How to Clean Leather Welding Gloves

When it comes down to protective clothing articles, your leather welding gloves goes a long way to keep your hands, wrists and forearms safe. Your leather welding gloves naturally heat and fire resistant, which protects you from flying sparks and open heat sources. Reinforcement across your gloves’ palm and gripping zones help protect against abrasions.

As your gloves are meant for heavy duty use, it is not uncommon to see your gloves build up dirt and grime. A common complaint amongst welders is accidentally brushing your gloves whilst still worn against your shirt or trousers, transferring obvious dirt marks unintentionally.

Gloves meant for TIG welding are usually thinner and more lightweight in general as that will allow for you to be able to maintain higher levels of control and precision. MIG welding gloves tend to be more industrial and heavy in build. This guide allows you to approach the cleaning process across both types of gloves to allow you to wear your gloves as comfortably as possible, as well as to minimise any post wash or use hardening.

The steps to cleaning your leather welding gloves can be found summarised as follows;

  1. Read Cleaning Notes from Manufacturer
  2. Rinse Leather Welding Gloves with Cool Water
  3. Use Soap on Exteriors of Leather Welding Gloves
  4. Spray Interiors of Leather Welding Gloves with Disinfecting Solution
  5. Dry your Leather Welding Gloves
  6. Condition your Leather Welding Gloves

We also have a holistic guide to the basics of cleaning leather gloves and how you can clean specific glove types.

1. Read Cleaning Notes from Manufacturer

As your leather welding gloves are likely constructed with specificities, I would recommend always to first read the manufacturer’s recommendations on how you can wash your gloves. 

There are universal rules that you can follow when it comes down to the cleaning of your leather welding gloves’ exteriors, but the materials used for the interiors can range. It is also not uncommon for reinforcement foiling to sit between materials to increase your leather welding gloves’ heat resistance.

Your welding gloves should come with notes noting any special cleaning recommendations that will take your gloves’ unique build in mind. If you are unable to locate your manufacturer’s recommendations either physically or online, the rest of the guide should still serve to arm you with the knowledge to undertake this process safely.

 2. Rinse Leather Welding Gloves with Cool Water

As your gloves can accumulate substantial amounts of dirt and grime, I would recommend starting the cleaning process with a thorough rinse. You can keep your gloves worn this process and you can simply use a bathroom tap for this purpose. Use cool or room temperature water as far as possible as scrub your gloves in the way you normally would washing your hands.  

3. Use Soap on Exteriors of Leather Welding Gloves

After your initial rinse, it is time now to apply soap to wash out the grime that water alone can not deal with. If at all possible, I would recommend to use a specialised soap that is meant for leather. Using the wrong soap can and will strip the leather of its natural oils, leading to an undesirable hardening after effect.

In the event that you do not have access to leather specific soap, using a PH neutral soap with all natural ingredients is acceptable as well. Apply the soap to the palms of your gloves and create a lather by rubbing your gloved hands together. Work the soap across the entire surface area of your glove and gently rinse off with water after.

Whilst wearing your gloves, you can clench your fist and stretch them to get rid of excess water. I do not recommend wringing your gloves under any circumstances.

4. Spray interior of Leather Welding Gloves with disinfectant solution

In the event that your day’s of work had you sweating, we want to ensure that we are able to disinfect your gloves’ interiors and to minimise odors. Use a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water. Use a spray bottle to apply the solution while taking care to not soak your glove interiors.

5. Dry your Leather Welding Gloves

Now that your leather welding gloves are clean, it is time to lay them to dry. We want to ensure that your next usage of your gloves are safe. Do not introduce unnatural heat or leave your gloves exposed to the sun. This can shrink your gloves and also harden the surface area of your leather gloves.

If you are washing gloves meant for TIG welding, I would recommend for you to wear your gloves a few times through the drying process to ensure that the glove fit is maintained. You can also do this for other welding glove types but it is especially important for TIG welding gloves.

6. Condition your Leather Welding Gloves

If you are noticing that your welding gloves are stiffening up and causing you discomfort while working, conditioning it after a wash can go a long way to softening the glove. Apply leather conditioner using a microfibre cloth and use a circular rubbing motion to ensure even application across your leather surface areas.

While most leather conditioners I use regularly are not flammable, it is perhaps best to ensure that your conditioner falls under this category as you wouldn’t want your gloves to be exposed to sparks whilst being coated in a flammable substance. Either way, it is best to ensure that your welding gloves are wiped dry before use.

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