Leather can be a tricky material when it comes to cleaning and maintaining, especially leather work gloves. It is because they are exposed directly to dirt particles, dust, and mud.I have to admit cleaning leather work gloves is not simple. Using improper cleaning methods can cause damage to your leather gloves and ruin them for good.
Therefore, we curated the following steps to give you very easy-to-follow instructions on how to clean leather work gloves. The best part is we only need what is already available at home. In short, we will clean the gloves with a homemade leather cleaning solution, rewash them with mild soap, rinse them underwater, wash the interior if necessary, and dry them. Read below to learn more.
Table of Contents
- What You Will Need to Wash Leather Work Gloves
- How to Clean Leather Work Gloves
What You Will Need to Wash Leather Work Gloves
1. Your leather work gloves
Leatherwork gloves are imperative to protect our hands while doing heavy-duty work, so don’t neglect taking care of them. If your pair of gloves causes you discomfort, irritations, or itchiness while using, then it is time to give them a thorough clean. Quickly grab your leather work gloves and move to the next step.
2. White vinegar
You will need white vinegar to remove the stains and kill bacteria on your gloves.
White vinegar is a clear liquid with a sour taste that can help remove stains on leather surfaces. It is a common household cooking ingredient, so you may already have it at home. However, keep in mind that, in this case, we prefer white over regular vinegar. White vinegar contains more acidity, which makes it stronger and more effective for cleaning.
3. A soft toothbrush
Prepare a soft toothbrush that you no longer use. We will use this toothbrush to brush off the grime. Make sure the bristles are soft enough so the leather surface is out of harm’s way.
4. Saddle soap
Saddle soap is a common detergent used for leather. It contains mild soap, softening ingredients, and beeswax. These will not only help clean the leather but also condition and protect it. Any saddle soap that is available can get the job done.
However, if you cannot find saddle soap, mild soap is an excellent replacement. Remember to avoid highly fragranced and anti-bacterial soaps. Instead, choose a bottle or bar of soap that is considered mild and can be for sensitive skin.
5. Soft cloth or cotton ball
Prepare a few pieces of soft cloth and cotton balls.
How to Clean Leather Work Gloves
Now that you have gathered all you need, proceed:
Step 1: Remove the grime
Wet the toothbrush you’ve prepared with clean water and gently scrub off any dirt, grease, or mud accumulated in your gloves. Remember to use very gentle motions so you don’t damage the leather. Also, pay close attention to small details, such as the fingertips and folds.
Step 2: Remove the stains
If there are still stains left on your gloves, as mentioned above, you will need white vinegar.
First of all, make a mixture of white vinegar and clean water (equal parts of each). Then, soak a soft cloth or cotton ball into the liquid, and dab it on the stains. Dab several times until the stains are covered entirely in the solution. Wait for a few minutes until the stains completely dissolve. You will need to use a clean cloth to remove it. Finally, wait for them to dry.
Step 3: Wash your leather work gloves with saddle soap
Now that most of the dirt has come off, we will do a final cleaning round to assure that there is no grease or dust left.
In a large bowl or cup of water, add a small amount of saddle soap. Soak a soft cloth into the liquid and gently coat your leather work gloves; don’t forget the folds and fingers. Rub against the dirty spots several times to make sure all the grease is off.
If there is still stubborn dirt left, you will need to dampen them with the liquid and wait until they soften. But don’t leave your gloves with the solution on for too long. Finally, wet a soft cloth with clean water and use it to wipe off the soap completely.
This step not only gives your gloves a final thorough clean but also helps protect the leather in the long term because saddle soap preserves leather surfaces.
You can replace saddle soaps with mild soaps. However, regular soaps tend to remove the natural oils in leather, leaving them stiff in the long term. Keep that in mind when washing leather work gloves.
Step 4: Rinse
Carefully rinse your gloves under running water. Gently wipe them with your fingertips until there is no trace of soap left. Take your time with this step, as soap tends to take longer to wash off leather than other surfaces, such as skin, glass, or dishes. If the gloves are dry with soap on, the quality of the leather will be affected. Also, they can itch or irritate your skin.
Step 5: Wash the interior if needed
If you also wish to clean your leather gloves’ interior, go ahead and turn them inside out.
You will need the mixture of water and white vinegar you’ve made in step number 2. Firstly, dampen a cloth with the mixture and gently dab to cover the gloves entirely. Be careful to apply an adequate volume of the solution here, as you don’t want to soak the gloves with liquid or apply too little solution. After that, you will need to let the solution sit for about 15 to 20 minutes. Lastly, wipe off the solution.
Don’t worry about rewashing the interior of your leather work gloves with soap, as the vinegar’s acidity is enough to dissolve away scum, dust, sweat stains and bacteria.
Step 6: Dry the gloves
Don’t hang them directly under the sun or in the strong wind like regular fabric. Remember that you are cleaning leather work gloves, and they require extra care.
You will need to allow the interior of the gloves to dry, then turn them right side out to dry the exterior. For both the interior and exterior, repeat these steps for each side.
Squeeze them gently so you can remove most of the moisture. Then, lay them flat on a clean surface or hang them downwardly on a line. Allow your gloves to dry naturally in a ventilated place. Avoid direct sunlight or external heat because heat can damage and stiffen the leather. While hanging them, you should check and pull them several times to help maintain their original shapes.
Step 7: Final check
Now, your pair of gloves should look brand new. Take a closer look and try them on to see if there is any dirt left or if they are still a little damp and need more time to dry completely.
Step 8: Repeat the steps if needed
If you followed all the steps above but the stubborn grime doesn’t come off entirely, then feel free to repeat the procedure one more time. Sometimes, the smudge clings too tight to the leather surface and does not come off immediately. But a few repeats will do the trick.
Step 9: Build a habit
With proper cleaning and maintaining methods, you might be surprised at how durable your leather work gloves are. It is recommended that you wash your leather work gloves every three months. Do not wait until they become so dirty that the leather surface is affected.
In conclusion, when it comes to cleaning leather work gloves, proper cleaning methods are crucial. Don’t toss them in the washing machine or use regular soap and water. Remember to wash them once every three months with the steps above. Save this article so you can refer back to it in the future.
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Having worked in the field of personal protective equipment for over two decades, Andrew Carnegie is a specialist in the field.
At EDC, he strives to improve performance efficiency and promote workplace safety for EDC’s readers and customers. He also researches the most up-to-date equipment that has earned relevant accreditation for use in a wide range of industries and specialties.