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   Vintage Baseball Glove Cleaning & Conditioning



Before glove cleaning

after glove cleaning

Old Dirty Glove. 

JC Higgins Mickey Mantle 

Before conditioning your glove it would be a good idea to clean it first. Even if you feel the glove is not dirty removing any minor surface dirt will prepare the leather to fully absorb what ever conditioning you use. 

Cleaning your Glove

Horseman's One-step comes highly recommended. One-step works best on cowhide gloves, but it can also successfully clean horsehide and deer hide. If the glove you're working on is very dry, and stiff, I've found it's actually best to start with the interior of the glove. Go way up inside the fingers on all surfaces, behind the wrist strap and under any folds that might go overlooked. Doing this step first lets you put the glove on to do the rest.

Then go to the back of the glove, between the fingers, and then finally the pocket and the rest of the front surface. It's basically a matter of putting it on and wiping it off. The longer you leave it on, the more it will interact with the leather. You don't have to remove all of it. If you use an old white cotton rag, you'll be amazed at how fast the rag turns brown. Once you begin working with it, you will see the kind of cleaning, and conditioning it can do. 

Repeated applications only serve to make the leather cleaner and healthier. For old grease stains it helps to scrub it in with an old toothbrush, then wipe the lifted grease away. It will soften ink stains, but not remove them completely in all instances. Once you've gone over the whole glove a few times, put on a thin application, and let the glove dry. 

You' will find that it does not darken the leather and in many instances actually lightens it up. One other thing about this cleaner is that I feel it's important to wash your hands thoroughly after using it. It's pretty powerful stuff. This product can be easily purchased on line at

 To clean the glove you can also use a gentle leather cleaner like Lexol-pH Leather Cleaner, or  Nokona Glove Conditioner which gives a nice glow to the leather once it's clean. Permatex Fast Orange Smooth formula Hand Cleaner comes highly recommended by hard core Glove collectors, and restorers. 

Permatex Fast Orange can be found at Lowes Home Improvement Stores, AutoZone, K-Mart or your local hardware store. It can also be purchased on line. Be sure to purchase the Smooth formula, and not with pumice which is abrasive, and will harm the leather.

Permatex Fast Orange will clean the grime from the glove. The contents list lanolin as an ingredient so that is a plus in helping to keep the glove supple. It will also dry out the leather a bit after use so apply conditioning shortly after cleaning.

Conditioning Your Glove

 Conventional glove oils sold over the counter is fine for a glove we are going to work in to play ball with. Some of these oils will most likely darken the color of the glove, and could leave oil spots. For a collectible glove which will be displayed we want to avoid this. To condition the glove you can use Lanolin. Professional major league Ballplayers use Lanolin to work their gloves in as well. lanolin will keep the glove supple, and its waterproofing properties will keep the glove from drying out.

 Lanolin (Hydrous) is an ointment that is sold to treat dry skin, and can be purchased at your local pharmacy, Walgreens, Rite-aid etc. Sold by the pound many people shy away thinking what am I going to do with a pound? But it is not as much as you might think (pictured in glove). If you feel intimidated by a pound you may purchase a product called Lansinoh. This cream is a product that some breastfeeding mothers use. It is 100% Lanolin, and come in a 2 ounce tube. Half the price of the 16 ounces of lanolin it pays to buy the pound.

Vintage Baseball Glove dating guide

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