How to Clean Golf Gloves

How to Clean Golf Gloves

Golf gloves play a critical role in your performance at the golf course. They are the primary contact that links your body and the golf club.

The more you play, the dirtier your golf glove gets. Every time you align a ball, touch a golf cart steering wheel or pick up broken golf tees, you are compromising the surface of your golf glove. 

Golfers often think about their stance and grip – and these details are obviously very important – but the condition of your glove should be factored in as well.

As a child of the 90s, I always think of the old Bush song, Little Things. The chorus repeats the phrase:

It’s the little things that kill…

I’m here to tell you that the little things, like a dirty/slippery/wet/smelly golf glove need to be addressed. Everything starts with your golf grip.

Golf gloves aren’t particularly expensive, so if you’re pulling a nasty 10 year old golf glove out of your bag, just go ahead and buy a new one.

However, if you have a decent golf glove, you can maintain its usefulness through a simple 5 minute cleaning process.

Here are a few tips on how to clean golf gloves.

How to Clean Golf Gloves (methods listed in order of preference)

These first two cleaning options are designed for a synthetic golf glove. The synthetic material can handle a bit of water, but if you own a true leather golf glove, you’ll want to scroll down to Method 3.

Method 1 (Preferred): Use Cold Water

This is the quickest and easiest method for cleaning golf gloves. It’s also the safest option for keeping them clean and extending their service life.

Items You’ll Need

  • Your glove
  • Your hand
  • Cold water
  • A towel

Let’s get started.

Step 1: Wet the Glove

For this method, you’ll keep the golf glove on your hand. It may seem counterintuitive, but trust me on this one.

Wet the glove using cold or room temperature water. Don’t soak the glove, just get it wet.

Avoid using hot or warm water.

Step 2: Towel Rub the Glove

Get a clean towel (microfiber preferred) and rub off the dirt from the surface. Be gentle as you wipe off the surface dirt. You don’t want to remove the grip of the glove by scrubbing too hard.

Step 3: Dry the Gloves

If your microfiber towel is in decent shape, flip it over to the clean side and dry the glove. If not, get a new towel and thoroughly dry the golf glove while it is still on your hands. 

This method keeps the glove from shrinking and helps maintain a proper fit.

Once this step is complete, leave the glove somewhere that allows it to fully air dry. Do not use a heat source like a hair dryer to dry the material. This will damage the glove.

Method 2: Use a Mild Detergent

The cold water cleaning method that I just highlighted is best for a golf glove that’s in decent shape but shows signs of surface dirt.

Method 2 introduces some soapy water to the equation. This method should be reserved for golf gloves that are heavily soiled and need a serious cleaning.

Items You’ll Need

  • Your glove
  • A bucket or bowl
  • Cold water
  • A mild detergent (dish detergent)
  • A microfiber towel or brush

Let’s get started.

Step 1: Brush or Wipe the Gloves

Before you get the glove wet, it’s smart to remove any surface dirt.

Take a light bristled brush (an old toothbrush will work) or a microfiber towel and attempt to remove any surface contaminants. 

Avoid using hard-bristled or abrasive brushes that will scratch the material.

Step 2: Submerge the Gloves

Fill a bucket or bowl with cool water and a few pumps of mild soap. Mix the solution until you see some bubbles and then submerge your glove in it. 

Let the wet glove sit in this solution for 15-20 minutes.

Please note: There is a risk to submerging a glove, so this method is best for an old glove or a glove that smells so bad it just has to be washed. The downside is that the size and fit of your glove may be altered.

Step 3: Wash the Gloves

Once the glove has soaked, put the glove back on your hand and use a clean microfiber towel to start gently removing the dirt that remains.

As with method 1, avoid over-scrubbing. You don’t want to alter the grip.

Step 4: Rinse and Dry

After most of the dirt is off, rinse the soap from the golf gloves (inside and out). Remember to use cold water.

To dry, squeeze the glove firmly with a towel. This will help absorb the extra moisture.

After drying the glove, put it back on to reshape and re-stretch the fingers.

Once this step is complete, leave the glove somewhere that allows it to fully air dry. Do not use a heat source like a hair dryer to dry the material. This will damage the glove.

After a few hours, wear the glove again to prevent shrinking.

Method 3: For Leather Gloves Only

You may own some pricey leather golf gloves. 

Congrats on being better than everyone else (I’m joking, relax…)

After forking out a bit of extra money for a Cabretta leather golf glove, you’ll want to give extra attention to the maintenance of your golf equipment.

Items You’ll Need

  • Your leather glove
  • Leather cleaner
  • Leather conditioner (optional)
  • A microfiber towel
  • An applicator sponge (optional)

Here is a simple method you can follow to keep that glove in tip-top shape.

Step 1: Buy a Leather Cleaner

Pick up a proven leather cleaning product. My favorites are the Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner or the Lexol Leather Care Kit (links below). Both will get the job done.

Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner and Leather Conditioner Kit
$29.99
See on Amazon
We may earn a commission if you make a purchase.
02/24/2024 11:14 am GMT
Lexol Leather Care Kit Conditioner and Cleaner
$19.72
See on Amazon
We may earn a commission if you make a purchase.
02/24/2024 10:31 am GMT

Step 2: Apply the Leather Cleaner

Follow the instructions that come with your leather cleaner.

This usually includes applying the leather cleaner with a microfiber towel or applicator sponge.

Don’t oversaturate.

Step 3: Wipe Dry

Use a dry microfiber cloth or towel to wipe off the dirt and contaminants that have lifted from the glove’s surface.

Step 4: Apply Leather Conditioner (optional)

There’s a reason I recommended the two kits above – both include a leather conditioner that will keep your leather looking new and feeling supple.

A leather conditioner application will extend the life of your leather glove, but make sure it doesn’t have a negative effect on your ability to grip the club.

How to Maintain Golf Gloves

As with anything in life, a little bit of preventative maintenance goes a long way.

Golf gloves are pretty affordable, but if you like to save money you can take some extra steps to ensure their longevity.

Golf Gloves
Playing an early morning round is great, but take note of the dew and dirt that your glove comes into contact with. Morning golfers need to take extra care to extend the life of the golf glove.

During Your Round

Avoid wiping the sweat from your face on your golf glove.

The salt from your sweat will speed up the deterioration process and shorten the life span of your glove. This is especially true for a leather glove.

The smartest way to deal with sweat is to attach a towel to your golf bag and wipe your face on the towel as needed.

Have dedicated rain gloves.

Most golfers carry a “pond ball” or two. I know I don’t want to hit a Titleist Pro V1x into a lake.

Apply that same principle to your golf glove.

If you have a golf glove that you absolutely love, chances are it wasn’t designed for the rain.

That’s where rain gloves come in. The Footjoy RainGrip golf gloves (pictured below) are specifically designed for the rain. These gloves utilize a special absorbent synthetic fabric which will conform to your hands and the club, keeping your grip just how it should be.

Keep a rain glove in your bag for those less-than-ideal weather days.

Rotate your golf glove.

If you know you’re prone to hand sweat, you can bring two golf gloves to each round. 

Wear one glove for a few holes, then switch it with a fresh glove as needed. Let the sweaty glove air dry and keep the glove rotation going throughout your round.

I’m not a big fan of this approach, but I know some golfers who swear by it.

After Your Round

Never wear your golf glove while cleaning your a golf ball or your golf clubs. 

This exposes your gloves to unnecessary dirt and moisture. Take your glove off when you’re cleaning your other golf gear.

Do a basic glove cleaning before you leave the golf course.

Follow method 1 from our write-up. A simple 5 minute cold water cleaning will keep your glove in great condition.

Golf Glove Frequently Asked Questions

Can you wash golf gloves?

Yes, you can wash golf gloves by hand. However, using the proper technique is important. 

You should never send your golf gloves through a washing machine. The methods I covered above are the best way to keep your golf gloves clean.

Since golf gloves tend to accumulate dirt from the ground and sweaty hands, this 5 minute maintenance task is worth your time.

Why are golf gloves worn on the left hand?

Since most golfers are right handed, they wear a golf glove on their left hand. If that seems counterintuitive, here’s the reason: A typical grip places the left hand at the top of the club, so this is the hand that is “gripping” the club.

How long do golf gloves last?

Some websites will tell you that golf gloves last for about 10 rounds, but that number isn’t accurate. With simple maintenance, golf gloves can last for 20 rounds or more.

Keep in mind that this this number varies based on the material used (synthetic gloves vs leather gloves), how often you clean your gloves and what type of conditions you play in.

Why are golf gloves white?

Golf gloves are often white because white gloves attract the least amount of sun. Nobody wants their hands to be hotter or sweatier than necessary, so white is the most logical option for reducing heat and sweat.

On a related note, there is also a style that some golfers expect. Part of that “look” is a bright white golf glove.

Since a white glove makes the dirt more obvious (it does), some would argue that the color choice is part of a sinister marketing ploy to get a golfer to buy new gloves more often.

If you fall into that camp, you can stick it to the man by following my instructions on how to clean golf gloves.

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