How To Clean And Waterproof Your Leather Gloves

Updated: Jun 6, 2019

You love your leather gloves. They’re durable, flexible, have great grip, and look fly.

Did you know that to keep them in tip-top shape you’ll need to clean and waterproof them from time-to-time?

Allow us to introduce your leather gloves’ new best friend…

Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather.

Waterproofing Wax for Leather is a water-based waterproofing cream for smooth leather. It provides instant durable water repellency (DWR), maintains breathability, and can be applied to wet or dry leather.

Glove companies like POW, Black Diamond, Flylow, Outdoor Research, Kinco, and 686 all produce really nice, high quality leather gloves. Leather gloves are really awesome, but not always waterproof. A waterproof, breathable membrane, like Gore-Tex, is often what keeps the water/moisture from getting to your hands. Using Waterproofing Wax for Leather will add water repellency to the leather and provide extra protection from the elements. It will also prolong the life of your gloves!

Below is a Q&A for Leather Glove Care.

How do you use Waterproofing Wax for Leather? It’s super easy. Put your gloves on your hands, squeeze a Hershey’s Kiss amount of the cream into your palm, directly on the leather. Then, just like you would with hand lotion, rub the cream evenly all over the gloves. Make sure it is fully absorbed into the leather and pressed into the seams; seams are often the most vulnerable areas of your glove, in terms of letting water seep in. As you finish rubbing it in, if you think you missed an area, apply a little bit more.

No baking. No need to wait for it “to set.”

No mess. No stress.

***But don’t forget…cleaning your gloves before you waterproof them will give you the best results. Waterproofing dirty gloves is like waxing a dirty car. Clean it first!***

How do you clean your gloves? Maybe you made a snowball and the snow contained… some kind of animal excrement. Perhaps you dropped the gloves in a mud puddle. Or maybe you just wore those gloves all 34 times that you hit the slopes last year…and never washed them. Obviously, your gloves need cleaning. The best thing to do is put on the gloves, wet them with lukewarm water and scrub ‘em up with Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel.

[Yes, we know it’s called Footwear Cleaning Gel, but it’s designed to clean leather and all types of fabric and it works GREAT on gloves.]

When you've finished scrubbing, rinse the gloves out and gently squeeze out the water without twisting.

How do you dry your gloves? Dry them in an upright position, maybe over an empty beer or soda can. DO NOT dry your gloves with a hair dryer, or next to a heater, or do something unnecessary [and potentially dangerous] like put them in the oven.

If the gloves have removable liners, remove them for easier and faster drying time. Most liners are not removable, so don't try to pull them out... you could have an incredibly frustrating time trying to put them back in.

How often should you clean your gloves? It’s best not to wash them too frequently. If they are muddy, or you spilled your beverage on them, clean them. Otherwise, 2-3 times each winter is probably alright.

Are you are paranoid about the leather EVER getting wet? You should probably invest in a few tubes of Waterproofing Wax for Leather. Carry one in your ski bag, keep a backup in your car’s glove compartment, and stash another bottle at home so that you can attack at the first sign of water absorption.

Are you one to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation? For example, “once a month” is the recommended usage for a pair of POW leather gloves and it’s a pretty safe recommendation for other leather gloves, too. One tube of Waterproofing Wax for Leather should set you up for the season. It’s only $8.50 and can be purchased on Amazon, at REI, or at pretty much any outdoor retailer.

Are you more of a laid back, “it’s cool, I’m sure the gloves will do their job” type? Then at least apply the Waterproofing Wax for Leather the day you purchase the gloves or before their inaugural snow day. Your leather gloves will thank you by starting strong.

If you made it through all of that and you’ve read this far, then you must be a dedicated leather glove owner and you want to do it right.

That’s awesome.

You’re awesome.

Carry on.


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