A quality baseball glove is an integral part of being an outstanding player. However, buying one, breaking it in, and wearing your new glove isn’t the end of the process. You need to take care of it to maintain it in tip-top condition and extend its lifespan.
After all, you’ve most likely invested a considerable amount of time, energy, and money in your baseball glove. With that, it’s only right to do your best in keeping it for a long time and ensuring its excellent performance and comfort for a good couple of seasons.
If you don’t know how to do so yet, don’t fret! Read on below, and we’ll list down the best tips for maintaining your baseball glove.
Tip #1: Clean Your Baseball Glove Regularly
The first tip is among the most important points you should remember: regularly clean your baseball glove. Though it may be pretty simple, it’s something that you can easily forget after a practice session or a competitive match. While it’s pretty understandable, given that you’ll likely want to rest or be with your friends or talk about the highlights of the big game, never miss taking out the glove from your equipment bag and cleaning it.
Though your baseball glove is made of tough leather, it doesn’t mean it’s not susceptible to deterioration. If not properly maintained and cleaned, the dust and dirt left on your glove will dry out the leather, causing it to crack and, eventually, break. When that happens, it’s not to last long, and you’ll need to spend money again and start the often tedious break-in process for a new glove.
To avoid such a scenario, just carefully wipe down your baseball glove with a soft cloth or simple rag after each game and practice to remove all the dirt, dust, and grass. You may use a leather-safe cleaner once a week or a little amount of vinegar and water solution to further clean the glove without harming it.
After drying, you should apply a glove conditioner or oil once to twice a month to moisturize your baseball glove and prevent it from cracking or breaking. Only use one that’s approved for use on baseball gloves. Apply the conditioner or oil to the glove lightly and evenly to the entire glove. Don’t over-apply, or else it will weigh down the glove and cause build-up over time, attracting dirt and other debris to gather.
Tip #2: Store Your Baseball Glove Properly
After cleaning your glove, don’t just randomly throw it in the baseball bag, closet, or garage. Proper storage also plays a vital role in maintaining its good condition, durability, and longevity. If you store it in a place with poor storage conditions, expect your baseball glove to deteriorate rapidly. If you want to know more about equipment bags that are suitable for baseball, you can check out our Guide to Selecting a Baseball Equipment Bag.
You should avoid storing your baseball glove somewhere with much moisture or being subject to extreme conditions like a damp basement, freezing or hot cars, or your backyard under the intense sun or overnight collecting dew. Exposing your glove to any of these will damage its leather and shorter its lifespan.
Ideally, you should store your baseball in a cool, dry place or at least at room temperature after it has been adequately cleaned and conditioned. During the off-season or the winter months, store your glove with a ball rolled in and wrap it with a belt or shoelace to keep its pocket formed.
Through that, you can ensure that all your efforts in breaking in, flexing, and bending your glove won’t go for naught and that it will still be ready when next spring comes. If not, its shape will likely become weird, and you’ll have to break it in again.
Tip #3: Keep Using Your Glove
Alternatively, continually using your glove during the long break can keep it fresh. However, that doesn’t entail trying to play catch amidst the icy winds and the heavy snowfall. Throwing a ball and catching it while watching a TV series or a movie on the couch or while you’re in bed after waking up is enough to keep your glove’s form and shape, which you’ve spent lots of time and effort forming during the season.
Tip #4: Keep Your Glove Dry
Chances are you’ve already played in the rain. After all, baseball is an outdoor sport, and sometimes, there’s simply no other option. While it’s okay for your glove to get wet during gameplay, what’s terrible is allowing it to get soaked in rainwater after the game. Prolonged unnecessary water exposure will lead to damage and cause the glove to degrade quickly. As such, you must completely dry your glove off as quickly as possible after the game.
To do so, simply dry your glove by patting it with a clean, absorbent rag or towel. Then, let it naturally air dry. Never use a hair blower, place it near a furnace, or throw it in the dryer, as the dry the leather out and cause it to crack. If you notice the leather stiffening during air drying, don’t fret! It’s natural and should soften again eventually with use. Otherwise, you can apply a modest amount of manufacturer-approved leather conditioner to soften it.
Tip #5: Protect the Glove’s Interior
As you protect the glove’s exterior shell of the glove, you must take care of the insides as well. Remember, your hands get sweaty and dirty as you play, and they can wreak havoc on the glove’s interior. It can result in more damage if you don’t clean the insides and if the moisture and dirt build up over time. With that, you also need to clean the interior every now and then. Alternatively, you can also use a light batting glove inside the main baseball glove. It serves as a layer of protection between your hands and your glove, allowing your glove to last much longer.
Tip #6: Inspect Your Glove Regularly
Lastly, you must also inspect your gloves regularly. Scrutinize all areas of your glove, including the interior, fingers, and webbings. Look out for any issues with the leather or ripped ties or laces. If you notice any, bring your gloves to a leather specialist or sporting goods store to fix the problem for you and avoid any injuries. Remember, it’s best to catch any issues and react to them immediately. If not, you could see your glove falling apart or experience mishaps while playing the game.
Taking care of your baseball glove and other gear is a must to reach your maximum performance and enjoy the game. Even the most excellent gloves from the top baseball glove manufacturers won’t last a while if not properly taken care of. Thankfully, you may just simply follow the steps above to be in the right direction. With the right care and maintenance, your glove will perform well, and so do you as well! Cheers!