Golf can be quite an expensive sport to play. Between the drivers and push carts that can cost a small fortune, and the balls and tees that you have to buy in bulk, it can drill a sizable hole in your pocket. That’s why reusing gloves is such a great idea! But can you wash golf gloves?
You can wash golf gloves to reuse them; just don’t chuck them in a washing machine or dryer. Use a mild liquid soap and cold water to remove dirt and debris, and make sure the gloves don’t dry too fast so they wouldn’t shrink or crack.
Of course, other factors affect how well your golf gloves hold up after washing, so let’s dive into the dos and don’ts of how to care for golf gloves.
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Can Leather Golf Gloves Be Washed?
Golf gloves are designed to keep your grip tight even as your hands get sweaty. That’s why they’re notorious for picking up grit and dirt when they get damp.
However, you might have read that washing golf gloves can ruin them, especially leather ones. Well, there’s some truth to that, but it all depends on how you wash the gloves.
Leather mostly gets ruined when it gets waterlogged, and as soon as dry heat is used to remove that moisture, which is how washer-dryers work, that’s when hardening, shrinkage, and cracking start to happen.
Faux leather or synthetic materials aren’t that much better at handling this kind of washing, either. Aside from being less elastic than animal hides, synthetic materials also tend to get worn out much easier due to rubbing or tumbling movements.
That’s why you should learn how to wash your golf gloves by hand if you intend to wear them for more than a few rounds before you replace them. After all, wearing dirty gloves doesn’t just look aesthetically bad; it’s also not great for your golfing or your hands.
How Bad Is Golfing With a Dirty Glove on?
Have you ever noticed how pros, who are fortunate enough to have sponsorship deals, can crack open new gloves every round if they want to?
That’s because they understand the importance of a clean, dry golf glove in maintaining their grip. Having a slick, sweaty hand inside the glove will make your aim less focused.
Further, wearing a glove that has seen better days can be uncomfortable as well as dangerous. The damp environment inside a sweaty glove combined with the rubbing and tight grip can cause severe blistering, and who wants that?
Even if you leave the gloves to dry in their sweat-soaked state, you’ll notice they can shrink, get misshapen, or crack when you put them back on. That’s because the salts in sweat are incredibly drying to the leather and can alter it at a molecular level.
That said, it’s better to have a backup with you to alternate between the sweaty glove and the dry one and not have to golf with a dirty, damp glove. And as soon as you’re back home, take the gloves out of their bag and clean them so the sweat wouldn’t break the leather down as they dry.
How to Clean Lightly Soiled Golf Gloves
If your gloves are slightly dirty, cleaning them won’t take long:
- Use a moist cloth with some liquid hand soapor shampoo and gently rub the spot that has dirt or grit on it.
- Rinse the gloves with cold water until no more soap remains.
- Leave the gloves to dry on a terry cloth towel.
- Every couple of hours, flip the gloves to lay on the other side to dry evenly.
- When they’re almost but not quite dry, put them on and stretch the fingers so that they don’t crack and remain supple.
- When they’re about 97% dry, put them in a zip-top bag and close it. This will help retain their softness.
How to Clean Very Dirty Golf Gloves
Golf gloves that are visibly soiled and vaguely smelly can seem like a lost cause, and many people will tell you to toss them and get new ones. However, if they still haven’t dried out completely, there’s hope!
- Fill the sink with lukewarm soapy water; nothing hotter than 100 degrees F.
- Leave the gloves in there to soak for a couple of hours, gently agitating them every 15 minutes or so.
- Take the gloves out of the water, wear them, and then gently rub your hands together until all visible grit is removed.
- Optional: add a small amount of fabric softener to the water and swish the gloves around in it.
- Rinse the gloves thoroughly with cold water.
- Press the gloves against the sink to remove any excess water.
- Leave them out on a terry cloth towel to dry, flipping them often.
- Repeat the last two steps from the previous section.
The most important part of caring for your golf gloves is preventing them from losing the natural moisture that natural leather has.
If they’re left to dry in the back of your car for a week, the leather will dry out, leading to an uncomfortable grip as well as cracking.
You can help the gloves last longer by using a little bit of leather conditioner to soften them. This will keep them in good shape for longer.
Can you wash golf gloves? Well, as long as you avoid putting them in the washing machine or dryer, you should be able to wash them without too much damage.
Just remember that leaving your golf gloves to dry and get crusty with sweat and dirt on them won’t make them last longer. It’s best if you wash them as soon as you get home or the very next day at least.
You should also avoid washing them with hot water or drying them using a hairdryer. The heat will break down the leather, causing it to wear out and crack.
Last but not least, make sure to put them on and stretch them well before they’re 100% dry so that they wouldn’t shrink too much.