Work gloves are an important part of just about anyone’s life. Even if you do not regularly participate in construction projects, you probably have a pair of work gloves at home for situations that might arise. On the other hand, you might also be the type of person who gets involved with DIY project around the house all the time, or who loves to work on home repairs on your own. Then again, you might even be someone who works for a construction company or for a handyman service, and you might wear custom logo work gloves almost every day of your life! Whether you are a frequent user of work gloves or you are someone who just uses them every now and then, it is important to keep in mind a few tips to help keep your gloves as clean as possible for a long time to come.

How to Clean and Take Care of Work Gloves - Cotton - Leather - Winter

Cotton Canvas Gloves

Cotton canvas gloves are popular work gloves for gardening. These gloves are usually made of durable canvas for the fingers, palm, and back, and they often feature a ribbed cotton wrist that helps them fit tightly to your hand and arm. They are often able to stretch slightly to make them work for just about any size of hand, and they are made to keep stray bits of plant from cutting your skin or falling into your gloves while you work out in the garden. These are durable gloves that can last a long time when you know how to keep them clean.

The first and most important step to cleaning your cotton canvas gloves is to make sure you rinse them off after every use. Cotton canvas gloves can hold up to a lot of water exposure, so frequent rinsing will not damage them. If you have been working in the garden, you may have been exposed to chemical plant treatments that could damage your gloves if left to sit on the material over time. Be sure to rinse them off completely before continuing, and be careful to get all the dirt out of the crevices between your fingers.

Next, run your cotton canvas gloves through the washing machine. Wash them on the cold setting so they do not shrink, but do not be afraid to use regular laundry detergent on them. Do not put them in the dryer afterwards, however, or they will surely shrink since they are partially made of cotton. Hang them out to dry or let them dry at room temperature in your laundry room.

Spandex Gloves

Spandex is a thin type of manmade fabric that is great for making stretchable, durable gloves for just about any need. While some types of work gloves may need to be thicker than this, spandex work gloves can be a great solution for jobs that require the use of your fingers for fine work, such as mechanical repairs. These can also be found in touchscreen varieties that make it easy for you to transition from working on fine details to answering phone calls from your customers. These are durable gloves that fit just about any type of hand. Keeping them clean is easy and can help extend their life significantly.

Spandex is not as forgiving as cotton canvas when it comes to cleaning, but that does not mean you cannot clean it at all. Spandex should be hand washed in most instances, especially if you are concerned with keeping the shape and size of your gloves intact. Put a gentle detergent in a small pail of cold water and scrub your spandex gloves thoroughly but gently. Use only your hands and do not use anything harsh on your gloves, especially if they are printed with a silkscreen design. After you have washed them in soap, rinse the soap out with cold tap water.

Wring out the water as best as you can and hang the gloves up to dry. Never run them through the dryer or you will risk shrinking them. Do not stretch your spandex gloves out to dry, but instead just let them hang naturally. After drying, they will easily return to the proper shape as soon as your put your hands in them. Do not dry them on a flat surface or you run the risk of the gloves not ever returning to their proper shape and remaining too flat forever.

Knit Gloves

Knit gloves are some of the most popular types of gloves out there for just about any need. Knit gloves are available for driving, touchscreen using, and winter wear, and they are also available in many different colors and styles to help suit your needs. These gloves are made of fabric that can stretch slightly to accommodate most hand sizes, and they usually include a wrist cuff that helps keep them firmly in place while you are wearing them. They are best used for work that requires the use of your fingers and does not require a lot of extra protection for your hand or arm.

Like spandex, knit must be handled carefully in order to keep it from becoming damaged or shrinking. However, it is a little bit more forgiving overall than spandex, but it will still need to be hand-washed in order to keep it safe and durable for as long as possible. The first step to cleaning your knit gloves is to fill a small pail with lukewarm water and add a little bit of shampoo. Do not use laundry detergent, but stick to shampoo since it is milder. You can even add a few drops of conditioner if you are worried about the softness of your gloves. Wash them gently by hand, making sure to get soap into the fabric as much as possible.

Rinse the gloves out with cool water thoroughly until there are no more soap suds coming from the fabric, and then press them into a flat surface to squeeze out as much water as possible. Do not wring them out, or you may damage the fibers of the fabric and twist them so they cannot go back to normal. Let the gloves dry on a flat surface, preferably in sunlight. You can dry them at room temperature if necessary. 

Leather Gloves

Leather gloves are some of the most popular for heavy-duty work, and they have been widely used for this purpose for decades. Real leather gloves are made from different types of animal skin and are available in only a few different colors. They feature the most durability and the longest lifespan of any type of work glove, but they are not stretchable and may not fit every hand size. They are made for use in extreme temperatures, and they offer a lot of protection to your fingers, palm, hand, and wrist. They are great for construction work around the house or for construction companies, too.

The first step toward cleaning your leather gloves is to remove any visible dirt that might have clumped up on them. Dust them off with a dry, clean toothbrush or another soft bristle brush, such as a fingernail brush. Use your fingers if you do not have a soft brush available, so the leather does not get damaged. Next, rub a little bit of saddle soap into the leather gloves using a paper towel or a clean old rag. Saddle soap should be available anywhere leather gloves are sold. Work it into the gloves for a few minutes, making sure to get the fingers.

Use a dampened cloth to rinse the gloves well until the soap is removed. Do not use too much water or the leather will become damaged. You may need to repeat this cleaning process a few times in order to remove very caked-in dirt. Dry the gloves lying flat at room temperature. Do not dry them at very high temperatures or in direct sunlight. Stretch them by hand periodically while they are drying.

Suede Gloves

Suede is a lot like leather, but it is a faux material that does not come from an animal. Suede gloves, like leather gloves, do not feature a lot of ability to stretch. However, they are just as durable, and in some instances they may even be preferable, especially for outdoor work in cold weather. Suede is a very thick material that can offer tons of protection to your fingers and hand, and these gloves also often come with removable inserts that can help keep your hands even warmer if you happen to be working in very cold temperatures outdoors or in freezers. They are available in more colors than leather gloves, so if you have a specific color scheme in mind, this may be a good glove solution for you. Suede, however, is the hardest glove material to keep clean.

Start cleaning your suede gloves by removing any loose dirt with a towel or with your fingers. Do not use water at this stage, but be sure to get rid of any grime that you might be able to remove by hand. Next, use a rubber pencil eraser to get out smaller stains that might be deeply set in. This can rub the stains right out of the material without having to use anything too harsh on your gloves. From there, you can add a little bit of white vinegar to a cloth and use it to wipe down the rest of the gloves. Do not over-saturate the cloth with vinegar, and use only as little as needed to remove the stains.

Do not use water on your suede gloves. You can use a type of cleaner designed specifically for suede, and you should be able to find this cleaner anywhere suede gloves are sold. Always let your suede gloves dry lying flat.

Dipped Nitrile or Latex, Rubber Dipped Gloves

Last but not least, dipped nitrile or latex gloves offer a unique cleaning situation that you will need to pay close attention to. These gloves are often made of knit or even suede, but they feature special palms and fingers that have been dipped in durable latex or nitrile to offer even more strength and protection. They are great for jobs in which you might be working with fire or with electrical components, but they do not offer a lot of flexibility and they cannot stretch. These gloves may be harder to keep clean than other types of gloves because they are made from two different types of materials, but for some jobs, they really cannot be beat.

The cotton portion of your gloves can be rinsed in cool water and cleaned with a little bit of shampoo, much like you would clean knit gloves. The latex or nitrile portion of your gloves will need to be cleaned a little differently, however. First, rinse off this portion under cool water in your sink to remove any caked-on dirt. From there, apply a little bit of dishwashing detergent to the latex or nitrile and scrub it off under running water.

Let these gloves dry lying flat, but do not squeeze or ring them out. If you need to get rid of excess water, press them out against a flat surface, such as the bottom of your sink. This will prevent them from twisting or stretching out too much during the drying process.


Keeping your work gloves clean can help improve their lifespan and give you a good, solid pair of gloves to work with for years to come. When you keep your gloves nice and clean, you reduce the risk of damage that might happen over time. This means that your gloves’ material will be less likely to be weakened, and you will not have to replace them as often. You can also improve the quality and lifespan of the design on the back of your promotional gloves as well by making sure to keep them clean. Follow the directions listed above depending on the type of glove material you have, and you will be able to enjoy clean, functional gloves for as long as you need.