Leather gloves. Cleaning, maintenance, and everything you need to know

nullLeather gloves can be a statement piece to your beautiful winter outfit or practical working attire. Even though the two are quite different, as long as they are made of real leather, both require special attention and maintenance. Proper cleaning is of crucial importance, but leather care is as important.
Leather can be damaged by regular exposure to water, wear and tear, and other substances that may leave a mark. By regularly cleaning your gloves, you will reduce staining and damage.
Apart from the cleaning itself, leather also needs regular conditioning. That will help it stay soft, shiny, and in proper shape, so you can enjoy your favourite gloves for longer.

In this article, we will share the best way in which you can clean your leather gloves. Keep in mind that most soft leathers (aniline and Nappa) are suitable for this process. However, suede and nubuck leathers require a different cleaning method. Another thing to remember is that gloves lined with natural fur should only be cleaned by professionals. While you can remove surface stains (such as from the fingertips) at home, the actual cleaning of such gloves at home may lead to damage.

Cleaning leather gloves

  1. Remove heavy soil – Get rid of surface soil by mixing a 1:1 solution of distilled white vinegar and warm water in a bowl. Grab a soft cloth, dip it in the mixture and gently wipe the stained areas. Keep moving to a clean part of the cloth as dirt transfers.
    If you are dealing with mud, allow it to dry before attempting to clean it. This way you will avoid smudges. Once the mud is dry, use a soft-bristled brush to remove it.
  2. For ink stains – Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol to erase ink stains from leather. Begin by lightly rubbing the ink stain with the swab. Harsh scrubbing might cause harm to the leather. As the ink comes off, discard the swab and replace it with a new one. Work slowly to avoid spreading the ink stain.
  3. Mix a cleaning solution – Make a warm solution of water and a mild liquid soap, such as Castile or saddle soap, in a small bowl. If you’re using a tin of bar or gel soap, wet a microfiber cloth and run it across the bar to generate foam.
  4. Clean the gloves – Lay both gloves flat on a soft clean towel. Use a soft sponge or a microfiber cloth dipped in the cleaning solution and wipe the gloves starting at the wrist and gently working your way towards the fingertips. Do not forget to clean between the fingers. Make sure you do not saturate the leather. Keep the cloth damp and not dripping.
  5. Clean the inside of your gloves – If possible, flip the gloves inside out and clean them again. To help control bacteria and odour, wash off the interior of the gloves with a cloth dampened with a 1:1 mixture of distilled white vinegar and water.
  6. Rinse the gloves – Use a clean cloth dipped in plain water (wring it until it is not dripping and just damp) and wipe down the surface of the gloves. Make sure you completely remove all soapy residue.
  7. Air-dry the gloves right side out, while they are placed on a clean, absorbent towel. Never place leather gloves in direct sunlight or near a heat source. After an hour, check on them and put them on your hands to shape and stretch the leather. Turn them inside out if the inside is too damp. Wait another hour before turning them right side out and putting them back on to help them dry smoothly. The majority of gloves dry completely within eight hours.
  8. Condition the leather – In order to avoid damage and cracks, condition the leather. Use a commercial leather conditioner and apply it following the instructions on the packaging. You can do this step whenever you feel it is needed even if you did not clean your gloves.

How often do gloves need to be cleaned?

Even rarely used leather dress gloves should be cleaned and conditioned once or twice a year to keep the leather supple. It’s a good idea to clean and condition winter gloves right before storing them for the season.
Gloves that are frequently used should be completely washed anytime they become noticeably soiled, but only when required, as leather does not appreciate being wet too often. Leather work gloves can be damp-wiped with a vinegar/water solution after each use, but they should be thoroughly cleaned and conditioned every couple of months.

Repairs on leather gloves

If the seam on your gloves is ripped, take them to a shoe repair shop for adjustments. Most home repair methods are unsuccessful and might cause extra harm to expensive leather. A number of leather-repair kits are available to supply the materials for applying self-adhesive patching material to holes or restitching damaged seams on utilitarian work gloves when appearance isn’t essential.