Skip links
Leather Gloves

How to Wash, Dry & Condition Your Leather Gloves

Leather gloves are stylish, practical, and oh-so-comfortable. But cleaning them is more complex than tossing them in the wash. It requires finesse.

I’ve been there, staring at my dirty leather gloves, wondering how to restore their former glory without damaging them. Over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to wash and care for these fashion staples properly. So, if you’re in the same boat, you’re in the right place. I’m here to share my knowledge and guide you through the process.

Understanding Leather Types

Venturing into the realm of leather gloves, it’s understandable how one could become overwhelmed by the various kinds of leather used in glove making. I’ll walk you through some common types of leather and how each differs in care needs.

To start with, take a look at full-grain leather. This is the highest quality grade, boasting the most natural look as it retains the skin’s original texture. These gloves are durable but absorb lots of dirt and grease, making them more challenging to clean.

Then we have top-grain leather. It’s similar to full-grain but has had the surface lightly sanded to remove imperfections. As a result, top-grain leather gloves often have a slightly smoother finish. This makes them easier to clean, but they’re still relatively wear and tear-resistant.

Genuine leather, or lower-quality leather, also factors into the glove market. This leather is a composite of the lower-quality layers of the hide, often coated with chemicals to give it a more appealing look. Gloves made from genuine leather are less durable and require more careful cleaning.

Moving on to the exotic, we find suede leather—luxurious and delicate. Suede gloves demand the most care when cleaning to maintain their soft nap and avoid water damage.

So, here’s a summary of what we’ve learned so far:

  • Full-Grain Leather – High Durability – Difficult Cleaning
  • Top Grain Leather – Medium Durability – Medium Cleaning
  • Genuine Leather – Low Durability – Complicated Cleaning 
  • Suede Leather – Medium-Low Durability – High Caution Cleaning

Knowing your leather type is a prerequisite to finding the correct cleaning method. My next section prepares you with practical strategies for each type. That way, you’re informed and equipped to keep your leather gloves in optimal condition.

Preparing the Gloves for Washing

Before we dive into the specifics of cleaning each type of leather, it’s essential to focus on preparation. Proper preparation ensures efficient cleaning without damaging the glove material. Follow these steps for an optimal leather glove-washing experience.

Firstly, determine the type of leather you’re dealing with. This is crucial because, as discussed earlier, the type dictates cleaning strategies. Each leather type, whether full-grain, top-grain, genuine, or suede, demands a particular cleaning approach.

Next, check for manufacturer’s instructions and refer to the laundry symbols from the University of Florida. Many glove makers provide bespoke cleaning guidelines. It’s essential to follow these instructions for the manufacturer’s leather type. They often contain valuable insights, such as appropriate cleaning products and methods that safeguard your glove’s quality.

Thirdly, inspect the gloves for stains or dirt. Pay closer attention to any visible stains. You may need to pre-treat with a stain-removing product before general cleaning. A crucial tip: always test these products on an inconspicuous glove area first to prevent undesired discoloration or damage.

Handwashing Method

The handwashing method is dependable for cleaning most leather gloves, but remember the initial caution—always check the manufacturer’s instructions. Before we delve into the step-by-step procedure, it is worthwhile to understand why handwashing is so efficient for leather gloves. This method’s gentleness prevents harmful stretching and distortion, maintaining the shape and integrity of your valuable gloves. Now, onto the heart of the process.

Firstly, it’s vital to dampen the gloves with cold water. Avoid hot water as it can shrink leather, reducing the fit and comfort of your gloves. Mix a few drops of mild liquid detergent in a small basin with cold water. The key here is soft and fluid – a harsh or solid soap could damage the smooth texture of some leather types.

With thoroughly soaked gloves, gently clean the surface using a soft sponge or cloth. A toothbrush with soft bristles could work wonders for stubborn stains, but remember to brush lightly to avoid scuffing the leather.

Rinse your gloves thoroughly under cold water until the soap residue is entirely washed off. Seeing clear water running off the gloves is the aim of this rinsing stage.

Drying your leather gloves requires the most patience. The best practice is to let them air dry naturally, away from direct sunlight and any heat sources. Rapid drying can result in cracks, which is an undeniable gloom for leather enthusiasts. Blot any excess water with a towel, but avoid wringing out the gloves. Stuffing the gloves with paper towels can help maintain their shape while drying.

When switching to your full-grain leather gloves, it’s important to note that they need a specific cleaning regimen. In the ensuing section, let’s delve into the caveats of handling and washing full-grain leather.

Using Leather Cleaning Solutions

Moving beyond mild detergents and manual methods, let’s delve into using leather cleaning solutions. These are specially formulated products designed to protect, clean, and enhance the longevity of your leather gloves. However, it’s vital to ensure you’re using a product appropriate for your specific type of leather.

Before you get started, check the manufacturer’s instructions. Companies may suggest different types of cleaners, and using the wrong one could lead to irreversible damage. Once you’ve got the right product, it’s a straightforward process.

With the gloves lightly damp, apply a small amount of the leather cleaning solution to a soft, clean cloth. You don’t want to soak the cloth – it should be slightly damp but not dripping. Gently clean the surface of the gloves with the cloth, avoiding harsh scrubbing or rubbing.

Ensure you cover the entire surface area of the gloves, paying extra attention to areas that see more use, such as the palms and fingers. It’s crucial to avoid soaking the leather – you’re aiming for a gentle cleanse rather than a full immersion wash.

Another key aspect to keep in mind is drying. Rapid drying or exposure to direct sunlight can crack the leather – something you’ll want to avoid. Instead, let the gloves air dry naturally in a cool, well-ventilated area. This allows the leather to dry evenly, reducing the risk of damage.

Next, we’ll focus on polishing the gloves—an essential step to revitalize your leather gloves’ look and feel. But remember, while these leather cleaning solutions can help with maintenance and care, serious stains or damage may require professional cleaning services. Always consider the state of your gloves before deciding on the right cleaning method to employ.

Drying and Conditioning the Gloves

After following the detailed method for cleaning your leather gloves with a special leather cleaning solution, it’s time to focus on the drying and conditioning stage. This stage is crucial for preventing your gloves from cracking or drying out, particularly if they’re a high-quality pair.

When it comes to drying, it’s essential to let your gloves dry naturally. Avoid using heat sources such as hair dryers, heaters, or direct sunlight. Rather, place them on a clean, dry towel and gently reshape them if necessary. This method will help maintain their original shape and prevent any shrinkage.

Let’s take a brief look at some drying best practices

  • Place the gloves flat on a clean, dry towel
  • Filter out direct sunlight
  • Avoid high heat and flame exposure

While the gloves are drying, consider using a leather conditioner. The conditioner helps restore natural oils that cleaning may have removed, preventing your gloves from becoming brittle or cracked. As with the cleaning solution, select a conditioner appropriate for your gloves’ leather type.

How to condition your leather gloves:

  1. Apply a small amount of conditioner on a cloth.
  2. Gently rub it into the leather, paying special attention to high-use areas.
  3. Leave the conditioner to absorb.

Remember, consider using professional leather cleaning services if there are severe stains or damage.


So there you have it – cleaning, drying, conditioning, and polishing is the key to keeping your leather gloves looking their best. Remember, it’s all about patience and practice. Let those gloves dry naturally to hold their shape and avoid shrinking. Remember, the leather conditioner is used to restore those natural oils and prevent brittleness. And finally, give them an excellent polish for that glossy finish. With these steps, you’ll ensure your gloves stay in top-notch condition. Here’s to many more years of stylish, well-maintained leather gloves!

Clotheslyne: A Professional Laundry Solution

For those who prefer professional laundry care, Clotheslyne provides an ideal solution. Through the app, you can hire Clotheslyners for expert laundry services, including washing, drying, and folding of clothes and bulky items.

Choosing Clotheslyne ensures your laundry is handled with care and expertise. It’s convenient for those who value their time and prefer professional laundry services.

To use Clotheslyne, download the iOS Apple App or Google Play Store Android app to schedule your laundry pick up.

You can also schedule your laundry pick up through our web portal.

Fill up a tall kitchen bag full of clothes. A Clotheslyner in your community will pick it up and deliver it back to you washed, dried, and folded in 48 hours. It’s that simple.

Got a question for us? Head over to our contact us page and make a custom request by email or by phone! We’re here to help.

FREE pickup and delivery laundry services for less than drop-off at your local laundromat!