Each time you use your baseball glove in a game, the inside of it gets dirtier and dirtier. The hot weather, dusty infield, and your sweaty hand all combine to create a stinky problem -- yuck! To make matters worse, this sweaty concoction can damage the leather and shorten its lifespan. To get the most out of your glove, the inside needs to be cleaned regularly. But how do you do so? We did the research to bring you the answer.
Follow these simple steps to clean the inside of your baseball glove:
- Wipe with a dry cloth
- Clean with a gentle soap
- Rinse with cool water
- Dry completely
- Apply a leather oil
We know that your baseball glove is important to you. That's why we've researched this topic and have put together this guide to help you care for it as well as possible. For a detailed explanation of each step, plus answers to other common questions about cleaning your glove, continue reading.
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Can You Wash A Baseball Glove In The Washing Machine?
Before we begin, a word of warning: do not attempt to clean a baseball glove in the washing machine. Though it might technically get "clean," you're likely to damage it beyond repair. Leather is not meant to be soaked completely and will not dry quickly enough. Leather, when it dries too slowly, shrinks and dries out.
How To Clean The Inside Of A Baseball Glove
Here are detailed steps for how to clean the inside of your glove. This method works for all types of baseball glove interiors, including leather, faux leather, and faux fur. Make sure to follow these closely so that your glove is useful for years to come. But before getting started, ensure that you have the following materials and products:
- Four clean rags
- Mild soap (or a leather soap)
- Screwdriver or similar tool
- Warm water
- Cool water
- Glove oil or leather conditioner
Now let's get into the nitty-gritty of cleaning your glove.
1. Wipe it down with a dry cloth
The first step in cleaning the inside of the glove is to wipe it down with a clean, dry cloth. This will remove any excess moisture and any surface-level dirt and grime. Be sure to shake the glove out so that any dirt that's up in the fingers will fall out. Then, put the rag over a screwdriver or a similarly-shaped device and insert it into each finger hole.
2. Clean it with gentle soap
This step requires a mild, gentle soap like the one below. Avoid soaps with scents or specific anti-bacterial properties; you won't need those benefits for this process. Mix a few drops of this soap into a bowl of warm water. Stir it to create suds.
Then, dip another clean rag in the soapy water. Wring it out almost completely, then rub the inner palm of the glove with the rag. Use the screwdriver to reach inside each finger slot.
If you'd rather, use a soap designed for leather like the one below. Follow the directions on the label for best results.
3. Rinse with cool water
Next, get a bowl of cool water and a third rag. Dip the rag in the cool water and wring it out completely. The goal is for the rag to be barely damp in order to rinse off any excess soap. Cool water will help the glove's temperature transition gradually and not shrink the leather. Use the same maneuvers as above to remove all the soap residue.
4. Dry it completely
This is a critical step because leaving moisture inside your glove can cause mold and shrink the leather. Take the final rag and dry the glove out as much as possible. Then, leave it out in the open in a room where air circulates well. In fact, if you can place the opening in front of a fan, that's your best bet. This might take a week or more, so plan accordingly.
Since we know baseball gloves shouldn't get wet, many baseball games will stop when it's raining heavily. Read this article for more details on rain delays: Does Baseball Play In The Rain?
5. Apply glove oil
Leather oil, or conditioner, is a product that helps keep leather supple and soft. This is especially important when leather gets dried out, whether it's because you cleaned it or played ball in the rain. Whenever leather gets wet and then dries, oil or conditioner is important.
There are several leather oils and conditioners on the market that are specifically designed for baseball gloves. These are helpful because they don't leave a slippery, greasy residue. For the interior of the glove, it's best to use a spray bottle. You can spray the oil up the fingers, then rub it in with a rag on a screwdriver.
Or, follow the same principle with this glove butter. Apply some in the palm of the glove, then use a rag to spread it around the rest of the area.
If you don't have any glove oil handy and are looking for a more affordable option, petroleum jelly solves this problem, too. It's an oil that will seal the leather's moisture into the skin.
No matter what type, glove oil works best when it's rubbed in completely. Massage the inside of your glove thoroughly. You shouldn't be able to feel any grease or slickness when you're done.
How often should you clean your baseball glove?
To get the most out of your baseball glove, you should wipe it down after each use. This helps dry the sweat and removes any loose dirt from the surface. It's basically the first step of the process described below.
You should deep-clean your glove annually or more often, depending on how much you use it. If you notice visible grit and grime in your glove, that's a sign to do a deep clean, even if it's not scheduled. A crusty palm or fingers inside the glove is another key sign. These things can shorten the glove's lifespan.
Since the glove must dry completely before its next use (see step four above) and this might take up to a week, make sure you won't need to use it immediately. It might be a good idea to clean it immediately after your season ends.
Looking for a new baseball glove but aren't sure where to start? Check out this introduction to the different types of gloves: The 4 Types Of Baseball Gloves You Should Know
How do you get mold out of a baseball glove?
The best way to get mold out of a baseball glove is to follow the steps above. If this doesn't eliminate the mold, it's probably because the inside of the glove isn't drying quickly enough. To fix this, mix rubbing alcohol and water in a bowl at a one to one ratio.
Use a clean rag to rub the solution into the glove's hand. For the hard-to-reach places in the fingers, cover a screwdriver or similar tool with the rag. Clean the entire inside part of the glove, even if you can't see any mold.
Then, follow steps three to five above. The difference in this method is that the alcohol will help the water dry quickly. Another important step is to store your glove in an appropriate place. Keep it out in the open in a room temperature setting. Don't store it at the bottom of your equipment bag, or any other cool, dark place.
Your baseball glove is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your repertoire. Keep it healthy by following the steps outlined above.
Make sure to store your glove in a cool, dry location to avoid mold. Clean it regularly depending on how often you use it. Follow these steps so that you can make every play on the field! Good luck!