Baseball and softball gloves are an important part of being a great player. It isn’t enough to just buy a glove, wear it on the field, and hope it gets the job done. You need to break your glove in, take care of it, condition it, and help maintain it so it extends beyond just a single season. And it isn’t just about the cosmetics of a new glove - properly caring for your fielding glove will ensure you realize if it’s in danger of breaking down when you need it the most.
In this baseball and softball glove care guide, we'll discuss
Why Cleaning Your Glove is Important
Proper softball and baseball glove care is essential to ensuring your glove lasts longer than just one season. Keep in mind that most gloves are made of tough and durable organic leather, but they’re vulnerable to deterioration if not properly maintained. Going through an entire season not caring for your glove will turn your investment into one that’s guaranteed not to last long. And let’s face it, once you spend the time it takes to break in your glove, the last thing you want to do is have to start the whole process over again.
How to Clean Your Baseball or Softball Glove
If you don’t know any better, you may think cleaning a baseball or softball glove is as simple as wiping off the excess dirt that builds up, but if you want to learn how to clean a baseball glove or softball glove the right way, there are some tools that you can use to help.
Glove cleaning tools include:
- Cotton rag or terry cloth
- Leather safe cleaner (it’s important to note that you definitely want to avoid using cleaner that’s made for saddles or shoes, as these leave a slick surface that may gunk up on the exterior or interior of your glove)
- Glove conditioner (only those approved for use on baseball and softball gloves)
The process to clean a glove is simple and can be completed as follows:
- Remove excess dirt and debris from your fielding glove by gently using a brush or piece of cloth:
- Using leather safe cleaner and a soft cloth, wipe off any dirt that still remains. Keep in mind, a little goes a long way.
- Use the conditioner to moisturize the glove. You want to apply the conditioner lightly and work it into the glove. Make sure not to use too much, as it could build up over time. This will weigh the glove down and will actually become a home for dirt and debris to gather as well. While conditioning, be sure to get between the fingers and on the inside as much as possible. This will help prevent the leather from deteriorating.
How to Clean the Inside of a Baseball Glove
Cleaning the inside if your baseball or softball glove isn’t all that different from the outside. One key difference though is to make sure you check for and prevent mold growth. Simply buff any mold growth away. After, rub the glove oil you’ve selected over the inside area of the glove.
How to Properly Store Your Glove
One of the greatest mistakes a player can make is not knowing how to store a baseball glove properly. Sometimes players just toss their glove in a closet or in the garage, or they leave it in their bat bag for long periods of time. Taking care of your glove the proper way, both during the season and during the off season, will ensure it’s ready to go when the next spring rolls around. Follow these ultimate baseball glove storage tips to keep your glove in the best condition:
- During the off-season: In the winter months, store your glove in a cool, dry place, or even at room temperature. You should never leave it in your equipment bag, near a heater, or outside for extended periods of time.
- Keep your glove dry: If your glove gets wet during game play or due to any other circumstances, use a clean, absorbent rag to dry it off and then let it dry naturally. The leather may become a little stiff, but this can be remedied with conditioner after it has dried.
- Clean and condition: Use approved conditioners - don’t spit in the glove. This will only contribute to it drying out.
- Store with a ball: You should keep a ball rolled in the glove during the off months to keep the pocket shaped.
It’s worth noting that keeping a glove in the bed of a truck or trunk of a car and exposing it to extreme sun and heat can contribute to the breaking down of the leather and laces quickly. If you notice a lace has begun to rip or crack, you will want to re-lace the glove before using it in a game again or else you risk it breaking, possibly leading to injury. If you do need to re-lace your glove, check out our how to repair your glove guide.
How to Dry a Baseball Glove
Every baseball player has suffered through a dreaded rain delay at some point. But what happens to your leather glove after sitting in the rain? If not properly dried off, it can cause damage to your glove.
Here are the steps to properly dry a baseball or softball glove:
- With a clean, dry towel pat the glove all around to soak up as much moisture as possible.
- Cover the glove with a conditioner approved by your glove’s manufacturer.
- Allow the glove to sit out in an open, dry location inside. Keep away from sunlight or hear, and allow the conditioner to pull the moisture out of the glove.
- Place a ball in the pocket of the glove and wrap it once complete. If the glove is still stiff, recondition again before placing the ball in the pocket.
Baseball Glove Cleaner
There are a variety of products that can help you clean your glove. Whether you need glove oil, glove conditioner, a glove wrap, a glove mallet, or a complete glove care kit, we’ve got you covered.
There you have it! Your glove should feel brand new. If you want a bona fide new glove, come check our huge selection of baseball and softball gloves and read some of our other guides. Be sure to share this guide with your friends!