How to Care for a Baseball Glove
Though leather baseball gloves are tough and durable, they're made from an organic hide that's naturally vulnerable to deterioration. The right baseball glove care will extend the life of your glove, and reward you with years of use.
First of all, take a look at what the glove manufacturer's care instructions say. For your general information, we've provided a few practical tips for routine maintenance for keeping your baseball glove in great shape.
Break in your glove naturally. Best way to break in your glove is to play ball with it! Don't try and force your glove using the old home remedies such as soaking, lubricating, baking, beating, etc. which will do nothing more than wreck your glove. (See How to Break in a Baseball Glove).
Make baseball glove care a routine. Regular maintenance of your glove in between uses, or at least once per season, will keep your glove in top condition.
Clean your baseball glove after each use. Remove it from your equipment bag, wipe the dirt and debris off with a clean rag, and store it on a shelf.
Store your glove between uses on a shelf in a cool dry place, or at room temperature. Don't leave your glove sitting around outside, near a heater, or in your equipment bag.
Keep your glove dry. If your glove gets wet, dry if off as well as you can with a clean absorbent rag and let it naturally air dry. Be aware that air drying tends to stiffen the leather. Don't worry; it should soften again naturally with use. Do not blow dry it, put it near a furnace, or in the dryer as this can dry the leather out and make it crack. Apply a safe leather conditioner to the glove after it has dried to soften it.
Protect the inside of your glove. Sweat and dirt from your hands can take a toll on the inside of your glove. Protect it by wearing a light glove, such as your batting glove, inside of your baseball glove.
Clean and condition your baseball glove using safe leather product, such as Lexol leather cleaner and conditioner, or Kelley Glovolution. Some people recommend using a lanolin shaving cream! Don't spit on your glove, as the material in your saliva can deteriorate it.
Reshape your glove. At least once a season place a softball in the pocket of your glove, and wrap it with a binder. Tighten or retie the laces in the fingers and web of your glove; best to use square and overhand knots.
Check in between the fingers of your gloves for open seams and palms, and check for broken laces. If you find any, have them repaired as soon as possible to prevent injury and mishaps.
How to Clean your Baseball Glove
A little tender loving care between uses or at least once a season, and you'll have a glove that lasts you many seasons. Here's what to do:
- Brush the dirt and dust off your glove with a light brush.
- Use a damp cloth or sponge to apply a small amount of glove leather cleaner; Lexol leather cleaner is good. Wipe the entire glove with it.
- Remove the cleaner from the glove with a damp cloth or sponge, and allow to air dry.
- Rub in an oil product safe for baseball glove leather, such as Lexol leather conditioner, Kelley Glovolution, or a lanolin-based product to the entire glove, and store.
Use too much leather cleaner or your glove will never forgive you!
Over oil, or use oil conditioners such as linseed oil, mink oil, neatsfoot oil, silicon, or petroleum-based products as the oil will to tend to close the pores and build up on the glove. Your best bet is to stick with products known to be safe for baseball glove leather, or follow your manufacturer's recommendations.
Baseball glove leather is organic and vulnerable to deterioration over time. Glove leather requires care, and regular maintenance to keep it performing well. Remember to break your glove in naturally, store at room or cool temperatures indoors after games and practices, and in between seasons. Don't heat-dry your glove, and keep it clean and conditioned with safe products - preferably those specifically designed for glove leather. With the right baseball glove care, you'll be enjoying your glove for many seasons to come!