Recently read that mineral oil can be used as a glove conditioner. Is this OK?
Recently read that mineral oil can be used as a glove conditioner. Is this OK?
I posted this a couple years ago:
From having nearly grown up in a leather factory and having a father with more than forty years of experience with kid and pig to bison and water buffalo hides along with llama and other exotic hides, the product is very simple and what is used in the processing of leather.
Go to your local hardware store and pick up a can/bottle of Neat's Foot Oil. Using a soft cloth the size of a kitchen towel and working with a new glove, give the entire glove a generous coating of the oil. Using the same cloth, take twenty minutes rubbing the oil into the leather. Do this to the entire glove including the webbing and the inside palm area. You can take the used cloth and do up into the fingers, but do not apply the oil directly as you do to the easily-accessible parts of the glove. If it is leather, oil it. This oil will not gel and clog the pores of the leather.
When satisfied the entire glove is coated, using a clean, soft cloth, wipe all excess oil off the glove. Some people will put a ball inside the glove, I just roll the glove folding the thumb into the web and pocket and pull over the finger. I then wrap in the used cloth and place inside a brown paper lunch bag and store in a cool area. DO NOT PUT THE GLOVE IN A PLASTIC BAG AS THAT WILL "BAKE" THE GLOVE which is never a good thing.
In 3-5 days, the glove should be ready for use. Always take care of the glove. If used in the rain or it gets wet, dry it off using a towel including the inside of the glove wear you may sweat. Always clean the glove off, removing any dirt/mud or anything else foreign to the leather. Always keep the glove in a relatively cool environment.
Throughout the season, you may want to occasionally give the glove a light wipedown with the oil. At the end of the season, give the glove a moderate oiling and store as noted above.
Remember, you just aren't "breaking in" a glove, but providing long-term maintenance for use. Yes, it is a little bit of extra work, but a good glove is worth it. I'm over 55, but am only on my fourth glove since the age of 8 and the most recent has at least another 20 years in it.
I agree with most of what you suggest for breaking in a new glove. Good post.
I would suggest that you use the glove conditioner that the glove manufacturer suggests.
Most new gloves today are already "oiled" or conditioned to some degree from the shop, be it a factory glove
or a totally custom glove.
As for oiling the whole glove, that is a good idea for the most part. Except you probably want to keep the fingers and thumb stiff. Use a smaller amount there.
This is a personal preference. Some players like the glove floppy and others like it stiff.
Definitely take care of the glove. Wipe the dirt off after games using a clean cloth. It can be a little damp if needed but not wet.
Wipe it dry if you play in the rain and then let it air dry out of direct sunlight - not the back window of the car.
Recondition - lightly- a couple times during the season depending how many games you play.
Clean and lightly condition after the season and store in a cool place in your room.
Here is a link to a good article on this also.
How to Break in a Fastpitch Softball Glove the Right Way
I believe hands down the best glove conditioner is petroleum jelly, ie vaseline. This is just a higher molecular wt mineral oil.
This is what Nokona recommends, and does to their gloves. At one point they found a crate of old gloves that were like 50-70 yrs old, the Nokona ones that had been treated with petroleum jelly were in remarkably good condition while others were falling apart.
The problem with thin oils is that they are too easy to over-apply, and they will soak right thru the leather, make a glove heavy and make the padding soggy too and cause it to lose function.
You would be surprised how fast vaseline soaks into leather too, you can put a whole jar into a glove and make it heavy too if you arent careful, that is why you use any oil very very very sparingly. Any oill doesnt leave the glove, it just soaks into the leather every time you reapply until the leather is saturated and heavy, so use sparingly.
Being thicker, vaseline soaks in slower, stays closer to surface, and is much easier to limit application
Rub down the whole glove, laces, inside of finger stalls, inside palm , trim etc. (not if fabric lining though, only for leather linings) leather palms and linings will not crack and dry out in gloves treated this way. Let sit for a day or so and it will be dry-like.
Only needs to be done moderately once when new, then maybe once per season. Wipe dirt off after season with damp rag and very lightly reapply .
Oil is to prevent the leather from deteriorating from sweat and dirt.
the only way to break it in is to play catch and let it form to your hand with time, just like your shoes do to your feet. Most pros have several gloves and are at various stages of break-in. They wont play with one until it ready. some claim they can tell if someone else even put their hand into their glove.
Last edited by mudbug; 03-11-2010 at 08:23 PM.
Petroleum jelly will fill and clog the pores of the hide. Not a good thing and would never consider it
Any oil can be overapplied, thin or otherwise. Neat's Foot is what is, or at least was, used by the professionals when leather was processed in this country. Used to take mine out of 55 gallon drums from the factory. In 1965, Chris Short (Philadelphia Phillies) autographed my glove. Since then, I have had two gloves. The second is a Rawlings that I've had for more than 20 years and in condition to last another 20 years.
To each their own, but I'll stick with my method which I think has been pretty successful.
I used to use vegetable oil, shaving cream, vaseline, etc. until someone at the sporting goods store told me to buy Nokona glove conditioner (comes in a white tube for $4 and will last several seasons) and it works great. I used to condition my DDs glove every week but now that its well broken in, maybe once a month or so. Once conditioned, I always place a softball inside the glove and wrap it with a thick rubber band. She will outgrow the glove well before the glove wears out.
Lanolin, lanolin, lanolin! I use the Nokona brand in a squeeze tube. It tends to soak in and disappear overnight yet keeps the leather really soft. When I break in a glove, I like to play catch with it (catching from a pitching machine can get you lots of hard throws) then squeeze the lanolin-based cream on my hands, rub together to disperse and then rub all over the glove to get a good coating on the leather. Place two balls (softballs) in the glove to create a pocket, wrap lightly and leave overnight. I repeat this several nights until I start to get what I want. Then periodically. Works great. I am not a leather expert but did a lot of inet research before I lathered up an expensive glove. Certainly not the only way to do it.
CARE AND TREATMENT FOR YOUR BASEBALL GLOVE
Now that summer is over many of you will be putting away your baseball & softball gloves until "spring training" next spring. Here is some advice on how to keep that glove in top shape and ready for next season Many types of treatments and care have been suggested over the years for baseball and softball gloves.
Some of these are safe and some, unfortunately, may damage glove leather. We recommended that one of the best and safest leather cleaners and conditioners is untreated petroleum jelly. Professional glove repairmen and leather specialists agree that this is one of the best applications, both for cleaning and conditioning glove leather.
During the break-in period, treat your new glove with a light application, working it into the leather. This will reduce the stiffness of the new leather and facilitate a faster and more comfortable breaking in procedure. Also, at the end of the season, take a generous amount of petroleum jelly and thoroughly cover the outside and inside of the glove.
Don't ignore the laces or hard to-get-to areas, both inside and outside the glove. Then take a clean rag and wipe off excess to remove grit and grime. This will also remove and help neutralize much of the salt and acid buildup inside the glove caused by perspiration, a chief problem to the leather lining, usually made of softer leather. We do not recommend neatsfoot oil, linseed oil or silicon-type spray as these tend to close the pores of the leather, causing it to dry, harden, and become heavy over an extended period of time and through repeated use. Petroleum jelly keeps the pores open and in effect, keeps the leather "alive" while also providing a softening condition.
Basically remember that leather is skin and leather experts tell us not to treat glove leather any differently than you would your own skin. Prolonged harsh temperatures, excessive water soaking (especially use of hot water), abrasives, the salt and acids produced from perspiration and excessive dryness all or individually can be harmful to the glove leather.
Also, continued exposure to sunlight may result in fading of the leather color. Be careful about sealing gloves in plastic bags for over 12 months. We hope this gives all you players a good idea on how to care for your glove until the next time you hear those words so near and dear to our hearts - PLAY BALL!!
(Special acknowledgement to the folks at Nokona for this valuable infofmation)
Vinci, among others also recommends petroleum jelly.
Nokona is especially known for the high quality of leather they use in their gloves. Actually, its really too soft after break in , but thats another issue, that and the fact they dont put a stint in the thumb at the factory, but will add it for only $75 + shipping costs.
About Your New Valle Baseball Glove
GLOVE CARE & MAINTENANCE Proper maintenance of a Valle glove include both things that you should and should not do. The biggest enemies to quality leather baseball gloves are water, oil, and heat. Too much exposure to these elements will shorten the life of your glove. NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, PLACE YOUR GLOVE IN A MICROWAVE OVEN! This will damage the glove and void the warrenty. BREAKING IN YOUR GLOVE The best advice for breaking in your glove is not to look for shortcuts. Play catch and use your glove as often as you can. This will allow the natural oils in the leather to soften it, and let you form and shape the glove the way you like it. A glove that is used often will periodically need cleaning to remove dirt and also pull out any sweat inside the glove that could shorten the life of the leather. We recommend the use of petroleum jelly in this case. Put a thin coat and rub into the leather with your fingers both inside and outside the glove, including the lacing. Remove with clean cloth.
Last edited by mudbug; 03-17-2010 at 10:20 PM.