How to Clean a Baseball Glove | Guidelines on Cleaning

Caring for your baseball glove and accessories should never take a backseat in your quest to become the best player in the world. Everyone talks about the flashy side of the game, but trust me when I say this – what goes on in the background is just as important.

Discipline is the key here, and if you can’t manage to keep your glove clean between practices and matches, then that doesn’t speak well about your character. That’s why I make sure that the players in my team always take some time after practice to wipe off the dirt from their gloves and bats.

But that’s not enough when it comes to cleaning your glove. Sure, wiping off loose dirt can serve as a temporary fix. But over time, dirt will start to build up on the outer shell. And when that happens, you need to dig deep and put in some elbow grease to make sure it’s cleaned properly.

Don’t worry. I will help you understand the dos and don’ts of cleaning your baseball glove and how to get the toughest stains out of it with minimal hassle. So let’s get into it.

What Can I Use to Clean a Baseball Glove?

What makes cleaning a baseball glove tricky is what you can or can’t use with it. Traditionally, baseball gloves are made of leather. And leather, as a material, doesn’t respond too well to water or any random cleaning chemicals. The leather can become heavy or might even start flaking once it dries.

So, you need to understand your boundaries. Personally, I like to use cleaning products designed especially for leather baseball gloves when I am cleaning them. While the products can get quite pricey, it’s still cheaper than having to buy a new baseball glove.

What Can I Use to Clean a Baseball Glove

There are, of course, some good alternatives to baseball glove oils and conditioners that you can use. But I would advise caution if you decide to go this route. Only use it as a last resort, and don’t make a habit out of it. Get yourself a decent sports-approved glove conditioner as soon as you can.

Let me explain – Vaseline is often considered a good product to clean your glove when you don’t have anything else in hand. And it does the job well once or twice. But if you keep cleaning your glove with Vaseline regularly, you can start to see the leather crack within a couple of months.

Long story short – try to stick to sports-approved baseball glove cleaning products if you want to make sure your glove comes out well when you are done cleaning it.

How to Clean Baseball Gloves

How to Clean Baseball Gloves

If you know your gloves, then I’m sure you are aware that there are a couple of different types of baseball gloves. While professionals or competitive athletes tend to use leather baseball gloves, a large chunk of casual players prefer to go with synthetic leather or mesh gloves to keep their expenses low.

Don’t get me wrong – in the battle between leather vs synthetic baseball gloves, leather always comes out on top. But you still can’t ignore the fact that mesh or synthetic gloves offer amazing value for the price.

Now the steps to cleaning a leather baseball glove and a mesh glove can vary. So, I will split up this section into different parts to tackle the different materials.

Cleaning the Leather Baseball Glove

If you own a leather baseball glove, then chances are you have spent quite a few bucks for it. And if you want to make sure your glove is safe, avoid the urge to toss it in the dishwasher or washing machine. Cleaning a leather baseball glove is quite tricky, and you need to make sure you are taking your time with it.

Cleaning the Leather Baseball Glove

I have already discussed in detail how you can clean your leather baseball glove in another article. But if you haven’t had the chance to read it, here’s a quick rundown for you.

  • Use a clean toothbrush to rub off any dirt residue from the outer shell of the glove. Make sure you get the spot between the fingers and the laces.
  • Apply a bit (less is more) of leather cleaner on a clean piece of cloth and buff out the glove gently.
  • After cleaning the entire surface of the glove, let it rest for a while. Use another clean, slightly damp cloth to wipe off any excess cleaner from the glove. Wait for it to dry completely.
  • Apply a small amount of glove conditioner on another small rag and rub it on the entire surface of the glove. Make sure you use a small circular motion while rubbing it in to make sure the glove soaks it up completely.

Once you are done with it, leave the glove in a well-ventilated location and let it dry fully. I like to leave it overnight. And by the next morning, your glove should be clean as a whistle.

Cleaning a Synthetic Leather Baseball Glove

Synthetic leather gloves are favored by many casual or youth players who just want a simple and affordable glove for their games. While they are not as durable as leather gloves, they offer amazing value for their price.

And as it turns out, cleaning a synthetic leather baseball glove is much easier than cleaning a leather glove. You don’t need to use leather conditioners to buff up a synthetic leather glove. And even if you do, it won’t do anything to make your glove any better.

Instead, you should simply take a soft, microfiber cloth, dip it in a bowl of soapy water, and wipe the glove completely clean. Make sure you get all the tight, hard-to-reach spaces in the glove. Once you are done, let the glove dry completely. You don’t want to speed up the process by applying heat directly to the glove, though. Air drying is still the best option.

Cleaning a Mesh Baseball Glove

Mesh gloves are also a thing for those that didn’t know. While it used to be mostly present in affordable, entry-level gloves, these days, even some pro-level gloves use mesh in their gloves. Gloves like the Rawlings PRO303, for example, use a mesh backing for better breathability and comfort. But that’s a story for another day.

In this article, I will stick mostly to cleaning the affordable kind of mesh baseball gloves. When you want to clean those high-end mesh gloves, you should read the section where I talked about cleaning leather baseball gloves. Let’s get back to the topic at hand.

Cleaning a Mesh Baseball Glove

The thing that makes mesh gloves so popular is their price. It also breaks in easily, and maintaining a mesh glove takes no additional effort. In fact, you can even get away with tossing your mesh baseball glove in the washing machine if you want.

However, if you decide to do that, I would recommend putting the glove in a mesh bag. That way, the glove won’t get tangled up with other things inside the washing machine.

Also, make sure that you are using a gentle wash cycle with cold water in the washing machine. You should also apply only a small amount of detergent. Avoid using the drier, though, as that can damage the glove.

Can You Bleach a Baseball Glove?

A couple of weeks back, one of my youth players came to me with a question. He was getting bored with how his glove looked, and he wanted to give it a fresh new color. So, he asked me if it was okay for him to bleach his baseball glove.

And if you are planning on doing something similar, I want to tell you right now – it’s an extremely bad idea.

You see, bleach is a generic name, and it refers to an abrasive chemical that can remove the color from a particular surface and leave it white. And because of the toxic, harsh nature of this material, using it on your baseball glove is a strict no-no.

Sure, you might be able to get rid of the color, but you will also be damaging your glove beyond repair. If you want to jazz up the look of your baseball glove, there are better ways out there. For example, embroidering your baseball glove is a good, safe way to give your glove a visual upgrade.

Now That We’re Here

We all want the get the best out of our baseball gloves. But the truth is, for that to happen, you also need to put in some work. Keeping your baseball glove clean and game-ready is part of the whole deal of being a pro ballplayer. So, don’t leave it off for the next day when you can clean it today.

I hope my guidelines on cleaning your baseball glove can help you get through this chore with minimal hassles. Cheers!

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