How do I wash leather work gloves?

Discussion in 'The Barber Shop' started by dpm802, May 22, 2009.

  1. dpm802

    dpm802 Contributor

    I have a pair of leather gloves that I use at work ... they're made from cowhide, smooth in some places, suede in others. The inside is unfinished leather, no cloth lining or anything. They are designed for dexterity.

    They get quite dirty during the course of a week's work from handling cardboard boxes and what not. A lot of dust, but no chemicals or grease or anything. I've had them about a month now, and its time for a good cleaning.

    My last pair of leather gloves were made of pigskin ... I tried cleaning these with some leather conditioner made for car seats, and I just put the gloves on and squirted some conditioner on and washed them under the kitchen faucet like I was washing my hands, wrung them out and set them up to dry ... they didn't really get any cleaner, and they fell apart on me a few weeks later.

    How should I care for these cowhide gloves? They were only $12 at the hardware store, but I hate the thought of replacing them every month. I have to buy these out of my own pocket, since the cheap rubber gloves the company provides are murder on my hands.

    Can I just toss them in the washing machine when I do my work clothes? Should I wash them by hand? What sort of detergent should I use? Can I use some sort of conditioner on them?

    I'm not worried about how they look. If the cleaning process stains the leather, its not a problem ... but I'd like to be able to clean the dirt from them once a week or twice a month, and make them last longer than my pigskin pair did.

    Any comments, ideas or suggestions?

  2. maybe some saddle soap will do the trick? Feibing's is an inexpensive brand, maybe $5 for 12 oz.
    Last edited: May 22, 2009
  3. Probably the best thing. Use some saddle soap, warm water, and a stiff bristled brush. Should do the trick.

  4. Have you ever considered the cloth gloves with the rubber drops on the palms? These are great and cheap. You could just toss them at the end of the week.

    Your leather pair should clean up well with some saddle soap and a good stiff brush like Dustin said but that is just to much work for the weekend.
  5. The saddle soap and brush is really the best option. Also Costco (at least around here) has a 3 pack of leather work gloves for around 18 bucks. I put mine through hell at work and go through about 4 pairs per year.
  6. Saddle soap is by far your best option, it will clean and moisturize the leather. You may try wearing the gloves and just work the soap like you would wash your hands. You can rinse in luke-warm water if you need to get rid of some excess soap, but I wouldn't get them totally soaking wet, or they might get a little stiff when they dry. What ever you do, don't use very hot water or dry them in the dryer, as they will shrink.
  7. dpm802

    dpm802 Contributor

    Saddle soap seems like the best (and only) solution ... why didn't I think of that? (Insert image of me slapping hand to forehead.)

    I don't have an electric dryer, but I do have a spin dryer (3200 RPM) for my clothes ... that should work to dry them out without heat, right?

    Its OK if they get a little stiff after washing ... an hour or two of use and they should get broken back in no time.

    I'll have to look into that Costco set of gloves ... $18 for 3 pair is pretty cheap, and should last me about a year. I don't have a membership, but have been wanting to join them anyway when I get ready to buy new tires for my car, plus some other things I'm shopping around for the household.
  8. Yes, just hang them somewhere and they should dry in a day or so, ready for work. Your right, they might be a little stiff but the saddle soap will help that and after ten minutes should be fine.
  9. Saddle soap.

    If stiffness is an issue, then doing what old fashioned tanners do to soften leather will work. Simply grab each end of the glove and briskly work it back and forth over the edge of a board (kind of like a shoe shine cloth). That'll soften it up.

    I never clean my work gloves. Matter of fact, I just threw away three sets today, to were cloth and the other leather. All had holes in them.
  10. Better be careful Jon. You will be unable to feel the line when we go fishing again this year.
  11. Another vote for saddle soap!
  12. :confused: Thats a new one for me... :smile:
    and I wear out a pair almost every week

    The only time I *wash* a pair is when they get soaked from working in the rain.. :smile:

    With use, the sweat and salts and oils from your hands somewhat condition your gloves and make then fit tight to your hands..
    nothing more comfortable than a good fitting pair of leather gloves..

    You can perhaps put them on and wash them up with some soap and a brush, and then wear them till dry so they can dry to the shape of your hands..( the way we used to break in our work boots surveying in the North)
    but for me, I just let them get all sweaty and dirty and if they get some spilled oil on them I just rub them in the gravel to dry them off and then its back at er.... :biggrin:

    Takes a couple days pretty much to get a pair broken in good enough so they are good enough to grab nails with from a pouch..:smile:
    couple, three more days and those fingers are worn out from grabbing them nails.. a duct tape repair will get you a couple more days before its time for a new pair..

    just another look at it I suppose... :biggrin:
  13. If I need glove for fishing, then that means that the line is freezing up in the guides.
  14. Or you have one huge fish.....:wink:
  15. I have some leather work gloves and winter Snowboard gloves. The leather work gloves are washable. The following instructions for your reference:

    * STEP 1: Place a small amount of a gentle, moisturizing soap such as Dove on a damp cloth and bring it to a light lather.
    * STEP 2: Rub the damp cloth on the leather without putting too much water on the leather.
    * STEP 3: Wipe away lather with a fresh damp cloth. Don't rinse the leather in water.
    * STEP 4: Polish leather with a dry towel.
    * STEP 5: Treat leather with a leather conditioner after it has dried completely.
  16. Try DT Pro gloves from Duluth Trading Company.

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