red leather gloves

How to Clean Leather Gloves

Leather gloves, like your other precious accessories, get dirty and smelly over time! And the only way to keep your luxurious gloves serving their purpose and looking as good as new is to wash them.

But (there’s always a ‘but’!) after paying a small fortune for your genuine leather gloves, you probably don’t want to risk washing them just in case you mess them up, shrink them, accidentally dye them or worse…!

So, how do you clean leather gloves correctly?

Easy! Follow the guide below, and your gloves will be refreshed, protected and looking their best in no time.


Tips to Keep in Mind When Cleaning Leather Gloves

dirty leather gloves

  • Don’t saturate the leather gloves in liquid. You should only use damp cloths to clean the gloves.
  • Don’t leave leather gloves to dry in direct sunlight. Sunlight can dry leather out and make the material stiff and susceptible to cracking.
  • Always leave leather gloves to dry naturally! So, don’t leave the gloves on a radiator to dry and definitely don’t put the gloves in a tumble dryer.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals to clean leather gloves. You should ideally use specialised leather cleaners. Avoid using bleach and ammonia-lined goods because they’ll strip protective coatings and finish from the material.
  • Don’t use harsh cleaning tools like scourers or hard-bristled brushes to clean leather gloves. Stick to using soft tools, like microfibre cloths. These softer tools won’t scratch or damage the delicate material.
  • Treat stains as soon as they appear so they don’t age and become hard to remove.
  • Clean your leather gloves at least twice a year to keep them in pristine condition. Of course, if your gloves regularly get caked in grime, you will need to clean them more often.
  • Store leather gloves when they are no longer in use. You need to lay the gloves flat in a dark, well-ventilated area. Don’t fold or scrunch the gloves up because they’ll crease and go out of shape.
  • Don’t clean your leather gloves in a washing machine. The heat and agitation are likely to damage and, in some cases, ruin the gloves.
  • It is worth coating your washed leather gloves in a protective coating like FurnitureClinic Leather Protection Cream after washing them. This will protect the material from everyday grime, general stains and sweat.
  • Test, test and test! Make sure you test out any cleaning solutions before you use them! Just choose a discreet patch of material, dab a little solution onto it and see what happens. Some cleaning solutions, even mild ones, can aggravate leather. If this is the case, you should stop using them immediately!
  • There are different leathers to be had, like Nubuck, Aniline and Nappa. So, make sure you pick up a cleaning solution that is suitable for the leather you need to clean.
  • Be patient! Cleaning some types of leather gloves may take more time than others. Plus, it may be more difficult to clean certain kinds of gloves. For example, accessory leather gloves may not be too dirty and will, therefore, be easier to clean. In contrast, biker leather gloves may be covered in dust and debris from the road and may need more care and treatment.
  • Wash your gloves on their own. It’s much easier for you (and far better for your leather gloves) if you clean them on their own. By doing this, you can give your whole focus to the task at hand, and you’re less likely to make a mistake.


Cleaning the Outside of Leather Gloves

clean leather gloves with saddle soap and foam cleaner

The outside of your gloves is likely to be the dirtiest part because this is the area that comes into contact with grime, mud, liquids and other debris.

It’s, therefore, crucial that you clean this section as soon as it gets dirty and to remove stains from the area before they set in.

Follow the steps below to clean your leather gloves:

  1. Lay your gloves on a flat, towelled surface.
  2. Clean one glove at a time!
  3. If there’s dry mud on your glove, brush it off with a soft-bristled brush.
  4. Soak a microfibre cloth under some lukewarm water and wring it out.
  5. The cloth must be damp!
  6. Wipe the whole surface of one glove from the wrist to the fingertip. If it’s easier, pop one glove on and wipe the surface clean using the cloth in your other hand.
  7. Repeat Steps 3 to 6 for the second glove. Remember to rinse and clean your microfibre cloth during this time.
  8. Grab some leather soap, like saddle soap or an official leather cleaner, like a foam cleaner.
  9. Work the cleaner into one glove at a time using a microfibre cloth. A soapy lather should appear. Pay attention to all the nooks and crannies.
  10. Wipe the solution off the surface with a damp microfibre cloth.
  11. Continuously rinse your microfibre cloth during this time to remove the leather soap from it. Otherwise, you’ll reapply the cleaner to the glove.
  12. Repeat Steps 8 to 11 for the second glove.
  13. Leave the gloves to air dry.

Treating stains on leather gloves

dirty white leather work gloves

Carry out the method above to see if the technique and products used can lift the stain off the material.

If this doesn’t work out, mix a little white vinegar and water in a shallow dish and apply this solution to the affected area.

All you’d need to do is dip a cotton bud into the liquid, tap the excess water out of it, and repeatedly dab the solution onto the stain.

When the cotton bud gets dirty, replace it with a new one. Continue this process until you’ve lifted the whole stain off.

When the stain has gone, clean the entire area again, following the washing steps listed above.


Cleaning the Inside of Leather Gloves

spray leather gloves with vinegar and water

The inside of a pair of leather gloves is often filled with a plush and delicate material, like cashmere or wool, and this soft textile makes the gloves extra snuggly on cold winter nights.

However, as is the case with all gloves, eventually, the inside of the leather gloves becomes overrun with odours. And deodorising the inside of the gloves is the only way to combat this.

Follow the steps below to make the gloves smell better:

  1. Grab one leather glove.
  2. Turn the glove inside out. Make sure you see the inside of every finger!
  3. Fill a clean spray bottle with half a cup of white vinegar and half a cup of water. You don’t need loads of solution!
  4. Give the bottle a shake to mix the two products.
  5. Place the glove on a flat, neutral-coloured towel.
  6. Stand back from the glove.
  7. Spray a fine mist of water and white vinegar over the inside of the glove.
  8. Don’t saturate the leather glove! Stick to using a fine mist!
  9. Wait approximately 15 minutes for the mist to dry off.
  10. Grab a paper towel (kitchen roll) and dab the inside of the glove to remove excess moisture from it.
  11. Leave the glove to air dry naturally on the flat, towelled surface.
  12. Repeat for the second leather glove.

Note: Don’t forget to do a quick patch test before you begin!


Professional Cleaning

If you cannot remove troubling stains from your gloves, or you’re a little worried about washing your leather gloves at home, you could ask a professional leather cleaner for advice. And if you speak to the right person, perhaps they’ll be able to do the work for you too.

It may be tricky to find a leather specialist near you who can also clean gloves at first. So, ask large leather retailers to start off with to see if they can put you in touch with a specialist (if they can’t carry out the job themselves).

When you find a specialist, ask plenty of questions, pick someone reputable with plenty of good reviews, and find out what you’ll be charged and if there are any hidden fees.

For example, you may have to send the leather gloves away, so postage and packaging may need to be paid.


Drying Leather Gloves

drying leather gloves with towel

To dry your leather gloves, follow the steps below:

  1. Place a soft, neutral-coloured towel on a flat surface.
  2. Place one glove flat on the towel. Make sure every finger rests flat on the surface.
  3. Optional: Fold the towel over the glove and press down very gently to remove excess moisture from the material.
  4. Place the second glove next door to the first glove on the towel and repeat Step 3.
  5. Unfold the towel and leave the gloves resting on the towel until they are dry.
  6. Throughout the drying period, put the gloves on to stretch them out and to help them keep their shape.
  7. Repeat Step 6 multiple times.
  8. Optional: Condition the leather gloves to protect them in between cleans.

Tip: Never scrunch, twist or fold your gloves, as they will go out of shape and may even crack in places.