How to Clean Garden Gloves

Three Methods:Cleaning Cotton GlovesCleaning Leather GlovesCleaning Rubber Gloves

If you like to garden, chances are you own at least one pair of gardening gloves. Most gardening jobs require working in the dirt, but you may also be dealing with sharp thorns or poisonous chemicals. Your gardening gloves do the tough job of protecting your hands, and they can get dirty in a hurry as a result. Whether your gloves are cotton, leather, or rubber, you want to keep them clean so they provide effective protection. You can't clean all materials the same way, though, so it's important to understand how to care for the particular type of gloves that you own.

Method 1
Cleaning Cotton Gloves

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    Rinse your gloves after use. Right after you use your gloves to garden, there may be loose dirt and debris on the material. It’s best to rinse them right away, so excess soil and other materials don’t have a chance to sit on the fabric for too long. You can use a garden hose or the kitchen sink to rinse them.[1]
    • It’s often easier to rinse the gloves if you leave them on your hands. That way, there aren’t any folds or creases to hide dirt and debris.
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    Use your washing machine. Because cotton is such a durable material, you can wash your gloves in the washer as you would any cotton clothing. You can use your usual detergent to help clean your gloves. Use the cold water setting to prevent shrinkage.[2]
    • If there are particularly stubborn stains on your gloves, you may want to pre-treat them with a stain removing product. Make sure to cover the stains completely with the stain remover, and allow it to sit on the gloves for approximately 10 minutes before washing them.
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    Line dry the gloves. Because heat can sometimes shrink cotton, it’s usually best to air dry your gardening gloves. Use clothespins to attach them to a clothesline, so air can circulate around the gloves and help them dry more quickly. If you don’t have a clothesline, you can use the pins to attach them to a hanger and allow them to dry that way.[3]
    • If you’re in a hurry to dry your gardening gloves, you can toss them in the dryer to tumble dry. However, be sure to set the machine at low heat to minimize the possibility of shrinkage.

Method 2
Cleaning Leather Gloves

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    Brush off the dirt. Leather and suede gloves can become extremely stiff and hard to work with when they’re dirty. Start the cleaning process by brushing off any dry, loose, or caked on dirt and debris from the material. It’s usually best to use your fingers to brush away the dirt, so you don’t damage the leather.[4]
    • If you’re having trouble brushing away the dirt by hand, you can also use a soft-bristled cleaning brush. Just be sure to use gentle strokes.
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    Apply saddle soap to the gloves. Place a small amount of the soap on a damp paper towel or soft rag and rub it back and forth to create a lather. Put on one of the gloves. Use the paper towel or rag to work the soap into the leather, paying particular attention to the dirtiest areas.[5]
    • Spend several minutes working the saddle soap into the leather so it really has a chance to penetrate and lift out the dirt.
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    Rinse your gloves. Once you’ve worked the saddle soap completely into the glove, take a clean dampened piece of paper towel or soft rag and gently rinse the suds away from the the leather. Don’t allow the paper towel or rag to become too saturated with water, though, or you may damage the leather.[6]
    • If you notice that there is still dirt and grime on the glove while you’re rinsing, you may want to repeat the cleansing process to get the leather completely clean.
    • Once you’re satisfied that the glove is clean, complete the same process with the other glove.
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    Lay the gloves flat to dry. To prevent cracking, shrinkage, and other damage to your leather gloves, it’s best to allow them to air dry. Set out a clean, soft towel on a table, countertop, or other flat surface, and allow the gloves to dry completely.[7]
    • Don’t place your gloves near a heater, radiator, fire, or other open flame. The leather may crack.
    • While your gloves are drying, it’s a good idea to periodically put them on and stretch them. That will help stretch them so they maintain their shape.
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    Treat the gloves with oil. Leather can become stiff over time, and the cleaning process itself doesn’t always help with that. Once your gloves are completely dry, you should apply an oil to the leather to condition it so it becomes softer and the gloves are more comfortable to wear. Use clean, soft cloth to carefully spread linseed oil onto the gloves. Let it sit for several minutes, and then use a clean area of the cloth to rub it in.[8]
    • If you don’t have linseed oil, mink oil is an effective alternative. You can also use a treatment product specifically for leather, which usually contains a blend of oils and other ingredients.

Method 3
Cleaning Rubber Gloves

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    Rinse with water. After you’ve used your gloves, you’ll want to rinse them as quickly as possible to prevent dirt and debris from getting caked on the rubber. If you’re still outside, just run them under the garden hose. Otherwise, rinse them in your sink with cold water.[9]
    • It’s usually easiest to rinse your gloves when you’re still wearing them, which is why it’s convenient to use the garden hose after you’ve finished your work.
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    Use dish detergent to remove dirt. Even after rinsing your gloves, the rubber may still be dirty. To remove any lingering soil and debris, use a basic dish washing liquid to clean them. Apply the detergent to the palm of the glove and carefully work it all over the rubber to get it clean. Use cold water again to rinse.[10]
    • If your rubber gardening gloves have stubborn stains or dirty spots, use a cleaning brush to scrub at those areas.
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    Allow the gloves to air dry. It’s important to ensure that your rubber gloves dry completely because they can grow mildew easily. However, you can’t place rubber in a dryer, so you’ll need to leave them to air dry. You can hang them with clothespins to dry, or set them on out on a table or counter to dry flat.[11]
    • Even after cleaning, make sure to store your rubber gardening gloves in a dry location so they don’t mildew.


  • While it’s sometimes difficult to do, you’re better off washing your gardening gloves after each use. Allowing the dirt and debris to build up can make them stiff and uncomfortable to wear.
  • Properly caring for your gardening gloves, especially more expensive ones such as leather or suede, can help prolong their life.
  • If you leave your gloves to air dry, check for spiders before putting them on again. Brown recluse spiders love to hide in dark places.

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Categories: Laundry