How to Wash Gardening Gloves in 7 Easy Ways

Using gloves in the garden offers a range of benefits. They can help keep your hands and fingernails clean from soil, bugs and other nasties. They can also keep them dry, which helps reduce any unwanted skin conditions, including fungal infections.

That’s why it becomes essential to learn how to wash gardening gloves quickly.

These gloves offer protection against blisters, calluses, cuts, scrapes and any infections that can arise from them. Not to mention being a protective barrier against insect bites and/or stings.

Additionally, there are also the chemicals involved in the garden, such as herbicides, pesticides and fungicides that can cause potential harm if your hands aren’t guarded!

Your gardening gloves are the barrier between you and these possible conditions, so it’s super important to keep them clean and maintained. Washing them is probably the most critical form of maintenance that you can perform.

In this article, we will learn how to wash gardening gloves properly while going through some tips, tricks, and hacks that will make the job easier and more effective.

how to wash gardening gloves
How to wash gardening gloves?

Which Kind of Material Gardening Gloves are Made of?

When choosing a glove for yourself, you may just opt for something that fits. Is that the best tactic to use, though? Did you know that gardening gloves can be made from many different types of materials?

Some pairs are ok for general use, and others offer better protection when using them with certain species of plants and types of products. Let’s look at some of the most common types and their uses.


Cloth Gloves
Cloth Gloves

Cloth gloves are the most common gardening gloves. They are usually made out of cotton or something similar, making them cooler and more breathable to wear.

The use of cotton also makes them quite inexpensive, but a drawback is that their protection rating isn’t as high as some of the more durable options.

They generally aren’t waterproof either. Cleaning them is a breeze, though. Some are machine washable (others can shrink and bleed), or if they aren’t too dirty, they can often be rinsed off with great success. Their main benefit is to keep your hands clean.


Leather Gloves
Leather Gloves

Leather gloves are the next step up from the cloth variety. Their price range is usually a fair bit higher in comparison, and you are paying for their added ability to be waterproof.

They usually also do a much better job protecting your hands against cuts and scrapes from rose thorns, branches and gardening tools.


Rubber Coated Gloves
Rubber Coated Gloves

Rubber coated gloves are another step up again. They protect from everything the other two materials help against, only this time; they are also effective against certain gardening chemicals.

We’re talking about herbicides, fungicides and various pesticides. Rubber does have its downsides, though.

They do such a good job protecting with their dense coating that the tradeoff is their inability to breathe, which can leave your hands hot and sweaty after excessive use. They should also be avoided if you have allergies to latex.


Neoprene Gloves
Neoprene Gloves

Neoprene gloves are some of the most protective types of gloves you can buy, and they are also the most expensive.

They are generally made from synthetic rubber material, and they offer great breathability and flexibility. Neoprene helps protect against chemicals as well as cuts, grazes and scrapes.

Their only downfall is that they can be pierced if something like a rose thorn enters straight on in. They are usually pretty snug fitting also with their almost wetsuit-like material. 

Types of gardening gloves and their uses

So what are the most common uses for these types of gardening gloves?

Types of gardening gloves and their uses
Types of gardening gloves and their uses

Cloth Gloves

Cloth gloves are a good choice for general use. Things such as weeding, mowing the lawns, trimming hedges, etc.

Leather Gloves

Leather gloves are more suited to pruning, cutting back bushes, maintaining trees, and cleaning rubbish in the yard. They are also a great option when using water and sprinklers as they are usually waterproof or don’t soak through.

Rubber Coated Gloves

Rubber coated gloves are my go-to gloves, and I have always used them in the garden and within my scope of work. They are heavy-duty, and you can handle almost anything with the confidence of keeping your hands safe. They are a great option for weed spraying, rubbish removal, pruning and dealing with garden DIY.

Neoprene Gloves

Neoprene gloves are your best option when handling chemicals, fats and oils, and they are usually pretty hard-wearing, so they also fare well with general use. One thing that should be avoided using neoprene is dealing with sharp objects that can easily pierce the material.

How to wash Gardening gloves?

Knowing how to wash gardening gloves is essential to help ensure that they stay in their best possible condition. The better condition they are in, the more protection your hands can have.

The washing method will vary depending on the type of glove that needs to be washed. Let’s look at how to wash some different types of gloves.  

How to Wash Cotton Gloves?

How to Wash Cotton Gloves?
How to Wash Cotton Gloves?
  1. Rinse away any loose soil or plant matter – Either use a garden hose or a bucket filled with water if outside. Alternatively, run them under water in your laundry sink so they are ‘base clean.’
  2. Select the correct washer settings – It’s easy to just throw them in on whatever setting, but that can cause issues with cotton. Use a regular cold water cycle with a mild laundry detergent. (Cotton, polyester or wool)
  3. Pretreat Stains – It’s possible to use a stain removing agent, but it all depends on the severity of the stain. They are battle scars, so it isn’t necessary to go through this process. If the stains are unsightly, follow the stain remover instructions for best results. 
  4. Wash the Gloves – Hit starts on the washing machine and goes do something else for the time it takes to wash.
  5. Alternate (Hand Wash) – If you don’t have a washing machine or don’t know how to use one, you can always hand wash your gloves. Simply soak them in a sink or bucket with mild detergent and cold water. Rub them against each other until all matter is cleaned away.
  6. Hang to Air-Dry – Any type of glove is best to hang dry. Unless you have the luxury of a drying cabinet. Drier machines are just too harsh on gloves. They can melt the rubber off certain types. Hang them on a clothesline or somewhere where they can either get a nice breeze or at least inside away from any damping rain. 

How to Wash Leather Gloves?

Leather gloves require a bit of care as they contain protective natural oils that can make the gloves stiff and uncomfortable once removed. It can also greatly prematurely shorten their lifespan.

Leather gloves stain in general, so it’s not easy to keep a pristine look about them. The cleaning process is short and sweet, but a protective coating should be added once clean.

How to Wash Leather Gloves?
How to Wash Leather Gloves?
  1. Wash the leather gloves – In cold water using a mild soap such as Marseille or saddle soap. Be careful to not wring them out as this can cause misshaping. 
  2. Apply for Leather Protection – Use a waterproofing oil or wax specifically made for leather goods. Lather on and rub in until any thick traces have disappeared and spread around. 
  3. Air Dry – Hang the gloves on the washing line to dry or lay them flat on a clothes hoist. They should be dried thoroughly before use. 

Can you throw leather gloves in the washing machine?

Leather gloves can be cleaned in a washing machine, although not recommended. They can shrink and lose their longevity. If you choose to do it, keep in mind that they can change in looks, shape, and color.

When washing leather gloves in a washing machine, it’s important to wash them in a delicate garment bag with some leather cleaner. They should always be washed using cold water on a delicate cycle. Make sure you follow specific instructions if you opt to use a machine. 

How to Wash Rubber Garden gloves?

Rubber gardening gloves are a little easier to wash than the other types. They often have a protective coating which stops any mud and other liquids from completely sticking. They retained almost full functionality when hand washed. It is not recommended to wash them via machine, but we will get to that in the next section. 

How to Wash Rubber Garden gloves?
How to Wash Rubber Garden gloves?
  1. Before removing the gloves, give them a rinse with mild soap and some cold water. Aim to clear away any larger chunks of whatever you have been using them on.
  2. Soak Washing – The outside of the gloves should now be pretty clean. Next, turn them inside out so that you can help remove any odors and sweat. Soak the gloves again using mild soap and cold water.
  3. Air Dry – Keep the gloves inside and hang them up to dry. Either in the sun or a dry area. Check them after a few hours. If the insides are dry, turn them inside out again (the right way) and let them dry for as long as it takes to be completely dry. 
  4. Treat Coat – Give the gloves a good wipe with a cloth using rubbing alcohol or disinfectant. This will ensure that they are completely free of any nasties and ready to go for the next use.

Can you wash rubber gloves in the washing machine?

It’s not ideal for washing rubber gardening gloves in a washing machine as it will degrade the rubber. If you are desperate for time, you can use a machine, but you must use a mild detergent and wash them using temperatures of ​​85°F/30°C and below. Use a delicate cycle and garment bag if you have one.

How to Wash Latex coated gloves?

Latex coated gloves should be washed a bit differently from the ones previously mentioned. They are more your dishwashing type gloves which you would mainly use for non-labour-intensive types of work. To clean them up, simply:

How to Wash Latex coated gloves?
How to Wash Latex coated gloves?
  1. Keep them on whilst running them under water (preferably hot water) and rub them together to remove any excess gardening matter.
  2. Use some mild laundry detergent or dishwashing soap and rub your hands together as if you were cleaning your hands without gloves.
  3. Lay them out flat to dry and avoid wringing them as this will alter their shape, decrease flexibility and reduce their overall skill.
  4. Alternatively, you can throw them in the washing machine in a garment bag on a cold delicate cycle. The issue with this is that it can degrade the coating, so it’s not ideal. It’s pretty painless to hand wash them, so I’d stick to that method!

How do you wash nitrile and suede garden gloves?

Nitrile gloves

Nitrile gloves should be washed using the same method as latex coated gardening gloves. Remember that you should avoid using any kind of bleach or solvents because these types of oxidizing agents can cause deformities, including discoloration. So again:

  1. Keep them on and run them under hot water. Rub them together to remove excess dirt.
  2. Use mild laundry detergent or dishwashing soap. Rub it in and give them a good scrub
  3. Lay them out flat to dry. This will reduce any shrinkage. 
How do you wash nitrile and suede garden gloves?
How do you wash nitrile and suede garden gloves?

Suede gloves

Suede gloves, on the other hand, are a little more delicate and should NEVER be fully submerged in water or washed in a machine. Both of these methods will ruin them completely. Instead, do this:

  1. Take a dry cloth and soak it in water.
  2. Use a mild soap such as saddle soap or any good quality baby soap. Gently build up a light lather and massage into the gloves. 
  3. Wipe away any dirt or garden matter. Don’t forget to get into the creases.
  4. Once clean, wring out the cloth and running it under water to remove the soap. 
  5. Wipe away the lather using the same cloth (which should now be clean)

How do you clean smelly garden gloves?

Cotton gloves are the only type that won’t hold too much stench as they are breathable. Most of the other types of gloves that hold an odor can be treated using the following process. 

  1. Mix up a distilled vinegar/water solution using a 1 to 1 ratio. (1 cup to 1 cup, for example)
  2. Gently rub in the solution both inside and outside of the gloves.
  3. Using some inkless newspaper, dab it everywhere that you have cleaned to assist in absorbing the odor. That’s it!
  4. Leave them to completely dry. Turn them inside out first, then back to normal to air dry.

You can purchase commercial grade odor removers and certain types of leather cleaners that more so help mask the odor. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which is the best method of sterilization of rubber gloves?

The absolute best way is by using an autoclave, but not everyone owns one or has access to one. Furthermore, that method is only suited to specific types of rubber gloves, and it uses high-pressure steam to kill off any nasties. So the next best thing you can do is use an ammonia-based solution.
Add 1 gallon (3.8 L) of warm water, 1⁄8 cup (30 ml) of liquid dish soap, and 1 cup (240 ml) of ammonia to a larger container or bucket and mix well. Use a coarse sponge or medium bristle hand brush to work in the solution. Let it sit for 10 mins, then air dry.

Are rubber gloves reusable?

Depending on the type, rubber gloves are re-usable. It’s generally the latex first-aid type of gloves only designed for single use. You can re-use them by following this article’s handy cleaning guide!

How do you sterilize gloves at home?

Glove sterilization in the home requires a solution that can be created using some simple household products. One that works for almost all types of gloves except leather or suede is as follows:

☑️Add 1 gallon (3.8 L) of warm water, 1⁄8 cup (30 ml) of liquid dish soap, and 1 cup (240 ml) of ammonia together in a bucket and mix well. 
☑️Use a coarse sponge to work in the solution.
☑️Allow 10 or so minutes for the solution to sit, then air dry.

How often should gardening gloves be washed?

The amount of time your gardening gloves should be washed is directly related to how dirty they may become. It’s ideal to clean them once a month if you are using them often. The winter months may see some extra mud and grime, so they may need more frequent treatment. Every 2 weeks is an ideal time frame. Remember, your gloves are your hands’ only protection, so it’s imperative to keep them well maintained and in good condition.


There are many different gloves for a wide range of gardening processes. You can go cheap and nasty, which will only allow you to perform basic tasks. In contrast, you can go up in price range and expect more protection against cuts and scrapes.

Then some protect you from chemical-based products. Keeping them in top condition is imperative to ensure the best health of your hands. After all, your hands are what you need most to continue gardening in the future. Knowing how to wash gardening gloves doesn’t have to be a daunting task once you are used to it.

Hopefully, this article has helped you learn the best cleaning practices for the most commonly used gardening gloves these days. Thanks for reading, and happy gardening!

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