Gunk Be Gone! How to Clean Your Softball Glove in 5 Easy Steps

Last updated on August 4, 2023

If you’re an avid softball player, you know that your glove is one of your most important pieces of equipment. It’s essential to keep your glove clean and in good condition to ensure it performs at its best. Cleaning your softball glove regularly can help extend its life and maintain its shape, allowing you to make those game-winning catches.

However, cleaning a softball glove may seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re not sure where to start. The good news is that cleaning your softball glove is relatively easy, and you don’t need any special equipment to do it. With a few simple steps, you can have your glove looking and feeling like new in no time.

In this article, we’ll provide you with some tips and tricks on how to clean your softball glove inside and out. We’ll cover everything from removing dirt and grime to conditioning the leather. Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting, this guide will help you keep your softball glove in top shape and ready for action.


Before you start cleaning your softball glove, make sure you have all the necessary supplies. Here’s what you will need:

What You Will Need

  • Dry cloth
  • Sponge
  • Warm water
  • Mild soap or leather safe cleaner
  • Glove conditioner or oil
  • Toothbrush (optional)

Make sure you have all of these supplies before you start cleaning your softball glove. Having everything you need will make the cleaning process much easier. Glove conditioner or oil is the top recommended option.

Where to Find Supplies

You can find most of these supplies at your local sporting goods store or online.

Other places to check if you are using natural materials would be the grocery store or a pharmacy/convenience store.


Hands cleaning leather using a cloth towel

Remove Dirt and Debris

The first step in cleaning your softball glove is to remove any dirt or debris that has accumulated on it. You can do this by using a soft-bristled brush or a dry cloth. Gently brush or wipe the surface of the glove to remove any dirt or debris. Be sure to pay attention to the seams and crevices of the glove, where dirt can often accumulate.

If the dirt or debris is particularly stubborn, you can use a damp cloth to help loosen it. Just be sure to wring out the cloth thoroughly before using it on your glove, as excess water can damage the leather.

Cleaning Process

A gloved hand holding a water spray bottle

Now that you have gathered all the necessary materials, it’s time to start cleaning your softball glove. Follow these simple steps to ensure your glove stays in top condition:

Wash the Glove

First, remove any excess dirt and debris from the glove by gently using a brush or piece of cloth. Then, fill a bowl with warm water and mild soap or leather safe cleaner. Dampen a new cloth and gently wipe the glove, making sure to get into all the crevices and seams. Do not soak the glove in water, as this can cause the leather to become stiff and brittle.

If your glove has any stains or discoloration, you can use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently scrub the affected area. Be sure to rinse the glove thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue.

Dry the Glove

After washing, use a dry cloth to gently pat the glove dry. Do not use a hair dryer or any other heat source to dry the glove, as this can cause the leather to crack and shrink. Instead, let the glove air dry at room temperature, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. You can stuff the glove with a ball or towel to help it maintain its shape while drying.

Once the glove is completely dry, you can apply a small amount of leather conditioner to keep the leather soft and supple. Rub the conditioner into the leather using a clean cloth, and then wipe off any excess with another clean cloth.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your softball glove clean and in great condition for many seasons to come.

Conditioning the Glove

After cleaning your softball glove, it is essential to condition it to maintain its quality and prolong its lifespan. Conditioning helps to keep the leather soft and supple, preventing it from drying out and cracking. Here are some steps to condition your glove:

  • Apply a small amount of glove oil or conditioner to a soft cloth.
  • Gently rub the oil or conditioner onto the leather, paying close attention to the pocket and the finger holes.
  • Make sure to apply the oil or conditioner evenly, avoiding any excess buildup.
  • Allow the glove to sit for a few hours to absorb the oil or conditioner.
  • Wipe off any excess oil or conditioner with a clean cloth.

It is important to note that over-conditioning can be harmful to the glove, causing it to become too soft and lose its shape. It is recommended to condition your glove once or twice a year, depending on how often you use it.

Additionally, storing your glove properly can also help maintain its quality. Avoid storing your glove in extreme temperatures or direct sunlight, as this can cause the leather to dry out and crack. Instead, store your glove in a cool, dry place, such as a closet or a storage bin. You can also use a glove mallet to help maintain the shape of your glove while it is not in use.

Maintenance Tips

Proper care and maintenance of your softball glove can help extend its life and maintain its performance. Here are some tips to keep your glove in top condition:

  • Store your glove in a cool, dry place. Avoid leaving it in direct sunlight or in a damp area, as this can cause the leather to dry out or become moldy.
  • Keep your glove clean by wiping it down with a dry cloth after each use. This will help remove dirt and sweat buildup and prevent the leather from becoming stiff.
  • Use a mild soap or leather-safe cleaner to clean the inside and outside of your glove. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, as these can damage the leather.
  • Avoid getting your glove wet, as this can cause the leather to become stiff and lose its shape. If your glove does get wet, allow it to air dry naturally and avoid using heat or a hair dryer to speed up the process.
  • Apply a small amount of oil or leather conditioner to your glove periodically to help keep the leather soft and supple. Be sure to use a product that is specifically designed for use on leather gloves.

By following these simple maintenance tips, you can help keep your softball glove in great condition for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get the smell out of softball gloves?

Softball gloves can sometimes develop a bad odor due to sweat and bacteria buildup. To get rid of the smell, you can try the following:

  • Wipe the glove down with a damp cloth and allow it to air dry in a well-ventilated area.
  • Place a few dryer sheets inside the glove and leave them there for a few days.
  • Use a commercial odor eliminator spray specifically designed for sports equipment.
  • Make a solution of equal parts water and vinegar, and wipe the glove down with it. Allow it to air dry.

Does shaving cream clean softball gloves?

Shaving cream is often recommended as a cleaning solution for gloves. However, it is important to note that it is not a cleaning agent and does not actually clean the glove. Instead, it is used to soften the leather and help break it in. If you want to clean your softball glove, you should use a leather-safe cleaner specifically designed for sports equipment.

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