Golf gloves are a must-have piece of gear for any golfer. Not only do they provide grip and prevent blisters, but if properly cared for, a high quality leather glove can last for multiple seasons. Many golfers, however, are unaware of the best practices for cleaning and maintaining their leather gloves in order to maximize durability. Follow this guide to learn how to keep your gloves clean and ready for the course.
- Dish soap that is gentle
- toothbrush with soft bristles
- Water bucket or sink
- Microfiber towels and a sponge
- Optional: leather conditioner or cream
When Should You Clean?
After each round of golf, you should clean your gloves. Sweat and dirt buildup from regular use can shorten the life of the leather if left for an extended period of time. After each wear, a quick cleaning will remove sweat debris and salt, which can stiffen and crack the leather over time.
Clean less frequently used gloves once a month or so to keep the leather supple. Storing dirty gloves for an extended period of time will cause the material to degrade faster.
Treatment Before Cleaning
Apply a leather conditioner or cream to the outside of your gloves before immersing them in water. Gently rub it over the entire glove. The conditioner fills in the pores in the leather and forms a barrier to prevent water absorption. After all, leather is skin, and you wouldn’t soak your hands without first moisturizing them!
Select a conditioner made specifically for leather gloves. A small amount of mink oil or other leather treatment will also work. Avoid products that contain harsh chemicals.
The Bath in Water
Fill a sink or bucket halfway with lukewarm water and add a teaspoon of mild dish soap. Any mild soap will do, but avoid using detergents. Allow the gloves to soak for 5-10 minutes after fully immersing them. The water dissolves and separates the dirt and salt from the leather.
For heavy soiling, make a soap and water paste and apply it directly to the gloves. Allow for a few minutes before rinsing to allow the paste to help lift ingrained dirt.
Rinse and agitate
While the gloves are still submerged, gently scrub the exterior with a soft bristle toothbrush. This agitation loosens stuck-on grime and works the soap completely into the pores. Pay special attention to the dirt-collecting fingers and padded palm area.
After scrubbing, drain the water and thoroughly rinse the gloves under cool running water. Rinse inside and out to remove any soap residue that could dry out the leather if left in.
Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to the soak water for extremely sweaty gloves. The alkaline baking soda aids in the removal of acidic sweat salts, which can discolor and degrade leather over time.
Reconditioning and drying
Dry your gloves completely extended, never crumpled together. Crumpling can cause padding to become misshapen and crack. Insert a soft cloth inside each glove to help it maintain its shape.
Lay the gloves flat or hang them to dry away from direct sunlight. After being soaked, leather requires time to dry naturally. After it has dried, reapply leather conditioner to restore moisture and suppleness.
For Enhanced Cleaning Power
For extremely dirty gloves that require extra oomph in the cleaning process, follow these steps:
Mix 2 tablespoons baking soda with 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap to make a cleaning paste. Allow the paste to sit for 10 minutes on dirty or stained areas. The alkaline baking soda, when combined with the scrubbing action of the toothbrush, can help lift stubborn dirt that soaking alone cannot remove.
After scrubbing, thoroughly rinse to remove any paste residue. Once completely dry, apply leather conditioner to the leather.
Upkeep in Between Games
To keep your gloves clean in between deep cleanings, do the following:
- After each round, use a leather wipe or quick cleaner to remove surface dirt.
- To absorb moisture and odors, store with cedar balls or strips.
- Consider switching between two pairs of gloves to extend the life of both.
- If gloves are used infrequently, recondition them with cream or oil on a regular basis.
- Allow gloves to completely dry before storing to avoid mildew.
Your high quality leather golf gloves can last for many seasons of play if properly cared for. Follow these guidelines before, during, and after each use to extend their life. Investing a few extra minutes in glove care will protect your investment in high-performance golf equipment.