additionally, removing the oils drastically reduces their lifespan prematurely. Make sure you have a gentle soap on hand, such as saddle soap or Marseille soap.

  1. To get rid of stains on your gloves, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a solution. To do this, coat your gloves with a cotton ball dipped in the solution. Dab the solution off with a soft microfiber cloth, then leave them to dry.
  2. Apply your chosen soap to a damp cloth and lather your leather gloves, making sure to get soap in between the fingers. Next, thoroughly wipe off the soap using a clean, damp microfiber cloth. The leather should have a nice sheen thanks in part to this microfiber cloth.
  3. To help the leather stretch and regain its original shape while your gloves are drying, pull them on a few times. Avoid using sunlight or heat from the outside to dry them. It can stiffen and become brittle when wet leather dries too quickly.

What about waterproofing your leather gloves now that they are clean? While not entirely necessary, this is also simple to accomplish. Leather will hold up just fine in the snow or rain as long as it isn’t submerged or dropped in a puddle. If you discover that you need to waterproof your gloves, use a premium product like Nikwax to help fend off moisture. These procedures work with real and fake leather, but not suede. Suede needs to be handled carefully because it is the most delicate leather and cannot be cleaned with a soft wire brush or toothbrush when it gets too dirty.

Interior Glove Cleaning

Wool, silk, and cashmere can be used to line leather gloves. The lining of your gloves is difficult to clean because leather cannot be completely submerged. If you need to clean the lining right away and can’t wait to hire a pro, you can try the following:

  1. Make the interior of your gloves visible by turning them inside out.
  2. Spray the lining with a solution made by combining white vinegar and water in an equal ratio, being careful not to soak the fabric.
  3. After letting the solution sit for 20 minutes, pat it dry.
  4. In a cool, well-ventilated area, allow the lining to completely dry. Never try to dry them yourself, and never expose them to direct sunlight.
  5. Turning them inside out and pulling them on will assist in helping them regain their original shape. Smooth out any creases in the exterior leather before applying a leather conditioner.

You could also lightly mist the inside of the gloves with this mixture, hydrogen peroxide, or rubbing alcohol if you’d prefer not to go that route.

a pair of leather gloves

Cleaning Different Types Of Gloves

While the article has covered the basics and overview of how you are able to clean your leather gloves, different types of leather gloves will have different connotations of the process.

The articles listed below provide links to more detailed information on how to approach cleaning various types of gloves.

How To Clean Leather Golf Gloves

Because of their inherent fragility, golf gloves need to be cleaned with special care. Take extra care to avoid wearing out an already thin material surface or shrinking your gloves during the process.

How To Clean Leather Boxing Gloves

Leather boxing gloves are sturdier by nature but we need to take extra care to not compromise the protective padding that can bubble and break. As a result of the significant amounts of sweat that are likely to accumulate if proper care is not taken, it is also important to pay close attention to effective cleaning and drying the interiors of the gloves.

How To Clean Leather Welding Gloves

Leather welding gloves can be made from a wide range of materials, depending on their intended use. We want to make sure that your leather welding gloves stay comfortable and fit for purpose after you clean them due to their heavy use and how protective it is to the user. Good cleaning habits should be formed earlier because your cleaning cycles will be more frequent than those of a typical use glove.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Washing Leather Gloves

You should be able to clean your leather gloves safely and effectively after following the above-described steps. I’ll just point out a couple of common blunders you should steer clear of when cleaning.

Using Unsuitable Cleaning Solutions Or Wet Wipes

Selecting the incorrect or inappropriate cleaning solutions or agents can result in permanent harm. The common rule of thumb to go by is to avoid alcohol and acetone as ingredients. Your leather gloves may be surface-damaged by both ingredients and bleached as a result. 

Wet wipes, nail polish remover, hand sanitizer, and other products are examples of common cleaning products that contain either ingredient. The best advice we can give is to use a specialized leather cleaning solution made for the job.

Overwashing And Not Wiping Off Excess Moisture Before Drying

This error is especially important when cleaning your leather gloves with water-based solutions. 

If you skip this step, your leather gloves will be more susceptible to water damage and mold growth, particularly if the environment where you’re storing them is naturally more humid.