Color guard gloves can be a lifesaver for your hands. Anyone who’s had to catch those big sabre tosses knows — especially those strategically placed padding points! But your gloves go through a lot, and it’s important to take proper care of them or they’ll end up looking dirty and shabby, which is a real bummer when the judges are looking.
First, the Don’ts
- DON’T just toss them in the washer: Leather — especially light-colored, dyed leather– can stain when exposed to water. And the washer agitation, even on delicate, can leave your gloves shrunken and ill fitting.
- DON’T try to speed up the drying process with heat: Drying your gloves on a radiator, taking a hair dryer to them, or leaving them to dry in the sun can damage the leather, making it dry, misshapen, and brittle – especially those padding points we talked about earlier.
- DON’T store gloves when they are wet or damp: If your gloves get wet (especially from sweat) allow them to air dry flat on a towel. If you need your gloves faster, you can place them in front of a fan. Be sure they’re fully dry before storing to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
Cleaning your gloves
Color Guard Gloves are typically made of a blend of materials, usually natural or vegan leather with a poly/spandex blended backer (like our Blade Runner Gloves). So you’ll want to start slow and go easy on the chemicals. Always check the tag in your gloves for any washing instructions.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- An old towel
- An old Toothbrush
- Warm Water
- Soap (like Dawn dish soap diluted with water or Saddle Soap for natural leather)
- Leather conditioner
- A clean, lint-free cloth
- Rubber Gloves (optional)
- Prepare your space. Lay down a clean towel or work on a surface that you don’t mind getting wet. If you have sensitive skin, it may be helpful to put on some rubber gloves.
- Grab your toothbrush. Dip your toothbrush in the diluted soapy water – less is more. If using saddle soap, use a wet toothbrush to start a lather, rinse your brush, and then dip it in the lather. Again, less is more.
- Brush, brush, brush. Put your hand inside the glove to hold the shape and brush the dirty areas in a circular motion, working a little at a time. Be gentle though, we’re not scrubbing floors!
- Wipe. As you finish each section, blot the area with a clean, damp cloth to remove the dirt and soap. Never dunk your gloves!
- And repeat. For tougher spots, you may need to go at it twice. Then wipe the entire glove one more time to make sure there’s no residue left. Repeat the steps with the other glove.
- Condition. To keep the leather supple, add a dab of leather conditioner to a clean microfiber cloth and buff buff buff. Or keep it simple with Armorall® wipes (be sure grab the right ones for your glove material, leather for genuine leather or vinyl for synthetic or vegan leather).
PRO TIP: Be sure not to get conditioner on the poly/spandex blended backer or it may stain!
- Air it out. Now to let them dry. As we said before, it’s important to let your gloves air-dry. If you need your gloves faster, you can place them in front of a fan. Be sure they’re fully dry before storing to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
While you’re cleaning your gloves, remember to look them over. If there are rips or the padding is starting to pull from the palm, don’t try to glue it. This fix is temporary; gloves that are coming apart could fail during a performance or cause injury. If your gloves are starting to show signs of extreme wear, it may be time to replace them.