Baseball is an outdoor sport. And like all outdoor sports, sometimes you just have to tough it out and play in the rain – it’s unavoidable. And if you have to play in the rain, there’s a high possibility that once you’re done, your favorite baseball glove will be drenched in water.
Now baseball gloves are not like soccer balls. You can’t just play in the rain with your gloves and expect no repercussions. Excessive exposure to moisture can and will damage them and shorten their lifespan pretty drastically. So that begs the question – how do you dry a wet baseball glove?
I mean, you can’t exactly put them in the microwave or dry them with a hairdryer (Bad idea, trust me). So, what are your options? Well, air drying is the only way to go here. But you also need to apply glove conditioners while you’re at it. Long story short, there is a fair bit of preparation for this.
I will give you a couple of tips to make sure you are drying your baseball gloves the right way and minimizing damage as much as possible. So, let’s hop in.
Is a Baseball Glove Ruined If It Gets Wet?
Before I take you deeper down the rabbit hole, let’s start with one question that might be circling your thoughts – is this the end for your glove? If it got wet, was it time to say goodbye? Thankfully, no. But that doesn’t mean you can just toss it in the locker and call it a day. You need to dry it up properly, condition the leather, and remoisturize it so that it doesn’t soak up the rainwater completely. Otherwise, all sorts of issues can crop up in your baseball glove.
One of the main issues that come up is that the glove gets heavier. This happens when you let the leather soak up the rainwater. Other issues that can occur if you don’t dry wet baseball gloves include cracks in the leather, misshapen glove pocket, etc. So, it’s best that you tackle it as soon as possible.
How to Dry a Soaked Baseball Glove
Now that you understand the risks of leaving it wet, let’s look at how you can restore your baseball glove. Make sure you have a couple of clean towels and a bottle of your favorite glove conditioner in your hands before you get started.
Step – 1: Soak up Excess Water
The first thing you should do if your expensive baseball glove gets wet is pat it down with a clean towel. You need to make sure you get it as dry as possible, applying a bit of pressure every now and then to soak up any excess moisture from the glove. Once a towel soaks up enough water and gets damp, switch to a fresh, dry towel.
You should wrap a baseball with a towel and push it into the pocket of the baseball glove. That way, the towel will apply a bit of pressure from inside the pocket, retaining its shape and also soaking up any excess water from the gloves. Then take another clean towel and push it through the wrist opening all the way up to the finger stalls. And then, take the third towel and use it to cover up the entire baseball glove.
The main thing to keep in mind here is not to let the towel get too damp. If it does, you should immediately replace them. You can also use newspapers if you don’t have that many towels for this step.
Step – 2: Air dry using a Fan
Once you soak up as much water as you can using towels, you need to dry the glove. I would suggest picking up a box fan if you don’t have a ceiling fan at your home. You should be able to find one in any of your local supermarkets for around 20 to 30 bucks.
Put the baseball glove on a table in front of the fan and turn it on. You want the fan to point directly at the wet leather. Alternatively, you can lean the baseball glove against the fan so that it gets the air directly on the surface. Don’t let the glove get too cold, either.
You should try to keep the baseball glove at room temperature, turning the fan on and off after a couple of minutes. Once you see that the glove has dried up a bit, we can move on to the next step.
Step – 3: Use Glove Oil
So, you soaked up the moisture and dried out the glove. That should be enough, right? Well, not exactly. If you leave the glove at that point, after a while, you will notice that the leather has started to crack. To prevent that, you need to rehydrate the leather using a glove conditioner. Now you might be wondering – isn’t the whole point here to remove the moisture? Why hydrate, then?
Well, leather is like human skin. If you let it be wet for too long, it will start to deteriorate. And if it dries up too much, it will start to crack. A glove leather conditioner helps you find the sweet spot between too much and too little moisture.
Apply leather conditioner on a piece of clean cloth and rub it thoroughly into the leather. You need to rub gently, covering the entire surface of the glove. Do not go overboard with the amount of leather conditioner that you use, as that might do more harm than good.
Of course, there are many baseball glove oil alternatives, too, if you don’t have a specialized glove conditioner in your home. They can work wonders as long as you apply them the right way.
Step – 4: Let it Rest
Once you are done with the three steps above, it’s time to let the glove rest. Place it in a dry location indoors and let it rest for at least 24 hours. Make sure the room is well-ventilated, but don’t let it sit under direct sunlight. After 24 hours, your glove should be back to its normal shape and color, and you can use it as usual.
Step – 5: Repeat as Needed
Of course, if you think the glove still needs work, you can repeat the steps above until you are satisfied with the looks and condition of your baseball glove. Personally, I would recommend not repeating the steps more than two times.
Things to Keep in Mind When Drying Your Wet Baseball Glove
Drying a wet baseball glove is really not that difficult once you know the right way. Here are a couple of good practices that you can adopt to make sure your glove is in good condition once you are done with it.
Tip – 1: Weigh the Glove
When a baseball glove gets wet, it gets heavy as it soaks up the water. It’s a good idea to weigh your glove once before you start the drying process and once after you are done drying it. If you have an idea of how much it weighs in normal conditions, you can use this info to figure out how much moisture is left in the glove after drying it.
Tip – 2: Do Not Use Direct Heat
You may have seen people put their gloves in the microwave or use a hairdryer to dry them faster. But if you want your baseball glove to last, that’s the last thing you want to do with it.
If it gets wet, use towels to soak up moisture, and let it air dry. Applying heat directly to the surface can cause the leather to dry too fast. This can lead to cracks in the leather pretty easily. So, however tempting it may seem to accelerate the drying of your glove using direct heat, don’t do it.
Tip – 3: Do Not Wring
If the glove is drenched completely, you might get the bright idea of wringing it to get the last bit of water out as you would with a towel. But that’s an extremely bad idea.
Wringing your baseball glove will not only cause it to become unshapely, but it can also damage the leather. You might not be able to reshape your glove at all once it dries up.
Tip – 4: Reshape the Glove
Once your glove is fresh and dry, you might notice that its shape is slightly off. In that case, you might want to reshape the glove using a wooden or rubber mallet.
Drying a wet baseball glove is not as complicated as it may seem at first. Since it’s a piece of outdoor sports gear, a bit of rain will not ruin it. However, leaving it in a wet condition won’t do it any favor, either. My advice – after the game, take some time to tend to the glove and dry it properly.
I hope my five-step solution to drying a wet baseball glove could help you restore and preserve your glove without any hassle. Cheers!