how to care for leather ski gloves

How to Care For Leather Ski Gloves

Ski gloves are a crucial part of your skiing attire and are essential in keeping your hands warm in frosty winter environments. Leather ski gloves often come with a lining to protect your hands against falls, direct snow exposure and the harsh cold.

These days, freshly fallen snow is not just pure water, but likely to contain a variety of harmful impurities. Some of these contaminants include:

  • Volcanic Ash 
  • Black Carbon / Soot
  • Mercury
  • Pesticide
  • Sulfates
  • Nitrates
  • Formaldehyde
  • Toluene
  • Xylenes
  • Benzene 

These trace amounts of pollutants can be detrimental to the quality of your leather ski gloves if left untreated for an extended period of time. Water damage from snow or slush can also cause irreversible damage to your supple leather ski gloves.

When your leather ski gloves get soiled, they must be cleaned carefully and kept away from excess moisture. We advise that you to clean and treat your gloves only two to three times per year (unless necessary) to protect them from drying out and eventually becoming too brittle. 

Over-washing can also lead to a reduced shelf life of your gloves. It’s also important to note that caring and cleaning leather ski gloves is slightly different compared to fabric or nylon ski gloves – leather is a porous material and therefore more sensitive, requiring more care.

That’s why we’ve created a dedicated guide for ski gloves that are made of leather (or partially made of leather). The steps you can take to care for your leather ski gloves are as follows:

  1. Wash Exterior Of Gloves
  2. Wash Interior Lining Of Gloves
  3. Dry Gloves Fully
  4. Waterproof Gloves
  5. Condition Gloves

To ensure that your leather ski gloves don’t crack or form mold while in storage, you should dry, condition, and store them in a cool, clean, and dry place for your next skiing session. 

You can also refer to our general guide on how leather gloves can be cleaned, whilst many principles apply across the board, this article drills into the specificities pertaining to ski gloves.

1. Wash Exterior of Leather Ski Gloves

Begin cleaning the exterior of your leather ski gloves by laying them out and using a clean, damp cloth to wipe them. 

After removing all the apparent dirt and impurities, make a homemade soap solution (50% white vinegar and 50% water mix) or choose a specialized leather solution for wiping with a separate cloth. You should never soak your ski gloves in the soap solution as excessive water will ruin the leather.

2. Wash Interior Lining of Leather Ski Gloves

The inner lining of your leather ski gloves is meant to absorb sweat and moisture from your hand while in use. There are two types of lining: 

Detachable Interior Lining

If the lining of your ski gloves is removable, you should remove it to clean it separately. Depending on the material of the lining and its care instructions, you should hand wash or machine wash it with the appropriate settings. After the lining has been cleared of any grime or dirt, dry it thoroughly before inserting them into the glove for use.

Non-Detachable Interior Lining

If you have a non-detachable lining with your gloves, we advise to sprinkle small amounts of baking soda into the glove. The baking soda will absorb any excess moisture and soak up all bad odors in your gloves. 

After leaving the baking soda in your ski gloves for 1 – 2 hours, turn the gloves inside out and use a light suction vacuum or a blow dryer (on the cool setting) to remove all baking soda. 

3. Fully Dry Glove

Air-drying your leather ski gloves in a cool, dry, and breezy environment is the best option after using or cleaning them. You should never dry leather ski gloves using heat (machine drying or keeping them near an air vent or stove) since it can damage the gloves’ membrane and seams.

Excessive heat can also cause the leather to shrink and dry out, leading to wrinkling or cracks in the material. We recommend wearing your ski gloves once or twice during the drying process to ensure the glove’s fit is not compromised due to shrinking.

4. Waterproof Leather Ski Gloves

After cleaning leather ski gloves, you should renourish the gloves with a suitable leather conditioner and waterproofing wax. Waterproofing protects against potential water damage in the long run. 

If you are looking for waterproofing solutions that can work on various types of leather articles, including leather ski gloves, then make sure to check out the article where we comprehensively reviewed the efficacy of Nikwax waterproofing wax.

We recommend two ways of applying the waterproofing wax: you can apply it using a wool or cotton cloth with circular motions. Applying the wax using a cloth can help you spread the product evenly on your leather ski gloves.

You can also apply the wax using your fingers. If you use your fingers to apply the product, practice back and forth motions to spread the product evenly, you will also be able to reach tricky nooks as well.

Ensure only to apply wax to the leather parts of the glove and let the leather dry naturally after the process.

5. Condition Leather Ski Gloves 

Some waterproofing solutions can act as leather conditioners as well. If the waterproofing solution you use does not include conditioning ingredients, you must condition the leather after waterproofing it. 

As leather ski gloves are constantly exposed to UV rays and snow, the chances of them drying out and cracking are incredibly high. Conditioning the leather of your gloves with a microfiber cloth can keep the amount of lanolin (the natural wax present in leather) intact in the material, which keeps it supple.

After conditioning your leather ski gloves, let them rest for 1-2 hours before wiping them clean of excess moisture and using them.