How to Clean Leather Gardening Gloves & Maintain Their Quality

Your leather gardening gloves work hard to protect your hands, but they can get pretty grimy.

I’ve faced this issue myself, looking at my beloved gloves covered in dirt and grime, worried that cleaning might make them stiff or ruin their texture.

The good news is, you can keep them clean and supple with the right techniques.

In this guide, we’re going to cover how to clean your leather gardening gloves effectively.

We’ll also talk about softening, conditioning, and drying them to maintain their quality.

By the end, you’ll have all the tips you need to keep your gloves in great condition, ready for every planting and pruning session. Let’s get started and ensure your gloves stay in top shape!


how to clean leather gardening gloves - an infographic

How to Clean Leather Gardening Gloves?

Step 1: Assessment and Preparation

Before you start cleaning your leather gardening gloves, assess them for visible dirt or stains. Shake them gently to remove loose debris accumulated from gardening activities. This initial step prepares the gloves for a thorough cleaning process.

Step 2: Creating a Gentle Cleaning Solution

Mix lukewarm water with a small amount of mild soap or specialized leather cleaner to create a gentle cleaning solution. This ensures effective cleaning without causing damage to the leather material of your gloves.

Step 3: Cleaning the Gloves

Dampen a soft cloth or sponge with the soapy water solution. Gently scrub the surface of the gloves, paying attention to heavily soiled areas like fingertips and palms. Avoid soaking the gloves excessively, as leather can be sensitive to water.

Step 4: Rinsing and Drying

Use a clean, damp cloth to rinse off any residual soap from the gloves. Thoroughly pat them dry with a clean towel to remove excess moisture. Avoid twisting or wringing the gloves, as this can distort their shape and texture.

Step 5: Air Drying

Allow the gloves to air dry naturally in a well-ventilated area at room temperature. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or heat sources like radiators, as this can cause the leather to dry out and become brittle.

Step 6: Conditioning (Optional)

Consider applying a light coat of leather conditioner once the gloves are completely dry. Conditioning helps maintain the leather’s suppleness and prolongs its lifespan. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper application of leather conditioner.

Step 7: Maintenance

Regularly clean and condition your leather gardening gloves to keep them in optimal condition. This routine upkeep ensures they remain comfortable and effective for all your gardening tasks, extending their longevity and performance.

By following these step-by-step instructions and maintaining a consistent care routine, you can effectively clean and preserve your leather gardening gloves, ensuring they remain durable and comfortable for years of use.

Below is a simplified table with cleaning methods for common types of leather gardening gloves:

Cowhide Leather
Glove Type Cleaning Method
1. Brush off excess dirt.
2. Use a leather cleaner and a damp cloth for stains.
3. Apply leather conditioner to maintain suppleness.
Goatskin Leather 1. Brush off dirt and debris.
2. Clean with a mild soap solution if necessary.
Synthetic Leather 1. Wipe with a damp cloth or sponge.
2. Use a mild soap solution for stubborn stains.
3. Rinse and allow to air dry.
Nitrile-Coated Gloves 1. Rinse with water to remove soil and chemicals.
2. Air dry or hang to dry.
Pigskin Leather 1. Wipe with a damp cloth to remove dirt.
2. Use a leather cleaner if needed.

Please note that the cleaning methods may vary depending on the specific brand and type of gardening gloves. Always check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer when available.

How to Clean Leather Gardening Gloves Inside?

Cleaning the inside of leather gardening gloves is important for maintaining their hygiene and comfort. Here’s how to clean leather gardening gloves inside:

1. Turn the Gloves Inside Out:

Carefully turn the gloves inside out to access the interior.

2. Shake Out Debris:

Gently shake the gloves to remove loose dirt, debris, and plant material that may have accumulated inside.

3. Wipe with a Damp Cloth:

Dampen a clean, soft cloth with a mild soapy solution (water mixed with a small amount of mild soap or leather cleaner). Wipe down the interior of the gloves, paying attention to seams and creases.

4. Rinse and Wipe Dry:

Rinse the cloth with clean water and use it to wipe away any soap residue from the interior. Ensure the gloves are completely free of soap.

5. Allow to Air Dry:

Turn the gloves right-side out and allow them to air dry in a cool, well-ventilated area. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or heat sources, as this can dry out the leather.

6. Re-shape if Necessary:

While the gloves are still slightly damp, you can reshape them to their original form for a comfortable fit.

Can You Put Leather Gardening Gloves in the Washing Machine?

No, it’s generally not advisable to put leather gardening gloves in the washing machine.

Leather can be sensitive to water and harsh detergents, which can cause it to lose its shape, become stiff, or even crack.

Washing leather gloves in a machine can significantly reduce their lifespan and compromise their quality.

How Do You Clean Smelly Garden Gloves?

Cleaning and deodorizing garden gloves is key to keeping them fresh and durable.

When mine start to get a bit funky from all the yard work, I usually start by giving them a good hand wash with mild soap and water.

I focus on the areas that tend to pick up the most dirt and sweat, like the palms and fingertips. After that, rinsing them thoroughly is crucial to make sure all the soap is gone; otherwise, they can get stiff.

Once they’re clean, I let them air dry completely—no shortcuts with direct sunlight or heaters, as those can really mess with the leather and keep the smell lingering.

For extra freshness, I toss in some baking soda or activated charcoal inside the gloves before I store them. These natural odor absorbers really do wonders.

I usually leave them in overnight, shake out any excess in the morning, and they’re good to go. Storing them in a cool, dry spot when they’re clean helps too.

It’s all about keeping them well-maintained so they last through more gardening seasons without smelling like old compost.

How Often Should Leather Gardening Gloves Be Washed?

Leather gardening gloves should not be washed frequently, as excessive washing can degrade the leather.

Instead, focus on regular maintenance, such as wiping off dirt and sweat after each use and occasional spot cleaning when necessary.

If your gloves become exceptionally dirty or smelly, that’s when you should consider a thorough cleaning.

Proper drying is essential to maintain the quality and integrity of leather gardening gloves. Avoid using heat sources like hairdryers or radiators, as excessive heat can cause the leather to dry out and lose its suppleness.


So, now you know how to clean leather gardening gloves, how to dry leather gardening gloves, how to soften leather gardening gloves, and more!

Preserving the quality and functionality of your leather gardening gloves is a straightforward yet crucial task.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can bid farewell to dirt, odors, and accumulated wear, and welcome back the comfort and protection your gloves were designed to provide.

Regular cleaning, conditioning, and proper drying will not only extend the lifespan of your leather gardening gloves but also enhance your overall gardening experience.

So, whether you’re tending to a blooming flowerbed or harvesting homegrown vegetables, your trusty leather gloves will remain reliable companions, ready to tackle the joys of gardening with you.

James Chiles

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