Football requires a lot of equipment, from helmets and shoulder pads to cleats and more. Gloves are not necessarily required gear on the field, but they are often used by players who need to catch the ball, such as wide receivers and running backs. Of course, these are the same players who get pummeled regularly, sending them to the ground where every item of gear—gloves included—inevitably gets smeared with grass stains and mud.
To keep your gloves looking and smelling great, you’ll need to wash them frequently. Here’s how to clean your football gloves so they stay in great shape.
Machine Washing Guide
Need to wash your gloves so you can get them back on the field as soon as possible? Follow these simple steps:
- Wipe them down. To get started, brush off the gloves to remove any loose debris, dirt, etc. This is particularly important if you play on a natural grass field (vs an artificial surface).
- Check the instructions. Before going too far, be sure to check the specific instructions for your gloves to see if they are machine-washable. If not, skip to the next section for hand-washing tips.
- Flip them inside out. If your gloves are machine safe, be sure to turn them inside out before placing them in the wash. This can help to preserve the materials on the outside of the gloves that create the friction needed to grip the ball.
- Reach for a pillowcase. To further protect your gloves, put them in a pillowcase or a lingerie bag while they go through the washing machine.
- Wash on cold and gentle. It’s important to use cold water when washing your gloves, as hot water could do irreversible damage. Select a “gentle” or “delicate” cycle to treat your gloves with care, and be sure to use a detergent designed to treat synthetics, like WIN Sports Detergent.
- Hang to dry. With the wash cycle completed, you will need to hang up the gloves to dry to complete the process. While it may be tempting to speed up the process by putting your gloves through the dryer, the high-heat environment inside the drum is likely to harm your gloves; therefore, it’s better to plan ahead and leave enough time for your gloves to dry naturally before you use them again.
Consider Hand Washing
If the manufacturer’s instructions recommend against using the washing machine, your only option is to wash your gloves by hand. And in fact, even if your gloves can be machine-washed, hand washing is still a good choice, because it is a gentler approach that can help give the gloves a longer life.
To hand-wash your gloves, follow these steps:
- Prepare your water. Fill a sink, tub, or clean bucket with some water and add a small amount of a suitable detergent, such as WIN Sports Detergent. You don’t necessarily need to use cold water, but don’t go beyond a lukewarm temperature.
- Soak the gloves. Push your gloves down into the water and let them soak for a minute or two. Once they are thoroughly wet, use your hands to scrub them clean. As you work, be careful not to do any damage to the sensitive parts of the gloves.
- Rinse out the soap. With the scrubbing complete, empty your water and wash the gloves off one last time with some fresh, clean water. This will help you rinse away any soap that may still be clinging to the gloves.
- Air dry. Once again, the dryer is off limits. Instead, find a place to let your gloves hang out to dry.
Proper Care Between Washes
It’s important to wash your gloves correctly, but you also need to treat them right when they aren’t being cleaned. After each practice or game, take a moment to ensure your gloves have a chance to dry out completely. You don’t want your sweat to remain in the gloves for hours after you’ve taken them off, because that will make them harder to clean later.
One handy trick is to bunch a small sheet of newspaper inside each of the gloves after you’ve taken them off. The newspaper will wick moisture away from the gloves, drying them more quickly and limiting any unpleasant smells. When your next practice or game rolls around, just remove and discard the paper, and you’ll be ready to go.
Establish a Rotation
If possible, start your football season with two pairs of gloves, rather than just one. With two pairs available, you can rotate back and forth, giving each pair a chance to dry completely between uses. This gives you the freedom to wash one pair of gloves even if you have a game the next day, knowing that while that pair is drying, the other pair is available for use.
Wash the Rest of Your Uniform
Gloves aren’t the only football garments that need to be washed properly. Here are some quick links to help you wash the rest of your football gear:
Use WIN Detergent
Keep a bottle of WIN Detergent on hand so you always have the right detergent to clean your football gloves—and the rest of your gear—properly. WIN Detergent is designed specifically to treat synthetic materials commonly included in sports uniforms and activewear. Try a bottle and smell the difference for yourself!