Keeping your baseball glove clean and game-ready all the time can become a real hassle for any ballplayer. No matter what you do, after a week of games, it seems that your baseball glove always gets dirty.
That doesn’t mean you should stop cleaning it. On the contrary, cleaning your baseball glove should be a weekly practice for any player. A clean glove lasts longer and also speaks volumes about your discipline as a player.
But then again, glove-cleaning products are not exactly cheap. And having to spend money on new cleaning products every other month can become a burden for many. Thankfully, there are some alternatives that you can use. One such alternative that many people go with is olive oil.
However, using olive oil on a baseball glove isn’t the best idea.
I know it makes sense, right? Olive oil is cheap and also pretty easily available in most local stores. And it is also used as a cleaning tool at times. But is it really okay to use olive oil on a baseball glove? Let’s look at the answers in detail.
Is it Safe to Use Olive Oil on a Baseball Glove?
It’s common knowledge that olive oil comes from olives and is a popular cooking oil. But before you use it on your favorite baseball glove, let me give you a quick chemistry lesson.
There’s a scientific scale called iodine value (or iodine index) that refers to a spectrum for all sorts of oil. In this imaginary spectrum, you have unsaturated oil on one side and saturated oil on the other. The higher the iodine value of the oil, the more chance it has to go rancid when exposed to heat or sunlight.
Now the iodine value of olive oil is around 85, which is pretty high. This makes it extremely unstable and sensitive to oxidation. By comparison, the glove oils that baseball gear manufacturers sell usually have an iodine value under 10.
Because of the high iodine value of olive oil, it’s really not a good idea to use it to clean or break in your new leather baseball glove. If you don’t want to buy glove oils, you can try using saddle soap or coconut oil as an alternative.
However, if you are caught in a pinch and olive oil is the only product that you can use at the moment, make sure you apply as small an amount as possible. You should never apply it directly to the glove’s surface in any case. Pour a dash of olive oil into a clean piece of cloth and rub it gently into the surface of the glove.
If you use only a small amount of it, it shouldn’t leave any lasting effect on the glove. Baseball gloves are designed to handle a lot, and you shouldn’t think that a bit of olive oil will cause it to break down right away.
But prolonged exposure to olive oil will damage your glove. It will get heavier, the color will turn dark, and the leather might also start to crack. So if you want your baseball glove to last a couple of seasons, make sure you don’t use olive oil as a long-term cleaning product for it.
Baseball glove oils can be pretty expensive. And while olive oil might seem like an easy solution to all your problems, it really isn’t. There are better alternatives to glove oils out there if you are on a tight budget. And frankly, the risk that you would be taking by using olive oil is not worth it at all.
I hope my article on the validity of using olive oil on your baseball glove could help dissuade you if you were considering it as a possibility. Cheers!