How to Clean Your Stinky Winter Gloves (Even Thinsulate™ and Leather)
Whether you’re coming home from a weekend of skiing or a 14-hour shift, your gloves are going to smell.
To stop the stink and kill bacteria, there are quick and easy tips for cleaning leather, wool, cotton and Thinsulate™ winter gloves at home.
This post looks at simple steps that you can take to clean winter gloves.
Why Do My Gloves Smell?
What you may not realize is the material that keeps your hands warm and toasty in chilly weather also provides a nice incubator for all kinds of germs and bacteria.
This is why it is important to keep your gloves clean and smelling fresh. But how you clean insulated gloves often depends on the type of glove you wear.
Cleaning Leather & Faux Leather Gloves:
To preserve the naturally-waterproof surface on leather or faux leather gloves, don’t throw them in the washing machine like you would fabric gloves.
Instead, follow these easy instructions for washing and cleaning by hand:
- Rub a small amount of an oil-based soap, like saddle soap, on a clean, soft cloth.
- Gently clean the entire surface of the glove by rubbing the cloth in a small, circular motion. For stains or spots, scoop up some of the soap bubbles and rub for a few minutes longer.
- Let the gloves dry thoroughly.
- Polish the surface with a microfiber cloth.
- After drying and polishing, sprinkle a bit of baking soda and cornstarch on the inside to eliminate odors and soak up oils.
- Disinfect the inside by lightly spraying the inside with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
Cleaning Cotton, Suede & Waterproof Gloves:
You can wash cotton gloves in the washing machine in cold water. Air-dry them though to prevent them from shrinking. Use regular spot cleaner or color-safe bleach and a brush, if needed, to remove stains before you put them in the washer.
Treat suede gloves with protective suede spray before you wear them. You should clean suede professionally at a specialty dry cleaner.
Spray the outside with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide and let sit for about five minutes to disinfect them.
Wipe off the excess.
Sprinkle baking soda and cornstarch on the inside, close the wrist opening and shake the powder around to absorb smells and oils.
Shake out the excess into the sink.
Cleaning Wool Gloves:
Wool is a natural fiber that, when washed and dried properly, won’t shrink or lose its shape.
Wool can be hand washed or machine washed on a gentle cycle.
Clean Gloves With Thinsulate™ Components or Linings:
Thinsulate™ is a high density, cold-weather insulation fabric that tends to keep in warmth and block out cold air.
It also allows sweat and moisture to escape without compromising the insulation functions.
How To Clean Your Thinsulate™ Gloves:
- Fill the sink with cool water and add a few drops of baby shampoo to generate bubbles and suds.
- Put the gloves in the water and gently knead the gloves for about five minutes in the water, so that the soapy water flows through the fibers.
- If they still appear dirty, continue soaking and washing them for about five more minutes.
- Drain the soapy water and refill the sink with fresh rinse-water. Follow the same process of soaking, kneading and draining the water.
- Don’t twist or wring the gloves. Remove them from the sink after draining the water, place them on a bath towel and roll up the towel to absorb the excess water.
- Then, place the gloves on a sweater drying rack away from direct heat and sunlight.
Clean winter gloves will not only make your hands feel better but will also reduce bacteria growth to keep you healthy.
Along with that, you’ll also extend the life of your gloves for many winter seasons to come.
Want to learn more?
Read our definitive guide to winter gloves: How to Stay Warm Like a Canadian