How to Clean Leather Work Gloves

If you own a nice pair of leather work gloves and want to ensure they do their job and last for a long time, follow our guide on how to clean leather work gloves.

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If you are a heavy-duty worker who needs hand protection, it probably means that you use gloves. If you use them frequently while working, they probably get dirty often and are harder to maintain. It is very important to take care of them and wash them regularly so they carry out their proper function of protecting hands and can last longer. If you continue reading this article, you will find out how to clean leather work gloves without damaging them.

What Do You Need to Clean Your Work Gloves?

Depending on the material the gloves are made of and the specific type of gloves, you will have to find the most suitable method to properly wash and carefully clean them. In this article, we will focus specifically on leather work gloves.

The following are the main tools and products you will need to carry out this task:

  • cold water
  • a toothbrush
  • soap
  • salt (optional)

Steps to Clean Your Leather Work Gloves


Whilst leather gloves can be some of the best gloves for working, they are also quite difficult to wash and keep clean. Taking care of them on a regular basis and keeping them in good condition will make this process easier over time.

Leather is a strong, flexible, and durable material that is resistant to harsh conditions and can naturally repel water. Nevertheless, be careful when putting leather in contact with harsh chemicals and abrasives, as they can break down the leather’s protective surface and cause damage, as well as harm the natural shape of the gloves. 

We are here to guide you through the basics steps to cleaning your leather work gloves, so keep reading.

Remove dirt

You want to be gentle with your leather gloves, so first, take a toothbrush and brush off dirt and grime. Instead, you may use the help of a detergent, but a toothbrush will be more effective. Give attention to the corners of the gloves, especially the fingertips, since these are common places where the dirt builds up.


Use cold water and mild or saddle soap for washing. If you prefer, you can add some salt. This helps give the gloves a deep clean without harming them or causing any damaging effects. You can use a bucket of water to gradually wash your work gloves.

Avoid using harsh soaps as much as possible since its ingredients can also wash off the natural oils present in leather, and this can cause the gloves to brittle and stiffen.


Rinse the washed gloves in another bucket containing cold water. Be careful not to squeeze them too hard since it might cause them to get stiff and rigid.


Do not machine dry with heat or expose the gloves to a heat source other than indirect sunlight. First, gently wipe up any excess water in a falling motion. You can hang the gloves to air-dry with a clothes peg. Massage the gloves until they are entirely dry to keep the leather from cracking. 



Taking care of your gloves does not necessarily mean just washing them. You have to be careful with them not drying out, rotting, and even losing their shape. Conditioning your gloves will help them stay healthy. Use mink oil to condition the gloves regularly. You might as well use coconut oil or leather conditioners, thus preserving the gloves from possible cracks.  


Can you put leather work gloves in the washing machine?

Putting your leather gloves in the washing machine is acceptable, yet not recommended due to a high possibility of shrinking and stiffening.  If you do so, make sure to place them with towels and other similar items or put them in a garment bag. Set the laundry for a soft cold wash. Beware that putting your leather gloves in the washing machine will make them less durable. We do NOT recommend this method.

Can you put other work gloves in the washing machine?

Not all kinds of gloves are washable. Machine washing might be fine for newer gloves in the more durable styles, but thinner gloves or older gloves with lots of wear and those coated with glue or rubber cement tend to get worse if they are put in a machine rather than gently soaked and washed by hand. 

When putting your work gloves in the washing machine, it is recommended to use cold water and a mild laundry detergent.

Let’s say, rubber gloves do good in the machine as long as you put them in with towels and other fabric or place them in a garment bag. Cotton gloves are the easiest to wash: you might simply toss them in the washing machine and it will do its job. Nylon and wool gloves are also fine to put in the washing machine, as long as you make sure to wash them at the right temperature to preserve the material’s integrity.

Even if you use the machine wash method, consider hanging them up to dry instead of using a dryer to prevent any shrinkage or damage.

How do you care for leather work gloves?

It is suggested to keep your leather work gloves in cool and dry places. Keep away from sunlight and direct heat. A drawer or wooden cabinet is most suitable to keep them in: a place away from the dust, yet breathable. When you store your gloves, also make sure they are laid flat to avoid wrinkling or discoloration. 

Wash them on a regular basis to make sure they are clean and dirt does not build up, thus preventing any damage.


Although there may be many methods and techniques to wash your working gloves, we laid down some of the most common and easy steps to do it. We hope this article was helpful in assisting you to maintain your leather work gloves in good condition and prolong their lifespan. 


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