Cleaning Your Glove -Let Me Count the Ways
By Joe Phillips The Glove Collector
One of the most discussion-heavy sections of our busy vintage baseball glove of forum at has been the cleaning cleaners and conditioning topic, a section that put forward many useful suggestions on how to get rid of that old "built-in grit and grime: as they said in the detergent commercials.
We've been observing the methods and products since 1990 and have a few warnings. If you go dare the extreme of stripping down the leather and re-dying, please be extra careful, this can lead to serious health problems.
And examine the leather your about to clean and condition. There are many types, weights and tanning effects of leather gloves. Some have a very tight grain; others very open. Always experiment cleaning on more obscure parts of the glove if you're not sure of your results. Don’t put anything on your glove that you wouldn't put on your own skin. Don't ruin your glove.
Here we'll discuss and review some of the products that are usually brought forth for cleaning and conditioning with various opinions.
Lanolin has really caught on with glove collectors in recent years as a conditioning about cleaning and conditioning source for ball gloves. We first started noticing this when major leaguers began using shaving cream to clean their gloves and the shaving cream contained lanolin. But shaving cream is not recommended, even though it contains Lanolin, because it has soap, water and alcohol as ingredients also "all horrible for the delicate cell structure of fine leather" (according to the Clenzoil Corporation). Lanolin the grease that comes from sheep's wool before the wool has been cleaned. It has been used in women's cosmetics for years as a skin conditioner. Lanolin, it is claimed, will not darken the leather or leave a residue and gives the leather a softer, flexible finish. Some prefer "hydrous" lanolin.
Probably the most controversial of cleaners and conditioners. Nocona has been using a "petroleum jelly" for years in its hand-lasting process of new gloves. I've personally used it and with success in cleaning and conditioning. But, one has to be very careful about over applying. This can leave a dirt/dust catching residue. Noah Liberman, in his book, "Glove Affairs," wrote that there was a problem in Vaseline in cross bonding or closing up the pores of the leather. One product I do feel works well on especially dry gloves and a derivative of Vaseline is Vaseline Intensive Care for Dry Skin. The maker of GloveLoogie TM, reports that "petroleum jelly is tough on gloves putting up a "very effective air and vapor barrier that prevents the natural evacuation of moisture and salts from the interior. This also sets up perfect temperature/humidity conditions for the growth of harmful molds and mildew.
Fast Orange collectors are saying it works very well in pulling out grease and grime and I suspect it's very similar to a product the that I do use successfully called "Goo Gone."
Goo Gone comes in a spray gel and says it removes sticky, gummy, greasy, gooey problems and that covers a lot of stuff stuck in the pockets of baseball gloves. From the glove forum, a poster reported that he "applied and massaged the Fast Orange into the dark grime areas, then scrubbed fairly rigorously with a terry cloth to the point where you could see hints of new leather appearing lighter shade overall.”
GloveLoogie’s Jack in Fitzgerald contacted us, sent along his product and information. He says Mizuno Leather has sent his company customers. His background sheet said that major league teams were using the loogie. Liberman mentions it in his book after interviewing many major leagues and his book lists GloveLoogie as “the best” The sheet adds, "GloveLoogie is the fastest-growing baseball glove treatment in North America.
Mink Oil: Many have reported success with Mink Oil. Mink oil is made glove up of the fatty layer minks have under their skins. Mink oil is also a source of has some palmitolic acid which possesses physical properties similar to human sebum. On the downside, some say mink oil has an order to it.
Dr. Glove is a foamy conditioner, and a more recent recommended product for the cleaning gloves. The information on this product says it’s a unique formula, "used to
break-in, soften and condition gloves.
Lexol TM makes a great cleaner and conditioner and has for more than half
some a century. I still have a Wilson Nelson Fox glove hang tag where Nellie is talking about cleaning and conditioning his gloves with Lexol TM. The company makes its products so that there is Ph balance and I've always found the cleaner and conditioners of to work very well on gloves I've tried. On the glove forum recently the recommendation there was to use Lexol NF, but stated it's hard to find but available and "it is thicker/slicker than the regular Lexol TM. In all, it is highly recommended product for leather cleaning with a scientific basis for its ingredients.
Horseman One Step TM: Now here's product that glover David Seideman and I have fallen in love with. Both cleans and conditions in one step (of course), and sometimes, especially on Wilson with a gloves, works like a lucky charm. I recently cleaned out John Graham's 1930s almost Lefty Gomez Wilson and it did the trick perfectly. The stamping was clearer, and the glove was left with a nice patina, "One-Step."
Leather New TM:
Leather New TM is a liquid glycerin saddle soap. It comes in a spray bottle and this has worked well for me in cleaning gloves quickly. It is recommended to remove dirt and dust from the glove with a slightly damp cloth before application. This also works as a self polisher.
Chelsea Leather Food:
I bought this product years ago based on a recommendation and it was reputed to have been used in English museums for years to preserve leather products kept there. Have updated my information on this but it's sole manufacturer is Caswell & Co. Kettering England. It's a waxy material and it's worked well on the older turn-of- the-century gloves I've applied it to.
Jaguar Hide Care: recommended by longtime glover Bob Alexander who restores Jaguar cars. This has worked well for me. Comes in a paste form.
Dr. Jackson's Hide Rejuvenator: Has worked well for me since Richard Spung, longtime New Mexico glover, once recommended to me. Comes in a paste form (and not sure it's still available.
Glove Stuff TM: Highly recommended by Fran Fleet, the Sandalady, who certainly had cleaned and conditioned her share of gloves. Fran also sells this cleaner and conditioner.
Neatsfoot Oil: Does not get a recommendation from any reputable glove source that I know of. Some of its source ingredients are used in several other cleaners and conditioners but reportedly safely so. Most glove collectors have seen the results of neatsfoot applications especially if overly used. "Hard As a Rock".
I've suspected that Glovolium TM, a product of Rawlings, once contained a possible bad neatsfoot makeup. It may not any more. Rawlings, it seems, used to spray their gloves a bit with Glovolium in the 1950s before putting the gloves 1into their glove boxes. The problem was evidently intensified when they added wax paper to the inside of the boxes.
I've purchased Rawlings 1950s gloves where the apparent Gloveolium and the wax paper turned the gloves into crisp black "toast". I still have one of the Bob Skinner mitts to prove the point.