Can You Put A Baseball Glove In The Dryer? (Find Out Now!)
It happens. That cherished baseball glove gets forgotten in the excitement of the day. Left outside, a rainstorm or the lawn sprinklers it the baseball glove a soggy mass. Many parents and players wonder if you can put a baseball glove in the dryer?
A leather baseball glove that gets wet should never be placed in a clothes dryer, a microwave, or an oven. Heating a wet leather baseball glove causes further damage by driving out more of the oils. This leaves the leather dry, brittle, and unusable. In a clothes dryer, the tumbling action often does more damage than the water.
There are other ways to rehabilitate a baseball glove that has gotten wet. In many cases, you can breathe new life into the baseball glove with a little care and a little work. Water and heat combined can damage a good baseball glove beyond repair. A little understanding and some step-by-step instructions can have your wet baseball glove back in action in no time.
Understanding the Leather of your Baseball Glove
There aren’t many of us who don’t love the feel and smell of a new baseball glove. The soft, buttery texture of the leather and that unmistakable smell is all part of the game of baseball. We owe that smell and texture to the oils that impregnate the leather.
Oil and Water
The adage that oil and water don’t mix holds true for the oils in baseball glove leather. As the leather absorbs water, the water drives out the essential oils that protect the leather. As the water drys and evaporates, it leaves the leather dry and unprotected. The result is a stiff baseball glove with brittle leather and damaged lacing.
The Dangers of Heat
Heat can also damage your leather baseball glove. Understandably, your reaction is to dry your wet glove as quickly as possible. It is important to remove the moisture in the leather and replace it with the oils the leather needs. However, too much heat too quickly can cause the leather to shrink as it dries.
Replenishing the Oils in your Glove
To bring your beloved baseball mitt back to its old self requires replacing the oils in the leather as it dries. As the water evaporates from the leather, something must take its place. What goes back into the baseball glove should be the right combination of oils to re-establish the protection in your glove.
Avoid Further Damage to the Leather
As your baseball glove dries, you want to avoid damaging it any further until the oils are replaced. Drying a baseball glove in the clothes drier is a recipe for disaster. If the heat of the dryer doesn’t destroy the leather, the tumbling action will. You are basically beating your baseball glove to death in the dryer. The leather will lose its shape, and the laces, if they survive, will be stretched and cracked.
Rehabilitating a Wet Baseball Glove The Right Way
If your favorite baseball glove has gotten wet, don’t despair. There are ways to bring your baseball mitt back to its glory. Following a few simple steps can have your wet baseball glove back in action and almost as good as new.
Step 1: Remove As Much Water as Possible.
The object here is to remove as much of the moisture from the leather as possible. You want to do that as gently as possible to avoid damaging the leather while it is wet. Our recommendation is to use a clean, soft towel for this process. There are some things to remember as you proceed.
- DO – use the towel gently, dabbing and pressing on the leather inside and outside. Change the portion of the towel you use frequently. Keep a dry portion of the towel on the leather as you work. Microfiber towels are especially absorbent and work well for this part of the job.
- DO – Dab and don’t rub the towel on the leather. Rubbing the towel across the surface of the wet leather can abraid the surface and cause additional damage. Roll a section of the towel into a ball and press it firmly over a leather area. Continue until the towel is no longer absorbing any water from the leather.
- Don’t – Rub or scrub on the leather with the towel.
- Don’t – Wring the leather baseball glove to remove the water. You are only stretching and misshaping the wet leather, and it may never get back to its original shape.
Some sources advocate using newspapers to remove the moisture, and in some cases, that may work. The newspaper can be cut and rolled to fit inside the glove’s fingers to get the moisture you may not reach with a towel. This is time-consuming since you need to replace the paper balls in the glove about every thirty minutes.
Step 2: Let Nature Take Its Course
After you have removed as much moisture as possible from the baseball glove, it’s time to let nature take over. This requires you to let the glove sit for a day or two while the leather dries naturally. This is one instance where patience really is a virtue. Letting the glove dry naturally preserves a few oils in the leather and keeps the leather’s shape intact.
- DO – Let the leather dry naturally. Don’t be tempted to use artificial heat such as a shoe dryer to hasten the process. Excess heat will only remove more of the oils and leave the leather of your baseball glove in worse condition.
- DO – Dry your baseball glove in a cool dark place. Avoid any place with direct sunlight. There should be good air circulation around your wet baseball glove. Be patient. Time is on your side.
- Don’t – Use use extra heat such as a shoe dryer. This can lead to the loss of more oils in the leather and leave you with a stiff and brittle baseball glove.
- Don’t – Put your leather baseball glove in direct sunlight. The UV rays in sunlight are damaging to the leather of your glove.
Letting the excess moisture in your baseball glove leave slowly helps preserve the leather’s natural shape and structure. You will find that getting the glove back in action is easier if the leather can dry slowly and naturally.
Step 3: Recondition the Leather
Once the leather is dry, you must get the oils that have been removed back into your glove. Special glove oils are the recommended products. These products contain essential oils plus softeners that can help prevent the stiffness that dry leather usually exhibits.
Use a sponge to apply the leather conditioner to your baseball glove. Avoid putting too much conditioner on the leather at one time. You don’t want to soak the leather. Applying small amounts over time avoids sealing in any remaining water.
This may take several applications over time to rehabilitate your wet baseball glove. Work slowly and don’t try to hurry the process. A little time spent on these steps will give you many more years of service in the long run.
A Wet Baseball Glove is Not a Total Disaster
Don’t despair if your favorite baseball glove gets soaked. With a little work, you can have that glove back in mint playing condition. Avoid excess heat and take your time. Under no circumstances should you put your baseball glove in a clothes dryer. Follow our steps, and you can again enjoy playing days with your favorite glove.
Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.
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