Riders today are spending a large portion of their gear budget on getting the highest quality and most protective gloves on the market, like the Knox Handroid or Held Phantom. In many ways, for many riders, this is a smart move as some riders will instinctively make their hands the first point of contact with the ground in the event of an accident. This makes the quality of the care given to your gloves paramount as these articles can be weakened over time by regular use and lack of care. There are many different factors that affect the longevity of the leather gloves such as the frequency of use, the climate which they are used in, and the way the leather products are maintained. In normal riding, gloves are constantly being scuffed, stretched, and baked; to make these gloves last despite the abuse, we riders need to take a few extra steps to ensure that our gear will be able to provide peak performance in any situation.
Step #1: Soak Your Gloves
Place your gloves in a container of lukewarm water until the leather has become decently saturated. This will work effectively to limit the amount of stress on the material while also functioning to draw the harmful sweat residue out of the leather. Sweat contains many oils, acids and salts that are very harmful to leather, and it is crucial that we first remove the compounds that are responsible for a majority of the damage over long periods of time.
Step #2: Applying the Cleaning Solution:
Now that the gloves have been soaked well, it is the time to apply the cleaning detergent to the gloves. Concentrated detergent can be harmful to the sensitive leather materials that are used to construct the gloves. The best way to utilize the cleaning solutions is to first dilute the soap with water, usually 50% detergent and 50% water, and then apply it to the gloves. Cover your hands in the diluted solution, and then gently massage the outside of the gloves until completely lathered. Then, re-cover your hands with diluted detergent and put the gloves on your hands. This will clean both the outside and the inside thoroughly of any residual sweat or other contaminants without harming the leather.
Step #3: Allow Gloves to Soak in Cleaning solution
After thoroughly soaping the gloves, allow them to soak for several minutes in the diluted soap mixture to further immerse the gloves in the cleaner. Work the surfaces of the gloves in the soaking solution and really attempt to get both the inner and outer surfaces of the gloves as clean and residue free as possible. Once you feel you have adequately soaked and cleaned your gloves with the solution, rinse the gloves with low pressure, lukewarm water. If the appearance of the gloves is satisfactory move on to step #4, otherwise repeat the soaping process again until you are satisfied with the appearance.
Step #4: Drying
Drying is difficult only because you want to give the gloves adequate drying time as this portion of the process can be the most damaging to a pair of gloves, and in the most extreme cases can even decrease the life of the gloves you are working with. First, and most important, is that you recognize that you do not want to twist or wring the gloves dry as this can also squeeze out the essential oils and moisture that should always remain inside the leather. Simply take a dry cloth and pat dry the material. Once the bulk of the moisture is off the surface of the glove, it is a good idea to place the gloves in front of a fan, out of the sun in a relatively cool area. Remember that you want to let the gloves dry out as naturally as possible in order to assure the gloves will not dry out too much and begin to crack/ lose their strength.
Step #5: Conditioning Your Gloves
Once the Gloves have completely dried out it is now time to condition the leather. Make sure to keep this step in mind as it is the most important part! Conditioning will allow the leather to “breathe” more adequately making the gloves softer, more ventilated, and stronger. Conditioning also fights signs of aging: your gloves will not dry out and become brittle, but instead remain moist, allowing you to get the absolute most out of your pricey and protective glove choice. If you are from an area where you ride year round, make sure to condition the gloves whenever the seasons change, you notice white “Sweat Rings,” or any type of odor from the gloves. The leather acts very similar to your skin, so you can use what your body is doing as an indicator of how you should be taking care of your suit, boots, gloves and other leather apparel. We use a Dainese product that we have had around the shop for a while, but you can use any leather cleaning and protecting conditioner that you are comfortable with!
We hope this has been a helpful post for you, if you have any questions or comments please leave them down below!
-Jason & Dalton