How To Wash Work Gloves – Most Effective Methods

Knowing how to wash work gloves is necessary to ensure that your protective gear will last long. First of all, you have to consider the material of your gloves to prevent damages. Below, I discussed specific methods based on the material of the gloves you’re using. Each step guarantees that your work gloves will be clean and ready for the next shift.

Washing leather work gloves

Leather is a sturdy material, but it will soon give in to wear and tear without proper maintenance. To wash this kind of work gloves, you should use cold water and saddle soap. Never use any abrasive detergent because it will strip the natural moisture of the leather material. This will lead to cracking and peeling.

For deep-seated grimes, you should use an old toothbrush to scrub it off. After you removed all the dirt, soak the leather work gloves in a clean bucket of cold water. You can also add a tablespoon of salt into the water to remove the remaining dirt. Let the gloves soak here for at least 10 minutes before rinsing it on another clean bucket of water.

Avoid wringing leather work gloves as it will ruin its shape and fit. Simply lay it flat then press it with a clean towel. You must air dry this for at least 24 hours. Although drying on direct sunlight will do, it will make the leather stiff and brittle over time. It’s best to put the work gloves on the clothesline under a shade.

I recommend placing plastic inserts or clothespins on each finger of the glove to retain its shape.

Washing suede work gloves

Suede is a type of leather and fabric at the same time. It has a napped finish that makes it grippy when used on work gloves. To ensure that your suede work gloves will have a long lifespan, you must wash it every 2 to 3 months. Washings can be more frequent if your line of work makes your gloves very soiled.

The first thing you have to do with suede work gloves is to brush the dirt off before soaking it on water. You can use an old and dry toothbrush or a suede brush for this step.

Next, soak the suede glove in cold water mixed with a small amount of salt and mild soap. Rub the work gloves using your fingers to remove more dirt. You can squeeze the suede gloves to suck out more grimes. However, never wring it, or the material will lose its ideal form and fit.

Like washing leather gloves, you must place clothespins on each finger before hanging the pair on the clothesline. You need to remove these inserts once the gloves are partially dry.

Another important step in drying suede gloves is to knead it every two hours. This will prevent the material from being too stiff one it’s fully dried. You should also avoid direct sunlight as it will toast the material and make it very stiff.

Washing cotton work gloves

Cotton work gloves will absorb a lot of muck and dirt. It’s also notorious for stains, so you have to wash it well. The good thing, though, is that cotton work gloves are more straightforward to wash than other materials.

For this glove type, you need to use cold water and detergent. Most cotton gloves are machine-washable, which will save you from the hassle of manual scrubbing.

When it comes to stubborn stains, you can use the method you’ll use in most clothes. You can use a paste made of vinegar and baking soda. This is safer than bleach since it doesn’t damage the cotton fibers. Take note that bleach can make the cotton gloves thin in no time.

As for drying, I don’t recommend using the dryer. It’s best to air-dry cotton work gloves in a clothesline that’s not under direct sunlight. Cotton gloves dry faster than leather and suede. You can even use it again in just a few hours. You can also wring it gently, and it will not lose its form.

The same process above applies for polyester and wool gloves. Both of these two materials are usually safe to launder in the washing machine.

Washing PVC/rubber work gloves

Synthetic work gloves made of PVC, neoprene, rubber, and nitrile requires a different approach. Just make sure that you wash the gloves before taking it off, especially if you’re working with chemicals.

After that, you can use detergent or mild soap to wash the entire gloves. If you handled harsh chemicals, it’s best that you spray the gloves using a hose on your yard. This will remove any traces of the chemicals that may harm your skin.

The good thing about these work glove materials is that it dries quickly. Once you’re done washing, hang the gloves on the clothesline. Avoid direct heat since it will melt or shrink your work gloves. Besides, you don’t need intense temperatures since these materials dry pretty fast.

Washing Kevlar work gloves

Kevlar is a tough and cut-resistant material, which is why it’s a top choice for work gloves. It keeps durable even if washed repeatedly. However, you must use the right method to retain the good quality of these work gloves.

For Kevlar, you need to use hot water that’s around 170F. Most Kevlar gloves can be machine-washed for 20 minutes with the use of laundry soap. After washing, rinse the pair with clean and hot water. You may need to repeat the washing and rinsing process for 3 times if your gloves are heavily soiled.

For the last step, you must rinse the Kevlar work gloves in cold water. You can tumble it dry for 35 minutes at 155F.

The good thing about Kevlar is its high resistance against intense temperatures. However, you should avoid direct sunlight as UV will degrade the quality of the materials.

Additional tips when washing work gloves

Aside from the methods I discussed above, you should also keep the following things in mind:

Give it time to dry. Gloves made of leather or suede usually take longer to dry. Depending on the humidity on your area, it may take up to 48 hours for leather gloves to dry. It’s best that you keep an alternate pair so you wouldn’t have to wear a half-dried pair.

Never use bleach. Although work gloves are made to take the beating of regular use, it’s no match to bleach. Whatever the glove material is, you should only use mild soap or detergent. For leather gloves, it’s best to use a saddle cleaner instead.

Avoid intense heat. Most glove materials will degrade when exposed under direct sunlight. Air drying is a foolproof way, although it will take more time. Even if you’re laundering through a washing machine, avoid high temperatures.

No wringing. The likes of leather and suede will get misshapen if you wring and twist it. If you want to remove the dripping moisture, lay the work gloves flat and press it with a clean towel.


The right way on how to wash work gloves should always involve gentle methods. Patience is key if you want your gloves to last long. Bleach is a no-no, whatever material you’re working on.

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