How to clean and care for leather gloves
VICENTE MILANO Leather Gloves are worn during cold weather temperatures, keeping the hands warm and protected. When you have a pair of these gloves, you want to keep them clean and looking like new. Using harsh cleaning products discolors and damages the leather; instead, use mild cleaners specially designed for use on leather.
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- Wipe the gloves with a dry cleaning rag every couple of weeks, or use a damp rag if you notice any sticky residue.
- Flip the gloves inside out to clean the insides of the gloves, wipe down with a damp rag and allow to air dry before turning the gloves right-side out.
- Store the gloves in a drawer or similar enclosed area when not in use, to prevent damage to the gloves. This also reduces dust and dirt buildup.
RESCUING WET LEATHER
Take action while the leather is still damp, you can head off fiber damage and protect your gloves.
WHAT'S GOING ON
At the microscopic level, leather is made up of a tangle of fibers resembling a pad of steel wool. These fibers are held together with protein bonds. In the tanning process, hides are soaked in chemicals to prevent the fibers and their bonds from decomposing. Then fats and oils are tumbled with the hides to keep the protein bonds from drying out and to make the leather supple.
Keeping those protein bonds lubricated and supple is the key to long-lasting leather. If those bonds dry out completely, they shrink, become brittle and break. Once broken, they can't be mended. The leather is permanently weakened. Soaking dried out leather in oil may make it supple and bendable again, but it won't restore the protein bonds or its strength. When water penetrates leather, it forms temporary bonds with the oils that are lubricating the leather fibers then floats them to the surface as it evaporates. Without those lubricating oils, the leather feels stiffer. Its fibers are more brittle and subject to breakage. You need to put the oils back in.
The solution is to take action before that wet leather completely dries. Remove any dirt or mud from the wet leather with a damp rag. If necessary, use a non-greasy cleaner to remove heavy soil or traces of old conditioner that have floated to the leather's surface. While the leather is still damp and its pores are still open, apply a coat of a penetrating pH-balanced penetrating leather conditioner which duplicates the fat liquors tumbled with freshly tanned hides to make them supple. As the water evaporates, capillary action will pull the conditioner down between the fibers to take its place. The wet leather needs to absorb conditioner deep within its fibers to replace currying oils flushed out by the water. Thick or waxy conditioners tend to stay near the leather surface. Look for conditioners with a neutral pH and avoid cleaners or conditioners with a harsh, alkaline pH. Non-pH-balanced products damage and eventually weaken leather fibers.
Tips & Warnings
Clean the gloves once every few weeks or after they are exposed to salt, which break up ice on roads and sidewalks in winter. The salt can be very damaging to the leather.
Do not store gloves near any heat sources such as radiators and heaters.
Loss of color, luster and elasticity is usually caused by exposure to sunlight or hot air.
Suede: Use a suede brush to restore the nap on totally dry garments.