by Sommer Adams, HavefunBiking Contributor
Bike gloves are not a clothing item that can afford to go unwashed. On top of their intended use they often serve as tissues, sweat absorbers or bacteria collector – and at the cost of a good pair of gloves many cyclists are afraid to just toss them in the washing machine. However, like other bicycle gear such as shorts and jerseys, most bike gloves are made from materials that can be washed and dried, if you use a little care. Before packing away your cycle gloves and gear for the winter and for regular cleanings throughout the season follow these steps for healthy and extended use from both your cloth and leather gloves.
Supplies for Cleaning
• Antibacterial hand soap
• Leather conditioner
• White vinegar
Cloth Gloves–Hand Wash
Close the Velcro or other glove fastener.
Wash the gloves, using cool water and mild liquid soap in a sink. If the gloves are dirty/smelly, add 1/8 cup white vinegar to your wash water.
Rinse the gloves well and inspect them for soap suds, rinsing again if necessary.
Lay the gloves flat or hang them up to dry. If you can hang them out in the sun, for an hour or so, that is even better.
Cloth Gloves–Machine Wash
Close the Velcro, snap or button on your gloves.
Put the gloves in a washing machine set on cold with laundry detergent. Do not use bleach. You may wash other items with the gloves. If your gloves are particularly smelly, add ¼ cup white vinegar to the fabric softener slot of your washing machine.
Rinse the gloves by hand after the wash if any soap suds remain.
Lay the gloves flat or hang to dry. Again, if you can hang them out in the sun, that is the best.
Leather Gloves–Hand Wash Only
Put on the bicycle gloves. Run some cool water over your hands, then rub a very mild soap, such as castile soap or leather soap, into the dirtiest parts of the glove.
Rinse the gloves well, spending two to three times as long on the rinsing as you did on washing, to make sure all the soap is gone. Do not wring the gloves; squeeze gently to remove water.
Remove the gloves and place them between layers of bath towel, and press to remove the water.
Put the gloves back on and flex your fingers a few times to mold the gloves back into shape. Remove the gloves and then lay them flat to dry, without pressing them again.
Massage your cycling gloves with a pea sized amount of leather conditioner when almost dry, if desired, using less if only part of the glove is leather.
• Both leather and cloth gloves may be stiff once dry, but they will soften up with a little use.
• Wash leather gloves as infrequently as possible. If you are a dedicated long-distance rider, they may not last more than a season regardless of how often you clean them.