Will Water Ruin Leather Gloves? Here is Everything You Need To Know!


Do you have a pair of leather gloves or are looking at a new pair, and wonder what will happen if they get wet in the rain? And whether the water will wreck the glove?

This article will give you all the information on what to do if your glove gets wet and how to manage and care for your gloves in the future.

Leather gloves need to be well cared for, and if you do they will last you for years!

Does Water Ruin Leather Gloves?

Water is not a friend of leather. Once moisture gets on your leather gloves, it slowly absorbs into the material where it interacts with the natural oils.

Molecules of oils attach to the molecules of water, and when the water evaporates, it takes the oils with it.

As a result, the leather loses suppleness and becomes dry, brittle and hardly pliable. In addition, water can cause streaks on leather and even cause its color to fade.

The good news is that it takes quiet a long time for the damage to happen.

First of all, the water absorbs into the leather relatively slowly. It’s not the same as the kitchen sponge sucks up the water in an eye blink.

The leather spores are microscopic, so they allow only a tiny amount of moisture to pass through them at a time.

That said, when your gloves get soaked in rain, you have time to remove the moisture before it makes its way inside the leather.

Can Leather Gloves Be Cleaned?

You can clean leather gloves, but try to avoid keeping the leather saturated with water for long.

A safe method is to wipe down the gloves with a damp cloth to remove dust and loose debris.

In case you have to deal with more serious culprits, such as grease and stubborn dirt, treating the gloves with a solution of warm water and dish soap can do the trick.

You can also immerse the hand wear in water while hand-washing it, and even machine-wash it.

You don’t have to worry about negative consequences as long as you keep the gloves underwater briefly and dry them fast.

Once you finish hand-washing, wrap the gloves in paper towels and slightly press to absorb as much moisture as possible.

Only then, hang them to air dry. If you clean your leather gloves often, don’t immerse them in water every time.

Alternate soaking with only wiping down the hand garments with a wet cloth. This will minimize the negative effect moisture can have on the sensitive fabric.

If you opt for machine-washing, select the gentle low-spin cycle and set the wash time to lowest possible.

Since inside the machine the gloves get oversaturate with water, you have to avoid choosing this cleaning method often.

Machine-wash the leather gloves only when they abound in dirt and grease, or have a stubborn stain that hand-rubbing can’t deal with.

Can You Wear Leather Gloves In The Rain?

Of course, always feel free to wear leather gloves in rain. But, make sure you keep a potential water damage in check.

The best way to protect your leather hand wear is to use a leather conditioner before exposing the material to outside elements.

Being based on natural oils or wax, the conditioner creates a barrier that keeps rain water from absorbing into the leather.

Moreover, conditioning helps restore the oils in leather, making it supple, shiny and pliable.

If you forgot to apply conditioner, make sure to act promptly as you take the wet gloves off. Grab some paper towels or any other absorbent fabric and wipe the moisture off the leather.

Lay the towel on the glove and press to collect as much moisture as possible.

If the glove is oversaturated with rainwater, turn it inside out, and repeat the procedure.

Then, stretch out the gloves flat and hang them air dry. Avoid using artificial heat, like blow dryer or iron, as it will shrink the fabric.

What Do You Do If You Spill Water On Leather Gloves?

An occasional spill of water on the leather glove isn’t a huge threat. Still, you don’t want the water to set and cause an ugly streak or trigger mold growth.

That’s why, try your best to remove the spill immediately after it occurs.

Take a dry cloth or a microfiber paper towel and blot the leather to suck up the moisture. If you approach the spill timely, paper towels may be enough to dry it completely.

If after wiping with paper towels the leather is still wet, consider air drying it.

By managing to prevent much water from absorbing into the leather, you ensure a short drying time. This is crucial for maintaining the leather gloves’ supple condition and natural colour.

How Do You Fix Water Damaged Leather Gloves?

The leather damaged by water does not belong to the rubbish bin yet.

In spite of its brittle and stiff condition, there is still a chance to revive its glorious suppleness, flexibility and lustre. The magic word is conditioner.

A conditioner restores the vital oils in the leather which have been pulled out by the water molecules.

Also, it provides protection against moisture, which, truth be said, is temporary.

That’s why, you will have to condition the gloves on regular basis depending on how often you wear them and how rainy is the weather in the area where you live.

Before you proceed with the product’s application, air dry the gloves to make sure the last molecule of water has evaporated. Applying the conditioner on wet gloves will make it less efficient.

Once the leather is dry, start massaging the conditioner into it using a microfiber cloth.

Do it gently and persistently to guarantee the wax penetrates the tiniest spores. Go in-between finger spaces as well to make sure no glove section is left behind.

Once you have applied the thin coat of conditioner, let it sit for 24 hours.

On the next day, you will see your gloves as shiny, supple, and pliable as new. While most of the conditioner absorbs into the leather overnight, some of it may remain on surface.

So if the gloves are a bit greasy, grab a dry cloth and wipe the product residue off. Now, you can put your gloves on without getting your hands and clothes messy.

How Long Does Wet Leather Gloves Take To Dry?

A lot. Just as the water absorbs into the leather very slowly, so it evaporates.

Leather has tiny spores that prevent moisture to evapore fast. That’s why, clothes made of this fabric may take days to dry.

Of course, you may come up with the brilliant idea of drying your leather gloves with the blow dryer.

But, think twice, because leather dislikes artificial heat as much as it dislikes water. Heat makes the leather shrink, causing wrinkles and making it hard to put the glove on.

Exposing the wet leather to sun is also not recommended.

The UV destroys the leather on the chemical level and causes discoloration. The best place to dry the leather gloves is a cool and shady place outside or a room with a good ventilation.

Make a point of stretching out the glove to make it perfectly flat.

This will increase the area of contact with the air, speeding up the drying process. Also, it will help the glove maintain its shape as it gets completely dry.

Will Water Cause Odour On My Leather Gloves?

Water leads to growth of mold and mildew between leather and lining.

As you know, mold has a sharp musty smell. So, if you allow the moisture to stay inside the gloves for long, be ready to face a pungent odour afterwards.

Most of the time, mold appears because you don’t dry the gloves after soaking them in rain or allowing a spill on them. Moisture and darkness are the leading factors that help fungi and bacteria to thrive.

To keep mold growth and musty odour at bay, always air dry the leather gloves as you get home.

However, if the odour makes its presence felt, take all steps to remove the mold. Get a microfiber cloth in your hand and dip it in vinegar or vodka.

Then, gently rub the interior and exterior of the glove to force mold out.

Regardless of how easily and fast the bleach destroys mold, steer clear of bleach at all costs. It is just too harsh to use on leather, being able to cause its discoloration and stiffness.

Will Getting My Leather Gloves Wet Shrink Or Stretch My Leather Gloves?

Like a lot of other fabrics, wet leather shrinks as it dries out.

However, the degree of shrinkage depends on how much heat is the leather exposed to during drying. If you use a heat source to speed up the drying, expect your leather gloves to shrink significantly.

If the you let the gloves dry naturally in a cool and ventilated place, you will barely notice and feel the gloves’ reduction in size. The shrunken gloves may be hard to put on, so you will have to look for ways to stretch them.

Don’t try to stretch the gloves using the brute force of your hands, because high-quality leather is not so easy to manipulate. Better, go for a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water with the ratio of 1:3.

Dip a cloth in the solution and wipe down the glove. Let it sit for several hours, then check how much the leather has stretched. If it’s not enough, go another round.

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