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The Dos and Don’ts of Washing Leather Work Gloves

Are your leather work gloves in need of a good clean? In this guide on ‘How to wash leather work gloves,’ we’ve got you covered. Discover the secrets to maintaining the quality and longevity of your gloves. Keep reading to learn the step-by-step process that will have your gloves looking good as new.

Materials Needed

To effectively clean and maintain your leather work gloves, you’ll need a few essential materials. These items will ensure your gloves are kept in optimal condition, extending their lifespan and performance. Let’s explore what you’ll need:

Mild Soap

Choose a mild soap, such as a gentle hand or dishwashing soap. Avoid harsh detergents or chemicals that can damage the leather.

Lukewarm Water

You’ll need access to lukewarm water for the cleaning process. The temperature should be comfortably warm to the touch.

Soft Bristled Brush

A soft-bristled brush, like a clean toothbrush or a specialized leather cleaning brush, is useful for gently scrubbing away dirt and grime.

Clean Cloth or Sponge

Keep a clean, soft cloth or sponge handy for wiping down the gloves and rinsing them during the cleaning process.

Leather Conditioner

Leather conditioner is crucial for maintaining the softness and suppleness of your gloves. Choose a quality leather conditioner that suits your glove’s specific type.


A clean, absorbent towel will be useful for gently blotting excess moisture from the gloves after washing.


To store your gloves properly, you might consider a dust-free storage bag or a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Optional: Leather Protectant

Depending on your glove type, you may want to invest in a leather protectant spray to repel water and stains.

Having these materials on hand will ensure you’re well-prepared to clean and care for your leather work gloves, helping them remain in prime condition for your tasks. Proper maintenance not only prolongs the life of your gloves but also keeps them looking and feeling their best.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

Maintaining your leather work gloves is essential to ensure their longevity and performance. Cleaning them correctly is a vital part of this maintenance. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of cleaning your leather work gloves effectively.

Step 1: Preparing the Gloves

Before you begin the cleaning process, it’s crucial to prepare the gloves. Start by shaking or brushing off any loose dirt, dust, or debris from the surface. This initial step helps prevent scratching the leather during the cleaning process.

Step 2: Choosing the Cleaning Method

Depending on the level of dirt and the glove’s care instructions, you have various cleaning methods to choose from. These methods include hand washing, machine washing (if suitable), or using specialized leather cleaning products. The choice of method should align with the level of cleaning required.

Step 3: Hand Washing

Here’s how to wash leather work gloves if your leather work gloves are moderately soiled:

  • Fill a basin with lukewarm water.

  • Add a small amount of mild soap to create a gentle soapy solution.

  • Gently agitate the water to create suds.

  • Immerse the gloves in the soapy water and use a soft brush or your hands to lightly scrub any soiled areas.

  • Be careful not to rub too vigorously, as aggressive scrubbing can damage the leather.

  • Rinse the gloves thoroughly with clean, cool water to remove all soap residue.

  • Gently press out excess water without wringing the gloves.

  • Reshape the gloves to their original form and allow them to air dry at room temperature.

Step 4: Machine Washing (If Applicable)

If your leather work gloves are labeled as machine washable, follow these steps:

  • Place the gloves inside a laundry bag or pillowcase to protect them during the wash.

  • Use detergent and set your washing machine to a gentle or delicate cycle with cold water.

  • Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals, as they can damage the leather.

  • Once the cycle is complete, remove the gloves from the bag or case and let them air dry.

Step 5: Drying the Gloves

Properly drying your gloves is critical to prevent damage. Avoid using direct heat sources like radiators or hair dryers, as they can cause the leather to become brittle or crack. Instead, air-dry your gloves at room temperature. To maintain their shape, stuff them with soft, dry materials like paper towels.

Step 6: Conditioning the Leather

To keep your leather work gloves soft, supple, and durable, it’s advisable to condition them after cleaning. Leather conditioning products help restore moisture and protect the leather from drying out or becoming stiff. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the conditioner and allow it to absorb fully before using your gloves again.

By following this step-by-step cleaning process, you can ensure that your leather work gloves remain in excellent condition, ready to serve you in your daily tasks. Regular maintenance not only extends the lifespan of your gloves but also keeps them comfortable and safe for use.

Tips for Maintenance

Proper maintenance of your leather work gloves is essential to ensure their longevity and effectiveness. Here are some valuable tips to keep your gloves in top condition:

Store Them Right

To prevent unnecessary wear and tear, store your leather work gloves in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. Hanging them or using glove clips can help maintain their shape and prevent wrinkles.

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Keep Them Clean

Regularly inspect your gloves for dirt, grease, or grime, and promptly clean them as needed. Removing contaminants promptly can extend the life of your gloves and maintain their appearance.

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Condition the Leather

Using a high-quality leather conditioner can replenish the natural oils in the leather, preserving its softness and flexibility. Apply the conditioner periodically to prevent drying and cracking.

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Avoid Harsh Chemicals

When cleaning your gloves, steer clear of harsh detergents or chemicals that can damage the leather. Stick to mild soaps and leather-specific cleaning products to protect the material.

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Repair Minor Damage

If you notice minor damage such as loose stitching or small tears, address it promptly. Repairing minor issues can prevent them from becoming major problems and prolong your gloves’ lifespan.

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If you use your leather gloves in wet conditions, consider applying a leather waterproofing treatment. This will protect them from water damage and maintain their integrity.

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Rotate Usage

If you have multiple pairs of leather work gloves, rotate their usage. This prevents overuse of a single pair and distributes wear evenly, extending the life of all your gloves.

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By following these maintenance tips, you can keep your leather work gloves in great shape, ensuring they serve you well for an extended period. Not only will your gloves last longer, but you’ll also experience better comfort and protection during your work.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to washing leather work gloves, avoiding common mistakes is essential to ensure your gloves remain in great condition. Here are some key blunders to steer clear of:

  • Using Harsh Chemicals: One of the most common mistakes is using harsh chemicals or detergents to clean leather gloves. These substances can strip away the natural oils in the leather, leading to dryness and cracking. Stick to mild, leather-safe soap and cleaners.

  • Skipping Preparation: Neglecting to prepare the gloves before cleaning is a common oversight. Remove dirt and debris from the surface using a soft brush or cloth.

  • Machine Drying: Avoid the temptation to speed up the drying process by using a machine dryer or exposing the gloves to direct heat sources. High heat can cause the leather to shrink, lose its shape, or become brittle. 

  • Overconditioning: While leather conditioning is crucial, overdoing it can be detrimental. Excessive use of leather conditioners can leave gloves feeling greasy and heavy. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for conditioning frequency.

  • Ignoring Manufacturer Instructions: Every pair of leather work gloves may have unique care instructions. Disregarding these guidelines can lead to unintended damage. 

  • Neglecting Stitching and Linings: Leather gloves often have stitching and linings that require attention. Be cautious not to damage or saturate these areas during cleaning. Gentle, targeted cleaning methods are best.

  • Not Allowing for Adequate Drying Time: Rushing to use your gloves before they are completely dry is a mistake. Insufficient drying time can result in mold or mildew growth, which can be harmful to both your gloves and your health.

  • Storing in Direct Sunlight: Storing leather gloves in direct sunlight for extended periods can lead to fading and drying out of the leather. Opt for a cool, dry, and shaded storage area.

By avoiding these common mistakes and following the proper care guidelines, you can extend the lifespan of your leather work gloves and keep them in excellent condition for your work or outdoor activities.


So there you have it, the secret to keeping your leather work gloves in top-notch shape is a good wash! In this guide on ‘How to wash leather work gloves,’ we’ve shared the essential steps to ensure your gloves remain reliable and comfortable. But wait, there’s more to discover! Keep reading for detailed insights, valuable tips, and expert advice that will make your gloves stand the test of time.

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