How To Soften Leather Gardening Gloves
Our pair of gardening gloves is one of our most valuable gardening gear, and nothing beats the security and comfort of leather gardening gloves. Unlike rubber or cloth gloves, they need extra care. Even better, they can last for a long time if you know how to soften leather gardening gloves. In this article, I will teach you the importance of treating your leather gardening gloves and the ways you can soften them, as well as the types of treatment you should avoid.
The Benefits of Softening Leather Gardening Gloves
What you want to achieve when you treat your leather garden gloves is to make them more flexible and to make them waterproof. Flexibility is important because this will make your glove fit you better, and this makes it easier for you to work. You want to avoid and uncomfortable fit to prevent slipping when handling tools, gently holding plants, or carrying heavy rocks and sacks. That is why a lot of gardener wants to know how to soften leather gardening gloves.
An added benefit of soft leather gloves is that your treatment will also result in making your gloves waterproof. Gardening involves a lot of watering and dealing with moisture, so you will want to have waterproof gear for your hands. This helps the gloves last longer and allows for a better grip.
If untreated, your leather gardening gloves can break down quickly. As they become harder, they will crackle or even break, rendering them unsafe and useless. Ultimately, when we treat our leather gloves, we get them to work better and last longer, so we don’t end up getting into accidents and wasting buying gloves every few days.
Things You Need
The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that your gloves are still usable. Check for holes or rips. If your gloves are too badly damaged, you might want to throw those away.
Next, ready for your workspace. Have a clean, flat surface ready. You will be working with oils and liquids, and you want to avoid any spills. Protect your area with an old cloth, newspaper or cardboard. This will also help with cleanup after.
Now, there are many types of treatment you could apply to your gloves. However, in my experience, I’ve found oils to be the best way to soften leather gardening gloves. Special waxes and petroleum are excellent treatments as well.
To follow my method, I recommend getting any brand of boot oil or leather dressing. However, whenever I’m asked how to soften leather gardening gloves, I say I prefer using Pecard brand classic leather dressing.
So, why these types of treatment? They're made of natural oils that not only soften and waterproof leather but prevent any degradation. Avoid chemically hydrogenated oils, like corn, olive, and commercial vegetable oils, because those can turn rancid and ruin the leather even faster.
Preparing Your Gloves For Treatment
Before we soften our leather gardening gloves, we want to make sure they’re as clean as possible. Yes, you can. However, washing leather gloves requires a different step compared to washing rubber work gloves. Here is how to clean leather work gloves.
Remove any dirt with a cleaning brush with soft bristles. To wash your leather gardening gloves, you will need saddle soap, which is easily found in your local hardware or home improvement store. Do not wet your gloves yet. Apply the saddle soap first, using a cloth or a towel, in gentle, circular motions. You can also put on the gloves, apply the soap, and rub the gloves together while wearing them. Once the dirt has been removed, use a slightly damp towel or cloth to remove the soap. Leave the gloves out to air dry.
The Treatment Process
Whether you are using boot oil or leather dressing, you can follow these steps to know how to soften leather gardening gloves.
Take your clean gloves and put one half the pair on your hand. With your other hand, apply the boot oil or leather dressing to the glove. Start with the areas that are prone to damage. These would be the palm and fingers of the glove. Apply the treatment liberally. Your leather gloves may darken when you apply the oil or dressing, but that’s normal. This also helps you keep track of any areas you may have missed. Do not forget the back of the gloves and the cuffs as well. Do the same with the other glove.
Once you are done applying oil or dressing to each glove, do not remove your gloves just yet. Put a generous amount of the oil or dressing on the palm of one glove, then rub the gloves together, as though you were thoroughly washing your hands. This is to make sure you are coating the leather evenly in all areas of the gloves.
Remove your gloves and leave them in a clean, dry space to let them soak in all the oils. As important as it is to soften your leather gardening gloves regularly, you also want to avoid treating them too often. This can result in the leather breaking down faster than usual.
Leather gardening gloves is a tricky material to maintain, but all it requires is patience and the right tools. For some gardeners, it would be easy to throw away a pair of gloves every two weeks, but you can save yourself the trouble and money once you know how to soften leather gardening gloves. I hope this article not only helped you learn how to clean work gloves, but how to keep them durable and comfortable for as long as you need them.
February 13, 2020
by: Annette Cockerham
Gardening isn’t for the faint-hearted — pulling weeds, tilling the ground, and digging up roots is a lot of work, and it does hurt your hands once in a while.