Ask any baseball player about their first love, and you’re more than a little bit likely to hear a story about their first baseball glove. Perfectly broken in, with just the right combination of flexibility and structure to feel like an extension of the hand, a great baseball glove is a piece of gear that can never quite be replaced. However much we love our gloves, though, there’s no doubt we put them through a lot of punishment. From infield dirt to sweat, sunscreen, and pine tar, your glove has almost certainly seen its fair share of abuse. Keeping your glove cared for can extend its life and make sure it continues to serve you well for many summers to come. Learn a few tips and tricks to clean your baseball glove.
Remove As Much Debris As Possible While Your Glove Is Dry
Baseball gloves are made of leather, and like all leather items, they don’t respond well to water. Water binds to the oil molecules in leather, and as the water evaporates, it strips out those natural oils. This process can leave your glove brittle, discolored, and subject to breakage. So, the more you can remove dirt, dust, and debris from your glove when it’s dry, the better your results will be.
For this part of the process, a horsehair or tampico brush with soft to medium bristles can remove dirt and dust without scratching or damaging the leather. To clean out your glove’s crevices and interior, a soft-bristled toothbrush or dedicated tool like this leather brush set can help you remove accumulated dirt, sweat residue, and other debris from hard-to-reach areas.
Use A Designated Leather Cleaner Or Saddle Soap
If you’ve played baseball for any length of time, you’ve surely heard a million different methods to get a glove into top shape. Everything from shaving cream, to Dawn dish soap, to hand soap or even putting the glove into the washing machine has been suggested as a potential way to clean a baseball glove. We don’t recommend any of these methods, as even a gentle hand soap or dishwashing liquid can dry out leather.
Luckily, there are a number of great leather cleaners out there, each formulated to help your glove’s leather keep its shape and softness. Although frequently advertised for their ability to clean leather furniture or car seats, these cleaners are generally safe and effective for a glove. However, just to be sure, we recommend testing the cleaner on a small area before using it on the whole glove.
Using a microfiber cloth, work the leather cleaner over the entire surface of the glove using a circular motion. Be sure to work the cleaner in between the glove’s fingers, into the pocket, and scrub gently along any knots or stitches.
To clean the inside of the glove, use the same leather cleaner, wiping the inside of the palm in a circular motion. To get inside the glove’s fingers, you can use a soft-bristled toothbrush or specialty leather brush, or use a cloth draped over the handle of a screwdriver or similar long object to scrub the inside of the fingers gently.
Once you have thoroughly applied the leather cleaner or saddle soap, it’s time to remove it. Soak a microfiber cloth or rag in cool water, and wring it out until it is just barely damp, and wipe the cleaner off of the outside and inside of the mitt. To get inside the fingers, wrap the damp rag around your toothbrush or screwdriver handle, and wipe gently to remove the cleaner.
Dry Your Glove Thoroughly After Cleaning
To ensure that even the small amount of water applied to your glove doesn’t damage it, make sure to dry your glove completely after you’ve cleaned it. First, wipe down the glove with a clean dry cloth to remove any water that might be left on its surface, then leave it out to air dry naturally.
Placing the glove in front of a fan can make sure the interior is completely dried out and not subject to mold or cracking. Plan to leave the glove to dry for several hours. We don’t recommend placing your mitt in the sun or using a UV light — a dry spot indoors should be sufficient to ensure your glove gets completely dry.
Use A Leather Conditioner To Maintain Your Glove’s Softness And Feel
Properly maintaining your glove is as important as keeping it clean. Once it is completely dry, use a soft cloth to apply a glove conditioner to both the outside and inside of your glove, following the manufacturer’s instructions for the conditioner you use. Using a glove conditioner on a regular basis can maintain your glove’s flexibility and extend its life.
Keep Your Glove Looking And Feeling Great For Years To Come
At ReLace My Glove, we know that your favorite baseball glove is more than a piece of equipment — it’s the most important thing you bring to the field each day. Our repair and ReLacing services ensure that you can keep your glove in great condition for years to come. If your glove is in need of new laces, a total repair, or a perfect-feeling break-in, get in touch by giving us a call at 214-681-9055 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.