|Written by Terry Swift|
Whether it's that old catcher's mitt your dad used twenty years ago or your own baseball glove you haven't used since last summer, these tips will help you revive it and make it new again.
Step 1: Assuming the baseball glove is worth saving in the first place (no holes, tears, stitching is intact, etc.), begin the process of bringing it back to life by cleaning it thoroughly. This is best accomplished by using saddle soap. Use a clean, dry rag to apply the saddle soap. Rub into the leather in small circular motions. Don't miss an inch--clean between fingers and all. You are working the dirt and grime out of the leather and bringing it to the surface. As you do this the soap will work into a lather.
Step 2: Use a second clean and dry rag to wipe the lather, which now contains the dirt and impurities which contaminate and harm leather, from the baseball glove. Again, be thorough to assure a complete cleaning.
Step 3: Repeat Steps 1 and 2 if necessary. Making certain you have removed as much dirt as possible will help to add years of life to your baseball glove. Think of dirt as sandpaper and the leather of your glove as paint on your car. Not a combination you want!
Step 4: Give it some time...It's a good idea to give it a day or two before following up cleaning your glove with conditioning it. This time allows the leather to breathe a bit. During this time you may want to begin folding, squeezing, bending and otherwise working your glove to loosen it up. The saddle soap is mainly a cleaner but also serves to condition the leather somewhat. You will already notice a big difference from before you cleaned your glove in just how soft and pliable it has become...Above all, don't go out and play catch with your glove just yet. You'll want to condition it first!
Step 5: To condition your baseball glove, simply use neatsfoot oil, readily available at any feed store. Mink oil works as well, or you can choose from the many formulated products on the market readily available at sporting goods stores. Stay away from pertroleum products! Vasoline and the like will only damage your leather ball glove in the long run. Whichever conditioner you choose, work it into the leather well with a clean rag or small sponge. Dab (don't rub) the excess off with another clean, dry rag when you are done.
Step 6: Again, giveĀ your leather baseball glove a day or so before playing catch, this time allowing it to absorb the conditioner. Reapply conditioner as necessary. Older gloves may need more work, for example. Bend the glove during this time. Open and close it repeatedly. Punch the pocket with your fist or a ball. Work the leather to really soften it up.
Step 7: PLAY BALL!...This is the day you've been waiting for. It's that time of year, so get out and play some baseball!
TIP: Try Bee Natural Leathercare for a product specifically designed for leather baseball gloves!
WARNING: Use motor oil, Vasoline or baby oil to condition your glove if you would like your glove to crack, be a dirt magnet, be a furnace, not breathe and/or catch fire on a hot summer day.