What Pros Wear: 6 Most Important Glove Care Tips (Baseball & Softball)
After you’re done breaking-in your new glove, now the job is to take care of it. This not only helps your glove last a few more seasons, but it will also keep the shape of the mitt that you invested so much time and energy meticulously forming.
In this post, we break down the top six tips for taking care of your glove so your leather can age gracefully, like Starlin Castro’s classic Wilson A2000 1786 below:
Store it Correctly, Don’t just throw it in your Bag
Most players will just throw their glove into their baseball bag after games. This means it usually gets jammed against whatever else they have in their bag, killing the shape of your mitt.
Our best tip in this case is to either carry the glove (it’s also just makes you look cooler to hold it in your hand than carry on your back), or, at the very least, place a baseball in the pocket before you put in your bag.
Another solution is the Glove Guardian, $40 at BaseballExpress.com. Its a structured box for your glove.
Clean it Frequently, But Don’t Overuse Cleaning Oils
Unless you only play on turf fields, dirt will find its way on your mitt. And while a buildup of dirt can look nice on certain colors of leather, it is not good for the leather itself, often drying it out.
To prevent dirt damage, its simple. Clean off the glove by wiping dirt with a clean rag and a small amount of water. We do not recommend using cleaning oils frequently, as these can weigh down the leather over time and provide negligible return in most cases (although Kike Hernandez would disagree based on our convo with him).
Use Glove Conditioner
While Glove cleaning oils can add unwanted weight to a glove, glove conditioners are very good for helping your leather stay in top shape without that negative side effect. Our favorite glove conditioner is the Rawlings Gold Glove Butter ($8 at BaseballExpress).
The key with conditioner is to use it infrequently — once every few months. This way, you will still get the benefits of conditioning your leather without overdoing it.
Keep it Out of Bad Conditions
You can’t keep your glove out of the rain when the game is on, but ultimately, you should avoid subjecting your glove to extreme conditions whenever possible.
These include hot or freezing cars, damp basements, or leaving it to collect dew overnight in your backyard. Each of these can and will destroy the leather of your glove and shorten its lifespan, and before you know it, your glove will look like Tulo’s (below):
Check on the Laces
Some players like loosened laces, but allowing your laces to be too long in the pocket or fingers can cause several issues.
Most notably, leaving the laces too loose puts more stress on the laces and can cause them to snap. Then you need a relacing, which is either an expensive or labor-intensive process (10 step process).
Instead, check on and tighten your laces every few weeks. This will balance the stress between the laces and the leather, ensuring you won’t have to worry about any big maintenance anytime soon.
Keep your Glove ready by Using it
Maybe this goes without saying, but the lull of the offseason means you may not get to use your glove that much. However, it’s important that you at least keep it fresh.
This can be as simple as throwing a ball into it while you’re in bed or on the couch. The point is to avoid your glove stiffening up, or worse, sitting for months and killing the shape you spent a lot of time forming during the break-in.
What are your glove care tips? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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