Secret to Smelly-less Gloves

Of all the equipment that takes a beating when we ride – our riding gloves are probably the most abused horse riding gear we own! But don't despair, there are a few tricks and tips we wanted to share that will help your gloves perform better for longer.

Nothing is ever going to stop that "sweaty glove smell" we all know so well, but we can care for them a little better to give our gloves the best possible chance of survival and longevity.

Whether you prefer to ride with leather gloves, mesh gloves or synthetic – the amount of care each of them need is pretty standard across the different materials. One would think that cleaning and caring for mesh or fabric gloves is a little more straight than with leather gloves, but it is important to remember that most of the riding gloves today have special technical materials woven into them to help with texture, feel and most importantly...grip, so the level of care is the same for most gloves these days. 

A big no-no: don’t put your riding gloves in the washing machine on a normal cycle. The ingredients in your washing detergent and softner can actually affect the gloves material and make them wear faster – it can also make them less grippy. Have you ever noticed after a wash that your reins tend to slip through your hands a little easier? It is best to only ever hand wash your gloves.

The main culprits for the deterioration of our gloves is simple – Harsh daily use and SWEAT. The natural salts from our sweat get absorbed into the gloves with every single use and this salt slowly hardens the material until it will ultimately start to crack or break.

How do you know when your gloves are actually dirty and ready for a wash? After your ride, when you remove your gloves, pay attention to your hands. When your hands start to develop a salty smell; your gloves need a wash. If your gloves are leaving parts of their inner lining – they have probably already gone long enough without a wash. Don’t wait for them to start breaking or for the smell to get unbearable.

Cleaning riding gloves isn’t that complicated!

All you need is these 6 easy to attain items:

  1. Lukewarm water
  2. A basin or bucket
  3. Mild detergent – (a soft dishwashing liquid actually works really well)
  4. A soft bristle brush – a soft toothbrush is ideal (Only if needed)
  5. 2x Dry dish or bath towels or microfiber cloths

These follow these 10 Simple Steps for Cleaning Horse Riding Gloves:

  1. Clean gloves in lukewarm water using mild soap. DO NOT use fabric softner, bleach or products that contain bleach, or strong detergent. Let the gloves soak for about 5-10 minutes in the water detergent mixture.
  2. Gently handwash the gloves. If you have any mud, debris, hair or any other stains on your glove, use the toothbrush to gently remove the dirt.
  3. Empty the water and use fresh warm water without detergent to rinse the gloves. Keep changing the water and cleaning gently until the gloves are clean and there is no trace of detergent running into the water.

Now for the magic trick:

  1. Once the gloves are detergent free, put the gloves on while still wet and clench your fist to mould them back into shape. This will also remove some excess water from them.
  2. Wrap the gloves in a dry dish or microfiber cloth and squeeze gently. Repeat this process with dry cloth until the gloves are almost dry. Remove the gloves from the wet cloth (don’t be tempted to let them dry inside the cloth, as this will lead to fungus growth).
  3. Air dry the gloves until they are completely dry. Don’t leave them in the sun to dry, simple air dry indoors will be perfect. Never use a hair dryer as the heat will negatively affect the gloves.
  4. Once your gloves are dry you can put them on and open and close your fist to get them back into their original shape.
  5. If you have pure leather gloves, this would be a good time to apply a small amount of leather conditioner or leather balsam. (Warning: do NOT do this step just before riding. Leave about 24 hours for the leather balsam to absorb.)

That's it your gloves are clean and ready for your next ride!

More Tips for longer lasting Riding Gloves:

  • Never leave your gloves lying out in the sun, direct and strong sunlight like we have in the UAE can reduce the efficacy of your gloves and the way they grip the reins…not to mention, the sunlight and heat can affect your gloves size and will cause the colours to fade.
  • After riding, always let your gloves breathe and completely dry out. Do not store them inside your helmet or in a closed container, jacket pocket or tack bag. You would be inviting bacteria to growth inside your gloves. It is best to hang them up.
  • Don’t wash your gloves every day – if you care for them properly they will last longer.
  • It is preferable not to machine wash your gloves. Still, if you wish to machine wash them, use the mildest of detergents and the shortest of wash cycles and then follow all the steps from number 5 onwards above. Do NOT spin dry gloves in your washing machine.