Besides being great at taking care of our plants, gardeners are also great at taking care of themselves. When it comes to protecting our hands in the garden, we wear gloves to protect our hands from the dirt, grime, and bacteria in the garden—all the things that can irritate our hands and make our work in the garden painful. Wearing gloves can help protect against these things, but it results in them getting filthy. Here’s how to look after your gloves so that they last for years to come:
Steps to wash a leather gardening glove
- Firstly, let any soil on your gloves dry. Moisture is not good for leather, so washing them in water isn’t an option. Once the soil on them has dried, you can brush it off using a stiff brush. This should remove the majority of the dirt, and will help with the next step.
- Now that your gloves are soil-free, you can use saddle soap to gently wipe them down. Different leather requires different cleaning methods, but using saddle soap is a reliable way to clean most types. Use little-by-little to ensure the leather doesn’t become soaked.
- Finally, leather gloves should be conditioned before wearing them again. After cleaning, the leather will be dehydrated, just like your skin after a hot shower. Conditioning the leather reduces cracking and decreases moisture absorption, helping them to last longer.
Steps to wash a latex gardening glove
- Pre-rinse your latex gloves in warm, soapy water. Most latex gloves are safe to wash using any gentle detergent – this should remove any dirt from the outside.
- If your gloves are dirty on the inside, they may need to go in the washing machine. They should go on a cool cycle, however, as latex can melt in hot temperatures. Stick to 30 degrees at most.
- Hang your gloves on a sunny porch or on a hanger. Leave them there until they’re completely dry, but don’t place them on a radiator or in a tumble dryer – the heat will melt them.
Steps to wash cotton or synthetic gloves
- Since gloves are typically made out of cotton or synthetic, the soil can easily end up between the fibers, and no matter how much you try to keep them clean, heavy soiling probably won’t come out with a hand wash. Instead, start off by letting them soak in warm, soapy water. This will help loosen the soil stuck between the fibers.
- After soaking, you can put your gloves in the washing machine just as you would with a t-shirt or jeans. Cotton and synthetics can be washed at a higher temperature than latex, which will help to loosen the soil further. Very high temperature may cause a little shrinkage, however, so it’s best to get a size too big if you plan on washing them often.
- To dry, a tumble dryer should do the trick. Again, very hot temperatures will cause shrinkage, but if your cotton shirts can make it through your typical cycle, your gloves should be fine too. Just be aware that if your gloves contain any wool, you need to wash and dry them on a wool cycle to ensure they don’t shrink.
Gardening requires a lot of physical effort, and gardening gloves are essential for keeping your hands free from injury. To ensure they keep performing at their best, it’s a good idea to keep them clean and maintained. Not only will this protect your hands better, but they’ll also be more comfortable to wear. Gloves can be made from a variety of materials nowadays, so check the care instructions before washing them. The better you care for them, the longer they’ll last!