Buying a new glove can be pretty challenging. You need to spend hours, if not days, doing your due diligence if you want to end up with a glove that suits your playstyle perfectly. And you would think that once you find the perfect glove and get it shipped to your home, you can play with it at last.
Sorry to burst your bubbles, but unfortunately, you would still have to wait a while before you can use your glove in a competitive game. You see, almost all leather baseball gloves need to go through a “break-in” process before it gets soft and comfortable in your hands. A new glove will almost always feel tight and stiff.
Now breaking in a glove can be done in many ways. We at Baseball Hover are firm believers in breaking it using the old-fashioned way. So, if you ask me, I would suggest playing catch with the glove as much as you can. It should break in within a couple of weeks.
But I get it – not everyone has the time. Well, there are some ways that help break in a new glove sooner. One method that is extremely popular among players is steaming their new gloves. But if this is your first glove, I’m sure you are wondering – is it even safe?
Well, that’s what I am here to discuss today. By the end of this article, you should know all that you need to understand to decide whether steaming your baseball glove is worth it. So, let’s hop in.
What is Baseball Glove Steaming
So, the first thing to know here is what it means to steam a baseball glove. Well, it’s pretty self-explanatory. You take a new baseball glove and put it in a steam pot, and let the leather soak up the steam. The idea here is that the steam will cause the leather to moisten up slightly and get softer.
There are several baseball gear repair shops out there that offer this sort of service. They will take your new high-quality baseball glove off your hands and break it in for you at a price.
The advantage of this method is it significantly cuts down the overall break-in time for your baseball glove. If you manage to pull it off, you should have a perfectly game-ready glove in your hands in two or three days. And I’ll admit, it does beat having to play a few weeks’ worths of catch to break in your new glove.
But then again, there are certainly some risks involved with the method. So if you don’t want to take any chances with your new glove, I would suggest steering clear of this idea.
Does Steaming a Baseball Glove Damage it?
While plenty of shops use steam as a quick way to soften and break in a new life, doing it the wrong way can certainly damage your glove. Leather is a tough material to deal with. And it doesn’t respond all that well to heat or water.
So when you apply steam to the glove, it’s fine up to a certain point, but overdoing it can turn the leather even stiffer once it dries. On top of that, steaming the glove without proper knowledge can damage the ability of the glove to retain its shape once you start using it.
If you ask me, the best way to break in your new glove is to play catch with it. It takes time, sure, but it is still safe and won’t damage your glove in any way. Steaming is a valid alternative, but the risks can often outweigh the benefit.
How to Steam a Baseball Glove at Home
If you are still adamant about breaking in your baseball glove using this method, then I will be the last person to stop you. But I will try to make sure you are doing everything the right way so that you don’t damage your glove in the end. So try to follow my instructions to the tee.
You need a couple of things to get started, though. First, make sure you have a pot ready nearby where you can prepare the steam. You also need a towel, a decent pair of heat-resistant gloves, and something to help you shape the baseball glove (a rubber mallet or a ball). Once you have everything, you are ready to get started.
Here are the steps:
Step – 1: Preparing the Pot
Before you get to the glove, let’s start preparing the pot to create steam. Start with a large round pot and fill it up about halfway with clean water. Then put the pot on a stove and turn up the heat. You can cover up the top of the pot with a lid to let the steam build up inside it.
Step – 2: Preparing the Glove
As the pot heats up, take your fresh new baseball glove, and give it a quick wipe with a clean piece of cloth. Then wrap up the glove with a thin towel entirely. Make sure the towel is thin enough to let the steam penetrate it and reach the glove’s leather.
Step – 3: Applying Steam
Now that both your pot of boiling water and the glove are ready, it’s time to get to work. At this point, you should put in your oven mitt or any other heat-resistant glove.
Take off the lid of the pot and let a bit of steam get through first. Then take your glove wrapped up in a towel and hold it slightly above the water. This will allow the steam to penetrate the towel and reach the glove. Hold it in this position for a minute or two, depending on how hard the leather is.
Step – 4: Shaping the Glove
Holding the glove over steam for two minutes should be more than enough to soften it up. Now take the glove away from the steam and open it up. You now need to work the glove with your rubber mallet and gently press it into your desired shape.
Try to keep the pressure as even as possible. You don’t want to damage the leather by putting too much pressure on the glove. If you think the leather is still stiff, then apply another minute of steam to the glove.
Step – 5: Let it Dry
Once the glove is shaped, you need to give it some time to dry. Don’t use any direct heat sources, such as a heater or a hairdryer, to accelerate this step. Air drying the glove is the only right way to proceed.
The glove should dry completely within 24 hours. That’s about all there’s to it. After the glove dries, you should notice the material being softer and more comfortable than when you first got it.
Safety Tips for Steaming Your Baseball Glove
There’s one thing I should mention before I take my leave – this method is not a substitute for using leather conditioners on your glove. If your glove is already broken in, don’t steam it again if the leather loses its shape or goes stiff. Instead, go with a sports-approved leather conditioner or any proper baseball glove oil alternatives to make it soft again.
- Avoid over-steaming your glove. Too much steam can damage the leather. So make sure you steam your glove only for a minute or two.
- Practice caution while handling boiling water. Always wear safety gloves to avoid serious burns.
- Make sure you shape the glove properly after steaming it.
- Don’t dry the glove with any direct heat applicators.
- Condition your glove regularly, or it can lose its shape.
- Only use steam to break in new gloves. Don’t use it to reshape old gloves.
Now That We’re Here
Steaming your baseball glove, even though I don’t like it, is a pretty valid way to break it the first time. It can drastically reduce the time it takes for you to get it ready for your next big game. But since there are some serious risks involved, make sure you are fully prepared to handle it if things go south.
The best advice I can give you is to hire professional help for this sort of project. By spending a couple of bucks, you can make sure your glove is broken in properly, and you won’t be putting yourself in any danger. But if you still want to do it yourself, you now know the right steps.
I hope my in-depth guideline on how to steam a baseball glove can help you break in your new glove without any hassle. Good luck!