A properly cared for quality glove will perform for many seasons. Improper handling, cleaning, adjusting and, in particular, over oiling can shorten the life expectancy of your glove. The most important part of caring for your glove is to recognize that leather will deteriorate if subjected to repeated exposure to moisture and heat. MOISTURE (Water / Steam) and HEAT (Oven / Baking) are the worst things for a leather glove.
- Use the glove oil sparingly, as you can always add more.
- NEVER put your glove in an oven or microwave, the heat can damage the fibers of the leather.
- Water / Steam will cause the leather to dry out, crack, and the laces to become brittle. Some stores will steam for you, in a pinch it works for a weekend not the long term as it drastically reduces the life of the glove.
- Applying glove oil to any non-black colored leather will likely darken it considerably.
- Excessive glove conditioner/oil will damage and shorten the life of a new glove.
- Allow the glove oil to absorb into the leather for 24 hours in a warm area, temperature between 70-90 degrees.
- At the end of the season, apply glove oil very lightly to keep your glove from becoming brittle.
- Store your glove in a dry place with a ball in the pocket to maintain shape.
- Do not use neat's-foot oil, linseed oil or silicon-type spray, these tend to close the pores of the leather, causing it to dry, harden and become heavy.
- Do not apply the glove oil directly to the glove, as it will be too concentrated at the point of application, apply to a cloth first.
- Pummeling a new glove speeds up the break-in, but the glove will be better served if this extra abuse is avoided.
- Wearing a batting glove under your glove absorbs moisture and prolongs the life of the liner of the glove.
Leaving your glove out in the weather will ruin it, as will putting it away wet from perspiration. If it is comfortable, wear a batting glove under your baseball glove (unless you are a baseball pitcher); this absorbs the sweat from your hand. This could add years to the lining of your glove.
When your glove gets wet, dry it with a towel or soft cloth, and leave it exposed to room air for a few hours until the lining is dry. After it dries, use a little glove oil to moisten the leather. When you put your glove away, it's best to put a ball or two in the pocket to help keep its shape.
Routine maintenance should probably be done at least once a season so that you can check the condition of the glove. A tune-up involves tightening the laces in the fingers and web; re-tying any loose knots and cleaning, conditioning and shaping the glove. If you find torn seams, split leather, or broken laces, be sure to have them repaired as quickly as possible. Playing with a damaged glove can damage the glove further and even cause errors. The off-season is also a good time to have the glove professionally re-laced if it requires this work. A number of companies offer this work in addition to complete rebuilding and repair services. At the end of the season, you can take a moderate amount of petroleum jelly, and cover the outside and inside of the glove. Don't ignore the laces or hard-to-get-to areas, both inside and outside the glove. Then take a clean rag and wipe off excess to remove grit and grime. This will also remove and help neutralize much of the salt and acid buildup inside the glove caused by perspiration, a chief problem to the leather lining, usually made of softer leather.