How to Wash Gardening Gloves

Gray gardening gloves being scrubbed with soft-bristled brush near outdoor plants

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins - 8 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner

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
Water Temperature Cold
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

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Sink or bucket
  • Washing machine
  • Mesh lingerie bag
  • Garden hose
  • Soft-bristled nylon brush
  • Microfiber or cotton washcloths

Materials

  • Regular laundry detergent
  • Saddle or leather soap
  • Leather conditioner
  • Bar of soap or dishwashing liquid

Instructions

Materials and tools to clean gardening gloves

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

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.

  1. Rinse Away Loose Soil

    Use a garden hose or a bucket filled with water to rinse away surface dirt.

    Tip

    The easiest way to rinse away loose soil from garden gloves is to keep them on your hands. Hold your hands under a running garden hose or in a bucket of water and rub them together to loosen the soil.

    Patterned gloves placed in bucket of water to loosen soil

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  2. Select the Washer Settings

    Set the washer to the regular cycle and cold water.

    Washing machine set to cold water setting

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  3. Pretreat Stains

    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.

    Patterned gardening gloves scrubbed with nylon brush and laundry detergent

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  4. 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.

    Gardening gloves placed in mesh laundry bag for washing

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  5. 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.

    Patterned gardening gloves air drying on clothes line

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

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.

  1. Pre-Rinse Gloves

    While still wearing the gloves, hold them under a stream of cold water from a garden hose or utility sink.

    Gray latex gardening gloves rinsed under running water

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  2. 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.

    Bar of soap rubbing against latex gardening gloves under running water

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  3. Rinse the Gloves

    Remove the gloves and rinse the outside and inside of the gloves with cold water.

    Latex gardening gloves being rinsed with gardening hose

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  4. 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.

    Latex gardening gloves hung on clothes line to air dry

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

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.

  1. 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.

    Leather gardening gloves scrubbed with nylon brush

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  2. 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.

    Leather gardening gloves wiped with wash cloth and leather soap for cleaning

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  3. 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.

    Leather gardening gloves wiped with washcloth and leather conditioner

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

Repairs

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.

Storage

Be sure the gloves are thoroughly dry after cleaning to prevent mildew before storing them in a dry, conditioned space.