Leather gloves are important for many different applications, may that be in the factory or even to carry out different daily life tasks. Therefore, you need the right kind of leather gloves that can be comfortable for you depending on your task and its intensity. Similarly, it’s equally important to take care of those gloves as leather is a delicate material, and you can’t just throw it in the water with some detergent and hope for the trick to work. In this blog, we’ll discuss how you can buy and take care of your bought leather gloves.
Buying Leather Gloves
Quality & Type
When you’ve worked in the industry long enough, you probably have some idea about how different high-quality leather is from its cheaper alternatives. But this quality also differs among different leather materials. Following are their details and uses:
- Cowhide: The most popular leather used for gloves, this type of leather makes for durable, abrasion-resistant, and cheap gloves used in factories and in regular activities.
- Pigskin: Offers high amounts of breathability to the wearer, these gloves become softer with use and don’t become stiff after washes, meaning the material can be washed without losing its qualities.
- Deerskin: Provides warmth to the wearer, and is much softer, comfortable, and durable than any other kind of leather glove. They’re perfect for winter.
- Goatskin: The strongest and most durable type of leather, goatskin’s natural lanolin makes it waterproof, abrasion-resistant, and provides it with dexterity.
Grain or Split Leather
Along with the type of leather, you also need to pay attention to which body part and skin side of the animal is being processed to manufacture the gloves.
Full or top grain leather is extracted from the external side of animal hide, it’s smooth and can be light-sanded, or it can be processed to feel like velvet or suede. Durability is determined by the area where the hide is cut, i.e. leather cut from the sides of the animal offers the greatest durability, while belly and neck cuts are much less durable and used to manufacture economic grade gloves, etc.
Split leather, on the other hand, comes from the hide’s underside. It has no natural grain and isn’t as strong as grain leather. The area cut to manufacture a glove determines dexterity and durability.
- Side split leather, extracted from the rib area, is considered the best in quality with dense fibers and durability in usage.
- Shoulder split leather is a lot more economical but less durable, with visible differences in texture than side split leather.
- Belly split leather is the cheapest option, but it’s also the least durable, with an inconsistent texture and appearance.
Hence, if you’re going for longevity, grain leather gloves are the best option. But if you need leather gloves for temporary tasks that don’t entail harm, split leather is the best option at economical rates.
When it comes to choosing gloves, it’s important to consider your thumb’s comfort too, as a slight change in thumb mobility means you can either do or don’t do your tasks efficiently.
- Straight Thumbs: They’re meant for non-rigorous work and allow the least amount of thumb mobility.
- Keystone Thumbs: These gloves are manufactured with superior tasks and comfort in mind. They’re the most expensive option and mostly used in tasks where greater thumb movement is required e.g. wiring works, pipe works, etc.
- Winged Thumbs: Allow greater flexibility and efficiency, and can be used for a long period of time. Usually meant for push/pull applications.
The cuff style is important as it can help prevent abrasion, provide warmth, and add up to the overall safety of your hands depending on the tasks you’re performing.
- Knit: Designed to prevent particles from falling into the gloves and to protect the wrist.
- Slip-on: The cheapest option, slip-on is easy to put on and off without any cuffs.
- Safety: They have a wrist covering with a slit at the side to allow easy take-off for the wearer.
- Gauntlet: They have more or less the same features as the safety cuff, but are longer, extending to protect the forearm, allowing the wearer’s sleeves to be tucked inside the glove.
The biggest advantage of added lining is warmth, but they’re also good for the long-term use of a glove.
- Cotton and jersey linings help prevent chaffing.
- Thermal lining gloves are best for working in low temperatures.
- Wool and pile are warmer than cotton and jersey, and much more durable.
How to Clean Leather Gloves
Now that you know a little about the different types and kinds of leather gloves and how you can choose the best ones for your applications, it’s time we talk about how you should take care of the leather gloves you buy. This goes beyond just washing these gloves. In this section, we’ll look into how you can waterproof your gloves, dry them when they’re wet, and how you can overall maintain their quality.
Waterproofing your Leather Gloves
You should always remember that leather is essentially skin, hence it resists elements naturally. Meaning, they’ll be fine, unless you leave them out in the water. Even so, there are a number of wax products available that can retain your gloves’ capabilities, keeping them safe from sudden exposure e.g. during rain, etc. But this might compromise your gloves’ appearance.
Moreover, it’s important to not use any form of external heat if your gloves do end up getting wet. Let them dry out naturally and when they’re done, use leather crème to soften their texture.
Cleaning Your Leather Gloves
When it comes to cleaning your leather gloves, it’s always recommended to take the utmost care and caution to not ruin the quality of your gloves or compromise their properties. Using tanning or dying additives is okay since they’re natural and can fix the color of your leather gloves, but using chemical additives can be damaging to the glove, and that should be avoided at all costs.
If you wish to clean your gloves, you should take the following steps.
- Prepare a lukewarm solution using soap flakes.
- Wipe the leather gloves using a cloth. Remember that you should be using a cloth and not a sponge that would crumble.
- Don’t put your gloves in a tub of water or wash them in a machine.
- Allow them to dry out naturally and put them on the hands of the wearer to let them stretch and restore to the previous fit. Never use heaters, etc. to dry your leather gloves.
For gloves with lining, it’s recommended not to clean them up as their quality will be compromised. But if you want to get them cleaned up, it’s better to visit a high-quality dry cleaner to do it for you.
In the end, how long your leather gloves last depends upon their quality and how much you maintained them during the time you’ve had them. Remember, every type of leather glove provides different properties and at different rates according to their quality. Therefore, you need to choose the gloves that work best for your utility and not just go ahead and buy them for the sake of their price range, whether high or low. If you need information on this topic, you can visit Elite-Leather for more.
Sibtain Haider, a content contributor at Mainstream Pakistan, associated with trading and digital marketing. Presently working at Digital Eggheads, a well-reputed digital marketing agency in Pakistan.