How To Soften Leather Gardening Gloves. (3 Easy Tips)

by Kloee Ngozi
Updated on

Leather gardening gloves are some of the best gardening gloves to have.

They are sturdy, durable and water resistant.

They are also good at protecting the hands from the sharp part of plants, cuts and infections.

They however are prone to getting stuff and cracking.

When this happens, you have to soften it to be able to use it again.

There are several reasons why your leather gloves can become stiff.

✓ Dirtiness. When your leather gloves get dirty and you do not wash them, they will get stuffs and you wouldn’t be able to use them.

✓ Dry air. If your leather gloves are introduced to dry air, the dry air will suck the moisture out of them and they will become hard and may start cracking.

✓ Improper storage. High humidity or low humidity could cause your leather gloves to become stiff.

This is why you should properly store your gloves.

Don’t just throw them into the closet or inside the barn.

Store it in a place with cool temperature. A 40-50% humidity is right for your leather gloves.

Tips to soften your gloves.

How To Soften Leather Gardening Gloves

These methods I’ll be showing you are quite easy and the materials used are easy to get.

Method: 1

1. Put some olive oil on your gloves and work it in. You can use a rag to rub it into your gloves well. Be sure it gets into the pores.

2. Allow the oil to set for about 45 minutes. This allows the oil to get into your gloves deeper.

3. After 45 minutes, wipe off the excess oil on the gloves with a clean rag. Your leathers would have softened and regained its shine.

Method: 2

This method works well on cowhides. Don’t use it on other types of leathers. It could make it worse.

1. Get a bowl of hot water and put your gloves inside.

2. Leave it for about 10 minutes.

3. After 10 minutes, put the gloves on. This is to make the gloves stretch. Wear it for about 30 minutes.

4. Remove them and hang them to dry until it is no longer dripping.

5. Wear the gloves again while it is damp and let it stretch some more. Do that for like 10 minutes.

6. Remove them and put isopropyl alcohol.

7. Put some leather conditioner on them and your gloves are ready for use.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on the uses of gardening gloves

Method: 3

1. Put on one half of the pair of your gloves and use the other hand to apply boot oil to it.

Pay attention to the palm and fingers. Then the back and cuffs.

2. Remove it and do the same process with the other half.

3. Wear both and out oil on one hand. Then rub your hands together, to get the oil deeper into the gloves.

4. Remove them and put them in a clean and dry place.

When softening your leather gloves, use only natural oils.

Stay away from commercial vegetable oils or solutions and mixtures containing petroleum.

What can I put on my leather garden gloves to make it soft?

There are a lot of products and materials you can put on your leather gloves to make it soft.

This is necessary if you want your gloves to lasts long. These materials are and not limited to:

✓ Olive oil

✓ Mink oil

✓ Leather honey

✓ Leather milk

✓ Water

✓ Lanolin

✓ Shaving cream

Will rubbing alcohol soften my leather garden gloves?

Rubbing alcohol is an household item that works well in cleaning and disinfecting hard surfaces.

It can be easily acquired and it is affordable.

Not only does rubbing alcohol cleans, it also helps in softening leather gardening gloves.

You can soften your leather gloves by spraying some rubbing alcohol on a rag and using the rag to rub them.

Rub it well and spray more alcohol on the rag if necessary. L

et it air out for a few minutes and then you can wear.

How can I unshrink my leather garden gloves?

Leather garden gloves are the most suitable for gardening but sometimes they get stuff, hard and shrink.

Leather gloves could shrink if it gets wet and you leave it out to dry. Fortunately there are ways to get it to unshrink.

Method 1

1. Pour 3 parts water into the spray bottle.

2. Add 1 part rubbing alcohol. This is to help your gloves dry quickly.

3. Spray the solution on your gloves and inside to dampen them. Spray it generously.

4. Wear them after spraying and keep it on until it dries. This could take hours.

Method 2

1. Get a leather conditioner.

2. Rub it into your gloves until it softens and stretches.

3. Wear them for a couple of minutes and remove them.

Method 3

If you have tried the above methods and they didn’t work, you should try this. Shoe stretching sprays are efficient in softening and breaking down the collagen in leathers.

1. Get a shoe stretching spray and spray your gloves generously. Make sure you spray it in and out.

2. Wear your leather garden gloves until they dry. Thic could take hours.


Leather gardening gloves becomes hard and stiff when it’s not properly stored, dirty and exposed to dry air.

You can get rid of this stiffness with natural oils like olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil etc.

You can also use boot oil, hot water and some leather conditioners.

There are also a lot of products or materials you can put on your leather gardening gloves to make it soft.

Examples are lanolin, leather honey, leather milk, milk oil, shaving cream etc.

Rubbing alcohol also works wonders in softening leather garden gloves.

Use a rag you have sprayed with rubbing alcohol to rub your gloves and let it air out. Then you can wear.

Leather gardening gloves often shrink and becomes unfit for your hands.

There are however ways you can unshrink them to make them supple and fit again.

You can use water, rubbing alcohol, conditioners and shoe stretching spray to do this.


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About the author

Kloee Ngozi

Kloee is a backyard farmer and avid gardener who enjoys tending to her garden and plants. She is so engrossed with her plants that she has pet names for all of them. She likes to relax with a bottle of wine and read a book.


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