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Cleaning Leather Gloves

May 16, 2020

As you'd expect, leather gloves can become dirty with frequent use. Since leather is skin, it absorbs the oils from your hands as well as other liquids and particles. Over time, dirt and dust can accumulate onto your gloves. If yours appear lackluster with visible dirt and scuff marks, it's time to give them a good cleaning. This doesn't mean to simply toss them into the washing machine or letting them soak in a tub of water. Instead, leather gloves require the utmost care to preserve the integrity and color of the leather. Here are our step-by-step guides for the exterior and interior cleaning of your leather gloves.

Exterior Glove Cleaning

Before washing your gloves, it's imperative that the soap you choose is not formulated with harsh chemicals. These wash out the natural oils in the leather, which will make the gloves stiff and uncomfortable. Plus, removing the oils greatly prematurely shortens their lifespan. Be sure to have a mild soap like Marseille soap or saddle soap.

  1. If your gloves have stains, use a white vinegar and water solution (equal parts of each) to remove them. To do this, take a cotton ball coated with the solution and coat your gloves. With a soft microfiber cloth, dab the solution off and allow them to dry.
  2. With a damp cloth, lather up your chosen soap and coat your leather gloves, making sure to get the soap in between the fingers. Then, use a clean damp microfiber cloth to wipe off the soap completely. This microfiber cloth should also help to provide a nice sheen to the leather.
  3. Allow your gloves to dry, but in the meantime, pull them on a few times to allow the leather to stretch and take on its original shape. Do not attempt to dry them with external heat or with sunlight. When wet leather dries too quickly, it can stiffen and become brittle.

Now that your leather gloves are clean, what about waterproofing them? This is easily done as well, although it is not entirely necessary. So long as leather isn't submerged or dropped in a rain puddle, the leather will hold up fine in the rain or snow. If you find that you do need to waterproof your gloves, use a high-quality product like Nikwax to help repel water. These steps apply to both faux and genuine leather, but not suede. As it's the most delicate leather, suede must be expertly handled when it becomes too dirty to brush off with a soft wire brush or toothbrush.

Interior Glove Cleaning

Leather gloves can be lined with materials like silk, cashmere, and wool. Because leather cannot be fully submerged, cleaning your gloves' lining is complicated. If you must clean the lining immediately and can't wait to seek out a professional, you can try the following:

  1. Turn your gloves inside out so that the interior is exposed.
  2. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle to spray the lining (but keeping in mind to not soak the material).
  3. Allow the solution to sit for 20 minutes, then pat dry.
  4. Allow lining to completely dry in a cool, ventilated space. Do not place them in direct sunlight or attempt to dry them yourself.
  5. Turn them right side out and pull them on to help them take on their original shape. If the exterior leather appears creased, smooth it out and apply a leather conditioner.

If you'd prefer not to take this route, you may also lightly spray the inside of the gloves with this solution, hydrogen peroxide, or rubbing alcohol.

At Bosca, we line our gloves with lambswool for a superior level of comfort and warmth. Since our leathers are specially handcrafted by our artisans using vegetable tanning for rich, natural color, we simply don't recommend that you attempt to clean your gloves' lining. Instead, seek out a specialty dry cleaner that will be able to properly address your gloves. When leather gloves are properly cleaned and conditioned, they can last for years to come. You'll be able to ward the build-up of germs and grime while maintaining the quality and color of your leather. If you own a pair of Bosca leather gloves and have questions about cleaning, please feel free to contact us.