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How to Clean Football Gloves: Hand Washing, Using a Washing Machine, & More

WriterAcademy Staff
10 min read
How to Clean Football Gloves: Hand Washing, Using a Washing Machine, & More

Have you ever wondered, “Can you wash football gloves?” — if so, this bit of Expert Advice is for you! Whether you’re looking to protect your investment in quality equipment, or you’re trying to stretch the life of your “lucky” pair, washing your football gloves is the best way to keep them working hard for you on the field. While cleaning your football gloves is not a difficult process, there are a few important things to remember that will help extend the life and performance of your gloves for many seasons to come.

How to Wash Football Gloves by Hand

As is the case with an array of football equipment, hand-washing is the best way to achieve a quality clean without damaging your gloves.

  1. To begin the hand-washing process, fill your sink with cold water and a squirt of your favorite mild detergent. (Note: be sure to use cold water, as warm or hot water could cause shrinkage or other damage to your gloves and grip surface).
  2. Then, put on your gloves and submerge your gloved hands in the water, gently scrubbing as you normally would to wash your hands — make sure to get in between your fingers, and pay extra attention to the backs of your hands, as that is where a majority of sweat will often pool.
  3. After you’ve scrubbed for 1-2 minutes, remove your gloves and drain the sink, then thoroughly rinse your gloves in a stream of clean, cold water. Make sure to remove all traces of suds before finishing this step!
  4. Now that the rinsing is complete, it’s time to squeeze the excess water out of your freshly-washed gloves. When squeezing out the water, be careful not to twist or wring the gloves, as this could damage the grips on your gloves’ palms and fingers — simply “balling” each glove up in your palm and squeezing firmly a few times should do the trick.
  5. Once this is complete, you’re done with the hand-washing process. (Note: Keep reading to learn how to properly dry your freshly-washed gloves).

How to Clean Football Gloves in the Washing Machine

While hand-washing is our preferred washing method for football gloves, we understand that life can get hectic sometimes, which is why we’ve included instructions for how to wash football gloves in the washing machine.

  1. To begin this process, toss your gloves (and only your gloves) in the washing machine with a small amount of mild detergent.
  2. Then, make sure to set your washer settings to “cold water only” and “gentle”/”delicate” cycle, press start — and let the machine do the rest!
  3. Once the cycle is complete, you are ready to begin the drying process.

How to Dry Football Gloves

How to Dry Football Gloves

To properly dry your gloves, lay them down flat on a clean surface or hang them with clothespins on a line to air dry. Keep in mind that if you opt to lay them down flat, you will need to flip the gloves over midway through the drying process (after 2-3 hours) to ensure dryness on both sides. However, if you hang the gloves on a clothesline, flipping should not be necessary and your gloves should be fully dry in 4-6 hours.

Although you might be tempted to toss your damp gloves in the dryer, we highly recommend that you resist the urge to do so, as dryers produce far more heat than your gloves can handle. We do not want your gloves to melt, shrink, or incur any other damage, so please be sure to always air dry.

Making Football Gloves Grippy Again

Making Football Gloves Grippy Again

Once your gloves are fully dried, you’re ready to restore their grip surfaces. It may sound overly-simple, but one thing that can significantly decrease your gloves’ gripping ability is the presence of moisture, regardless of whether that moisture is from your most recent washing or game-day sweat (one reason why it’s so important to always let your gloves dry completely between uses!). However, once you’ve ensured your gloves are completely dry, you have a couple of options to restore your gloves’ stickiness.

The first option is to put on your gloves and then rub a fresh baby wipe between your hands — start with your palms, and make sure to also get each of your fingers individually — and then remove your gloves and store them in your bag until it’s time to use them. This method will help to remove any soap residue or dust particles that are limiting your gloves’ gripping ability. And while this is always great to do as soon as your gloves have dried after a wash, you can keep a tightly-sealed pack of baby wipes in your equipment bag to re-grip your gloves before individual practices, or even at halftime on game day.

Another quick way to restore your gloves’ stickiness in a pinch is to place a very small amount of water (or if you’re really in a bind, spit) on your gloves’ palms while wearing them, vigorously rub your palms and fingers together, then wipe off the excess moisture on your jersey or pant legs. While this is not as thorough as the baby wipe method, this is a tried-and-true way to temporarily improve your grip, even between plays.


By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to keep your favorite football gloves in tip-top condition for many seasons to come — and if you’re in the market for a fresh pair, kick off your search for football gloves with our vast selection of winning styles!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. How often should I wash my football gloves?

A. You may be relieved to know that your gloves do not need to be washed after every use. In fact, we recommend that you wash your gloves roughly every 10 days, depending on how often (and how intensely) you use them. However, one tip that will improve your time between washes is to always hang or lay your gloves flat to dry between practices and games — don’t cram them in your locker or stuff them in a pocket in your equipment bag. Your skin (and your nose!) will thank you for letting your gloves properly dry between uses.

Q. How do I keep my football gloves from smelling bad between washes?

A. The best way to keep your gloves from developing an unpleasant odor is to make sure to always let your gloves dry fully between uses — this means setting your gloves outside of your equipment bag to dry after practices and games (not stuffing them in your bag or locker until the next time you need them!). Another trick to keep your gloves feeling dry and smelling fresh is to stuff each glove with a dryer sheet and/or newspaper between each use — these items will help absorb moisture and odor, keeping your gloves feeling (and smelling) fresher for longer. Just remember to remove these items from your gloves before your next use.

Q. Can you put football gloves in the washer?

A. Yes! While we recommend washing your football gloves by hand if possible, you can wash your gloves in the washing machine — just make sure to use cold water, and always turn your cycle setting to “gentle” or “delicate.”

Q. Can you put football gloves in the dryer?

A. Although it may be tempting, we strongly advise against putting your gloves in the dryer. The heat of the dryer can cause shrinkage, melting, or other serious damage to your gloves and their grip surfaces. So, even though it’s a bit more time-consuming, we recommend always letting your gloves air dry.