How to Wash Cycling Gloves: All Materials

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It doesn’t matter what material your bike gloves are made of; they’re going to get smelly if you don’t know how to wash cycling gloves. This is especially if you’re a dedicated cyclist who likes to take your two-wheel machine out on the road often. But, you obviously don’t want to be the smelly-Shelly or smelly-Steve of the group, so what do you do? 

Clean your gloves before odor even becomes an issue. You can own the same bike gloves for years without worrying about the smell if they’re well-taken care of. Keep in mind that in addition to sweat, your gloves will come into contact with dirt and dust also. 

That’s why it’s important to practice good hygiene in this regard so you can continue to comfortably wear them in the long run without them getting smelly. 

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to keeping your gloves clean, don’t worry. We’ve put together a helpful step-by-step guide on how to wash cycling gloves easily. 

How to Hand Wash Cloth Gloves

  1. Secure the glove fastener. Most are made from Velcro. 
  2. Start by washing the gloves with mild liquid soap in cool water. If your gloves are super-dirty then you should mix in ⅛ cup of white vinegar as well. 
  3. Rinse the gloves properly and make sure there are no soap suds left. Re-rinse them if you find any evidence of leftover soap. 
  4. Hang the gloves to dry in the sun or lay them out. 

How to Machine Wash Cloth Gloves

Canva Mittens and gloves are scattered on the table.
Multicolored mittens and gloves for autumn and winter. Clothes for the cold seasons on a blue background. View from above.
  1. Secure the snap with Velcro or button. 
  2. Set your washing machine on cold, put in some laundry detergent and pop the gloves in. Avoid bleach but you may add other items to the wash cycle, granted they’re the same or similar color. However, if your gloves are really smelly, pour ¼ of a cup of vinegar as well as fabric softener.
  3. Once your gloves are done washing, rinse them off by hand until you’ve removed any and all soap suds. 
  4. Hang them or lay them out to dry. 

How to Hand Wash Leather Gloves

  1. Start by wearing the gloves and then run them under some cool water. Rub in some leather soap or castile soap to remove dirt. 
  2. Rinse the gloves thoroughly. Spend at least as much if not longer rinsing them than you did washing them. Squeeze the gloves gently to remove water and avoid wringing them. 
  3. Take the gloves off and put them on a bath towel, making sure that they don’t touch in the process. Press them down with another clean bath towel to remove any excess water. 
  4. Wear your gloves and flex the fingers to make sure they’re still holding shape and fit comfortably. Take the gloves off and lay them out to dry naturally. Don’t press again. 
  5. Once they’re dry (or even mostly dry) use a tiny bit of leather conditioner to massage your gloves. 

How to Wash Winter Cycling Gloves

how to wash winter cycling gloves

If you own winter cycling gloves, then you must read this next section on how to wash cycling gloves. First, you must check what material they’re made from in order to follow the right instructions. 

Leather and Faux Leather Gloves

The best way to clean faux leather and leather gloves is with oil-based soap. This makes it easier to remove external stains using soap suds instead of the water itself. Once dry, you can then polish them with a microfiber cloth. 

Once that’s done, spread a combination of corn-starch and baking soda on the inside of the gloves. The baking soda is great at absorbing foul-smelling odor while the corn starch is used to remove excess oils. 

If you want to disinfect the inside of the gloves as well, lightly spray them with rubbing alcohol or spray them with hydrogen peroxide. 

Avoid rubbing the leather as you wash the gloves. simply press gently on the material using your hands and blow forcefully into the gloves to help them retain their shape. 

Wool Gloves

Wool is a lightweight material so it makes sense that it’d be used to make winter cycling gloves. Not only are these gloves breathable, but they’re odor resistant as well. 

Hand Wash: This method requires you to start by pouring warm water into a basin, followed by any mild detergent that you normally use to wash your delicates. Leave the gloves to soak in the solution for at least five minutes before you take them out and rinse them properly. 

It’s important to gently squeeze the gloves dry, and avoid twisting or wringing them altogether. Lay the gloves out on a drying rack and allow them to dry naturally. 

Machine Wash: Look at the gloves to see if there are any washing instructions that you should observe. If machine wash is allowed, then make sure your machine is on the gentle or delicate cycle setting. 

Use mild detergent and warm water for the best results and make sure the gloves are in a tightly sealed bag before you place them into the machine. Only opt for the short spin function when washing wool gloves to avoid damage. 

Rinse the gloves with warm water and don’t tumble dry. Squeeze the water out gently and lay the gloves out on a towel. But make sure you avoid sunlight exposure. 

Suede Gloves

You’ll need a suede protecting spray to clean your suede gloves. A dry cleaner usually works well to finish the job afterward. You can also use white vinegar to remove any stains that you may notice on the surface of the glove. 

Dry the gloves at room temperature. Hang drying isn’t recommended here because it may cause the gloves to stretch. If you notice any oil stains on the gloves, use a degreaser leather cleaner to remove them. This product is specifically made for use on suede. 

Spread the gloves out onto a clean surface to dry naturally. Don’t hang the gloves under any circumstances. This will stretch them out and make it difficult for you to wear them again. These washing tips are simple and easy to follow, and they’ll help you keep your gloves clean! 

Cotton Gloves

Now comes the easy part. Cotton gloves are super simple and easy to maintain. All you have to do is pop them into a washing machine with cold water and you’re done! However, you should avoid placing them in direct sunlight, as that might cause them to shrink. 

If your gloves are stained for some reason, use a soft brush to gently remove the stain. Oxygen bleach should be helpful at protecting the color and quality of the gloves, so you may add it to the washing cycle. 

Final Thoughts

It’s important to regularly wash bike gloves to avoid bacterial transference from your hands to your skin, food, etc. The best way to maintain your cloth and leather gloves is by hand-washing them. Avoid using a washing machine on these materials, and only dry them naturally. 

You may notice that they look and feel stiff after you’ve washed them, but this is only natural. They’ll go back to their natural shape after you’ve worn them a few times. 

However, it’s also a good idea not to wash them too often as frequent contact with detergents and soap can cause damage. 

With that said, it’s a good idea to wash your gloves as regularly, but within reason, especially if you use them often. At least now you know how to wash cycling gloves made of different materials, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

David Miller

My name is David and I have been an outdoor guy for as long as I can remember. I have a strong passion for the great outdoors in general and specifically camping. I am the kind of person who spends more time outdoors than indoors. I am a staunch believer in the fact that outdoor life should be well lived because it's in the natural, serene, and untamed wild that we find out who we truly are. Let’s take the journey together.

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