Baseball gloves require frequent care and maintenance. Properly maintained baseball gloves tend to last for an entire season, and longer, compared to their “unmaintained” counterparts that might last for just a single season.
It is, therefore, extremely crucial to regularly clean your baseball glove with the proper tools to make sure it lasts beyond a single season.
On a regular basis, you should apply a leather-safe glove cream to your baseball glove and wipe it gently with a clean cloth.
Remember to remove excess dirt and debris from the glove beforehand. This will help smooth the process.
How to Clean a Baseball Glove: A Guide
To avoid having to rush to the local sporting goods store for a new glove, follow these tips on how to clean a baseball glove.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you keep your glove clean.
What You Need to Clean Your Baseball or Softball Glove
Cleaning your baseball or softball glove requires more than just a quick brush off of dirt and debris from the glove’s surface.
Here’s what you’ll need to keep it clean:
- a toothbrush;
- a brush cotton rag (you can also use terry cloth);
- a leather-safe cleaning agent (shaving cream or saddle soap works too);
- mild soap;
- a cup of warm water; and
- glove conditioner.
Remove Excess Dirt and Debris
Before you apply a cleaner and get cleaning, take a step back and remove the excess dirt, dust, and other debris from your catcher’s gloves. Otherwise, the abrasiveness could potentially damage the glove’s leather.
Use a toothbrush to brush off visible dirt. Make sure to get through all the nooks and crannies of the baseball glove, including between the fingers and laces.
If there’s anything a good toothbrush can’t remove, leave it to the leather cleaner. DO NOT exert force to get a tricky piece of dirt, leather, or debris out.
Apply Leather Cleaner
Now that you’ve removed the excess debris, apply a quarter-size amount of a leather cleaner or conditioner to the glove with a damp, soft, clean cloth or sponge. Alternatively, you can also use shaving cream or saddle soap for the cleaning process.
Before using a leather cleaning agent on your gloves, make sure to read the manufacturer’s directions.
Every cleaning agent is unique. They each have their own set of properties and ingredients.
Use A Gentle Soap to Clean the Inside of Your Glove
Every time we put our baseball glove to use, the inside gets dirtier. Dust and sweat accumulate which causes it to stink, damages your glove’s leather, and leads to broken laces.
To clean a baseball glove from the inside, simply put some gentle soap in a bowl of warm water. Give it a good whirl then proceed to dampen the cloth with the soapy water and clean the inside of the glove gently.
Remember: The inside of the glove is more sensitive than the outside, so make sure you don’t use a lot of water, especially if you can’t absorb it with a soft, dry cloth.
Respect the Wait Time
Glove care requires a certain level of patience. After applying the leather cleaning agent, you’re typically supposed to wait a few hours or more (if needed) to allow it to do its job.
The manufacturer’s directions will give you the specifics. If there’s any time to be frugal with your cleaning materials, it is now.
Monitor the amount of cleaner you use and spread it out on as large an area as you can. Otherwise, you stand the risk of causing build-up and clogging the pores in your baseball glove.
Use a Cloth to Wipe the Glove Clean
Use circular motions to gently rub the cleaning agent on the gloves. Once you’ve ensured all the small spaces, and hidden nooks and crannies, are clean, remove the cleaner from the glove with a soft cloth and allow it to air dry.
Remember to hang it in a cool, ventilated area, far away from direct sunlight, to let the glove dry naturally.
Rub Glove Conditioner on the Glove
To wrap up the cleaning process, rub a leather-safe glove conditioner lightly on your glove using a circular motion. This will soften it and make it easier to use.
Knowing how to clean a baseball glove can help eradicate the possibility of investing in a new glove every couple of days and allow you to use it for extended periods. If you’re unsure about the frequency with which you should clean your glove, you can consult the manufacturer’s directions printed on the bottle of leather-safe cleaner.
Baseball Glove Care Tips
Avoid Using a Cleaner That’s Made for Shoes or Saddles
They leave a slick surface which can further build up over time, speeding up the time it usually takes for your baseball glove to get dirty. As a general rule of thumb, you should only use cleaning agents specifically marketed as baseball glove cleaners.
Do Not Over-Oil
Overoiling can clog the pores of the leather which can make your fielding glove heavy to use and cause significant build-up. If you do plan on using oil for your glove care, make sure to use the one specifically marketed as glove oil.
Be Mindful of the Ingredients
Check the ingredients of the leather cleaner before you start the cleaning process. Avoid using products that contain linseed oil or neat’s-foot oil.
You also want to avoid using petroleum jelly or silicone-based sprays to soften your baseball glove.
However, if you don’t have access to leather-safe products, you can use a small amount of petroleum jelly and rub it on the entire glove to moisturize it. Just make sure to wipe all the excess petroleum jelly off.
Do Not Use Dishwashing Liquid to Clean Your Glove
Dishwashing liquids and detergents contain components that can prove to be harmful to your glove. If you want to DIY your way through the cleaning process, you can opt for a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water instead.
Do a Quick Scan
Leather and laces wear down over time, more so due to adverse weather conditions. If you suspect that your glove has seen too much light of day, make sure to do a quick scan before you put your glove to good use.
This will allow you to look for damages, possibly leading to injury. If you notice any cracks or rips, re-lace the glove before you use it in a baseball game.
Why Is it Important to Keep Your Glove Clean?
Baseball and softball gloves, as any seasonal or professional player would agree, are extremely crucial to the game. Frequent use, however, tends to break them down.
The care of your high-maintenance, durable organic leather glove, then, begins right from the moment you bring it home. In addition to breaking it in and properly maintaining it, you also have to ensure you store it properly and look for any damages that could potentially spell danger.
This keeps you alert and allows you to take preventive measures before a big game.
How to Properly Store Your Glove: Glove Storage 101
Let’s face it. Nobody purchases a glove to use it for one season. Even if we wanted to crack a new pair of gloves open every season, the price would be too steep.
This makes it all the more important to store your baseball glove properly.
So, how do you store your baseball glove properly? How do you ensure you don’t accidentally damage the material in the process?
Taking care of your baseball glove is easier than you think it is. You have to ensure it’s in prime condition when the next baseball season, aka, next spring rolls around.
With these storage tips, you’ll be using your gloves during the season, as well as in the off-season, for many years to come.
Ensure That You Keep Your Baseball Glove Dry
Yes, we know – that’s easier said than done. Baseball can be quite an intense game, which means your baseball glove is prone to getting wet and retaining water.
In circumstances like these, it would be wise to use a clean cotton rag or a terry cloth to dry your glove off. Now let it air dry.
This can potentially dry out the leather. And if you don’t follow it with a leather conditioner, it can be quite damaging to the shelf-life of your glove.
Practice Proper Baseball Glove Care
Glove maintenance can significantly increase the longevity of your baseball gloves. Practice good maintenance of your gloves by using conditioners and cleaners approved by professionals.
Put a Ball in the Glove
Keep the pocket shaped by inserting a ball rolled into the pocket of the glove. This will ensure that your baseball glove retains its shape and form.
Come baseball season, you’ll be able to get right to the game instead of having to break in the glove.
Store in a Cool, Dry Place
During off seasons, say the winter months, store your glove in a dry place, preferably at room temperature. Do not toss it in the garage or closet, or leave it in your equipment bag or bat bag.
On the same note, your baseball glove should not be exposed to extreme sun and heat, irrespective of which season it is as it can not only damage the glove but also possibly lead to significant damage to your glove’s laces.
Whether you’re a professional baseball player or a newbie, you must be familiar with the part your baseball glove plays in the success of your game. Baseball glove care and maintenance is the best way to ensure the longevity of your new baseball glove way beyond just one season.
If you’re looking for the right gear to keep your gloves ready all-year long, Baseball Monkey has got you covered. At Baseball Monkey, you’ll find a dizzying variety of glove kits, accessories, and more to keep your grip on the game.
When you clean your gloves properly and ensure you keep the pocket well shaped, you’ll notice first-hand all the difference it makes to your game, and your bank balance.