Leather naturally shrinks when it is unused for a long period. The material also shrinks when it is exposed to heat, warm water, or harsh weathering. Don’t be frustrated when your beloved leather gloves become ill-fitted after a time of use. It is natural and can be fixed in a few easy steps. So, how to stretch leather gloves?
As simple as it might sound, water relaxes leather fibers and allows them to stretch out. You can soak your gloves in water and wear them for one to two hours. The soft fibers will conform to your hand’s shape.
But water can damage delicate leather. It takes out leather’s natural oil, causes wrinkles, and makes it flaccid. If the manufacturer advises not to soak your gloves in water, you will need a leather stretcher sprayer.
Spray the product inside the area you want to stretch. Wait for one to two minutes for the leather to absorb and put the gloves on. You can extend your fingers and wrench fists. The sprayer dries after a few minutes and leaves you a pair of perfectly-fitted gloves.
Read below for a step-by-step guide.
Table of Contents
What You Will Need
We recommend stretching work or garden leather gloves with water because these gloves are designed to handle dirt and moisture. Their materials are suited for soaking in water. Remember to check the product description before proceeding. For this method, you’ll need a bucket of cold water.
If you’re stretching delicate leather gloves, purchase a bottle of shoe stretcher sprayer. Such sprayers help loosen the fibers to stretch out leather gloves and are safe to use on fragile leather surfaces.
Other than that, you should prepare:
- A leather conditioner
- One pair of disposable gloves
- Clean cloth
Steps to Stretch Leather Gloves
Step 1. Stretch the gloves
- Submerge your gloves in the water bucket, making sure they soak entirely.
- Leave them for five to ten minutes to soften up.
- Put on your disposable gloves and take the leather gloves out.
- Gently press them to get rid of excess water.
- Wear the leather gloves on top of the disposable gloves.
- Extend your fingers, then make a fist to stretch the leather.
- Keep the gloves on for at least one hour and remove them to dry.
You can check out this video on how to stretch leather gloves for visualization:
With the stretcher sprayer
- Shake the bottle well before use.
- Spray it on the inside of the gloves. If you want to stretch a small area, put the product on a cloth and dab it on.
- Wait for one to two minutes for the leather to absorb the product.
- Put on your disposable gloves and wear the leather gloves on top.
- Extend your fingers, then make a fist to stretch the leather.
- Repeat until the sprayer is dry, which only takes a few minutes.
Step 2. Clean the residue
Wipe off any excess and let your gloves dry thoroughly before applying the leather conditioner.
Step 3. Apply leather conditioner
Stretching gloves, especially with water, will withdraw the leather’s natural oil. You need to apply a balm to restore the moisture and prevent cracks. So, don’t skip this step.
Before you apply, always test a small spot to make sure the agent doesn’t discolor or dry out the leather. Use a clean cloth to apply a small amount and let it sit for at least an hour before you wipe off the excess.
Most conditioners will darken the leather when you first apply, but the gloves should return to their original color when they dry. If the spot stays darkened, you need another conditioner.
Now, put a dime-sized amount of leather balm on a cloth and rub the leather in circular motions. You should cover the entire surface with a thin, even layer. Don’t replace leather balm with DIY products like coconut or olive oil. The leather won’t absorb these oils, resulting in slippery and messy gloves.
You should wait a few hours for the conditioner to dry. Finally, wipe away any residue, and you’ll have well-fitted, smooth, and hydrated leather gloves.
How Should Leather Gloves Fit?
After stretching leather gloves, you should put them on and off several times to make sure they fit properly.
The gloves should fit snugly and don’t leave too much room around the fingers. You should be able to clench your hands into a fist and extend your fingers comfortably. Try to pick up small objects like bolts, nails, or pencils or perform your day-to-day jobs to see whether the gloves allow free finger movements.
If the gloves still feel tight, you can repeat the process. But do leather gloves stretch over time? Yes, when worn regularly, leather naturally stretches out. So, don’t overstretch your pair. Plus, stretching gloves excessively will damage the fibers.
Tips to Prevent Leather Gloves From Shrinking
- Read the product description before putting your gloves into the washing machine along with other clothes. Manufacturers don’t recommend machine-washing leather products. The machine cycles can be harsh on delicate fabric and deform your gloves.
- Hot water and heat will shrink leather. Don’t leave your gloves outdoors for too long or dry them under the hot sun after washing.
- Never put leather gloves in a laundry dryer or dishwasher. In the wet seasons, your gloves might take longer to dry, but don’t get impatient. If you get caught in the rain, place the gloves in a towel and press it to remove all the excess moisture before hanging them to dry.
- Don’t soak leather gloves in water to wash. Water relaxes leather fibers and can stretch or shrink them. Refer to our post “How to wash leather gloves” for the most efficient procedure.
- Avoid washing leather gloves regularly. Two or three times a year should be good.
- Reapply the leather conditioner every two months to help lengthen the gloves’ life span and protect them from shrinking.
- Hang your gloves in the wardrobe to store. Don’t place them under a heavy pile of clothes or in the living room that is full of sunshine.
Above are the two methods that work best to stretch my Mechanix work gloves. The Internet is full of ways to stretch and shrink leather gloves. But consider carefully before applying any untested method (e.g., using heat, ice, or alcohol) on your precious leather gloves.
What method did you choose? How did it work out for you? If you have a technique that works even better, let me know in the comments. I’m eager to test out new methods. Thank you for reading!
Veronica is our content editor. She is a talent in delivery. Her main work is editing and writing articles that are both informative and simple to follow. She is in charge of synthesizing our understanding of what personal protection equipment (PPE) is needed in each job, how to best apply it, and how to visualize that equipment.