The most often used tools in the garden are the gardener's hands. To protect them from thorns, chemicals, and the need for daily manicures, we use gardening gloves. There are two questions to ask when choosing gardening gloves. What will you be doing while using the gloves, and do they fit well enough to give your hands flexibility and control?
Gardening gloves can be made from leather, cotton, latex, neoprene, synthetic materials, or a combination of fabrics. How you wash them depends on the glove material. While no real gardener has pristinely clean gloves, you should wash gardening gloves thoroughly after handling chemicals or diseased plants to prevent spreading the problem and to help the gloves last.
|Detergent||Regular detergent, Dishwashing liquid, or Saddle soap|
|Cycle Type||Gentle or Handwash|
|Drying Cycle||Air-Dry only|
|Special Treatments||Handle gloves used for pesticide applications with care|
|Iron Settings||Do not iron|
Equipment / Tools
- Sink or bucket
- Washing machine
- Mesh lingerie bag
- Garden hose
- Soft-bristled nylon brush
- Microfiber or cotton washcloths
- Regular laundry detergent
- Saddle or leather soap
- Leather conditioner
- Bar of soap or dishwashing liquid
How to Wash Cotton or Synthetic Fiber Knit Gloves
These instructions can be followed if the gloves are made from fabric only or have palms coated with latex, nitrile, neoprene, or PVC.
Rinse Away Loose Soil
Use a garden hose or a bucket filled with water to rinse away surface dirt.
Select the Washer Settings
If you are concerned about hard-to-remove stains, use a dab of laundry detergent to pretreat the stained areas of the gloves. Work the detergent into the fabric using your fingers or a soft-bristled nylon brush. Let the gloves sit for about 10 minutes before washing. This allows the detergent time to begin breaking down the stains and lifting them from the fabric.
Wash the Gloves
Gardening gloves can be washed with a load of similar colors and fabrics. Place them in a mesh lingerie bag for ease in keeping them together in the washer.
If you would rather handwash the gloves, follow the same pre-wash steps. Use a regular detergent and cold water. Swish and squeeze the gloves through the soapy solution and let them soak for at least 10 minutes. Drain the soapy water and refill the sink or bucket with clean water to rinse the gloves. Squeeze the gloves gently to remove all of the soap until no suds remain. Remove the gloves from the rinse water and squeeze—no wringing—to remove excess water.
Hang to Air-Dry
Skip the dryer and hang the gardening gloves on a clothes drying rack or outdoor clothesline. The heat of the dryer can cause shrinkage or damage to neoprene-lined palms.
How to Wash Latex Gardening Gloves
Latex, neoprene, nitrile, or PVC gardening gloves are ideal for use when handling fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. If used to spread chemicals, do not wash with other gloves.
While still wearing the gloves, hold them under a stream of cold water from a garden hose or utility sink.
Wash the Gloves
Still wearing the gloves, use a bar of soap or a few drops of dishwashing liquid to wash the gloves. For tough stains, use a soft-bristled nylon brush to gently scrub the stains.
Rinse the Gloves
Remove the gloves and rinse the outside and inside of the gloves with cold water.
Hang to Air-Dry
Hang the gloves by the fingertips to air-dry on a clothes drying rack or outdoor clothesline. Mildew can form on the inside of the gloves if they do not dry quickly. Once the outside is dry, turn the gloves inside out and allow more time for the inside to dry before storing the gloves.
How to Wash Leather Gardening Gloves
Leather gardening gloves offer the most protection for heavy jobs like moving stones or pruning thorny shrubs but are usually not as good for jobs that require nimble fingers.
Remove Loose Soil
Use a soft-bristled brush to remove any loose soil. If the gloves are damp and muddy, allow them to dry and then brush away the soil.
Clean With Saddle Soap
Leather gloves must be cleaned with a gentle leather soap (saddle soap or Castile soap). Do not use a regular laundry detergent.
Apply the saddle soap with a washcloth in gentle circular motions. Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the soil is transferred. Once the entire surface of the gloves has been cleaned, dampen a clean washcloth and wipe away the soap.
Allow the gloves to air-dry away from direct sun or heat.
Condition the Leather Gloves
To keep the leather soft and supple, it must be conditioned after cleaning. Once the gloves are dry, use linseed oil or a commercial leather conditioner to treat the gloves. Use a soft dry washcloth to spread the oil or conditioner over the gloves and gently rub it in. Allow the gloves to air-dry before storing.
While small holes in cotton or synthetic knit gloves can be repaired with a needle and thread, holes in latex or leather gloves cannot. It is better to replace them to protect your hands.
Be sure the gloves are thoroughly dry after cleaning to prevent mildew before storing them in a dry, conditioned space.