can leather gloves get wet

Can Leather Gloves Get Wet?

Leather gloves are a stylish piece of accessory that can complete your winter look. Aside from ski wear and winter wear, leather gloves are also used for various practical reasons in industrial settings.

These gloves are highly durable and can protect you from wet and cold weather, as well as injuries. In light of this, leather gloves may also get wet from rain, snow, or spillage. However, can leather gloves get wet?

Yes, leather gloves can get wet and won’t get damaged if you clean, condition, and dry them appropriately. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the most common reason why they get wet, what happens to them when they do and how to dry them effectively.

Common Reasons Why Leather Gloves Get Wet

Some of the most common reasons your leather gloves can get wet are listed below. Knowing these circumstances and how to protect your leather gloves accordingly can hopefully keep your gloves safe for years to come.

Weather Conditions

Snow and rain are some of the most common reasons leather gloves get wet. If you are playing in the snow and hold onto it until it melts, there are high chances that the water might penetrate deep into the leather.      

Similarly, umbrellas can do a good job at keeping your upper body dry, however, unless you are holding your umbrella in an unorthodox way, chances are your gloved hands will be exposed to rainwater. 

Handling Wet Items

Another common reason why leather gloves get wet is through the handling of wet items. When you drink water with the condensation on the drinking glass, your leather gloves might absorb the water and get wet. 

Special care also needs to be taken when washing your hands so that the water doesn’t splash onto the gloves kept nearby. Your wet hands can also transfer moisture to both the exterior as well as the interior of the gloves if you attempt to wear them before fully drying your hands.


Sweat can also cause your leather gloves to get wet. If you sweat profusely, you might want to take off your gloves after a period to dry your hands and your gloves.

Given that sweat is known to contain trace amounts of sodium as well as electrolytes that can damage leather, it is especially important to manage the level of sweat exposure as much as possible.

What Happens When Leather Gloves Get Wet?

When leather gloves get wet, they can lose their natural oils and suppleness and develop a hardened exterior. This affects the material’s flexibility and causes the leather gloves to crack or shrink.

Feel free to refer to our in-depth guide on what commonly happens when leather gets wet. Let’s explore the effects of water on leather gloves in a little more detail below.

Your Leather Gloves Can Stiffen

Water can rob leather of its natural oils as it evaporates from its surface. Without the softening oils, leather gloves can become stiff, which can cause them to crack and develop wrinkles. It can also make leather gloves uncomfortable to wear and affect your gripping strength when wearing the gloves.

Your Leather Gloves Can Shrink

Water can also penetrate deep into the leather material and cause it to change its shape. The fibers of the leather material come closer together, which causes the thin material to shrink.

Shrunken leather gloves can be uncomfortable to wear, and you might have difficulties putting them on in the first place. In extreme cases, they might even reduce blood flow to your fingertips.  

Your Leather Gloves Can Develop Unpleasant Odors

Leather gloves can develop unpleasant odors if they are left wet for an extended period. Winter leather gloves often have a lining of wool, cotton, or synthetic materials, which is meant to insulate your hands from the harsh cold weather. 

Due to their property to retain moisture and warmth, these materials and the design of your leather gloves may not allow for the best ventilation. 

How to Dry Wet Leather Gloves

It is critical to dry your wet leather gloves properly to ensure that they remain supple and durable in the long run. Mitigating water damage to your leather gloves can also ensure that the gripping strength of the gloves remains the same.

Since leather is a highly sensitive material, proper drying methods must be followed for the gloves. Follow the step-by-step guide below to ensure that they are dried effectively.

1. Use Absorbent Cloth to Remove Excess Moisture

If you notice excess moisture or condensation on the leather gloves, you can use a microfiber cloth to absorb them. You can begin the process by gently laying the material on top of the wet gloves and pressing it against the maximum surface area of the gloves.

You should remove as much moisture and water from the leather surface as possible before moving on to the next step in the drying process.

2. Air Dry and Naturally Shape Your Leather Gloves

After removing all excess water from your leather gloves, you should move on to removing the remaining moisture from them naturally. Ensure not to use heat but place your leather gloves in a well-ventilated, ventilated, and cool environment for drying.

We recommend wearing your gloves once or twice during the drying process and flexing your fingers properly. This practice will prevent any distortion in the leather material and keep your leather gloves comfortable and functional for years as it remains molded and shaped to your hands directly.

After cleaning the exterior, turn your gloves inside out and sprinkle some baking soda into the interior lining of your gloves. This will draw out any persisting moisture and odors and keep your gloves smelling fresh.

Dry the glove lining after this step to ensure your gloves are ready for wear. The best way to remove the baking soda from the interior lining is to turn them inside out again and use a soft brush.

3. Store Leather Gloves Appropriately

After drying your leather gloves and deodorizing them, the next step is proper storage. If you want to store your leather gloves for a long time, we recommend applying a leather conditioner before storage.

A leather conditioner can keep the material supple and nourished even when stored. We also suggest drying the leather gloves entirely before storing them in a cloth bag or well-ventilated storage box in a dry and cool environment.

Preventing moisture and warmth in the storage area can help you avoid mold and mildew problems later on. Since leather is a breathable material, it is best to store it in a well-ventilated space where moisture can be easily swept away. 

About Matthew

Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief & Writer At Leatherskill

I’m a leather enthusiast turned artisan. Apart from crafting leather products, I’m passionate about writing in-depth guides and reviews on all things leather!