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How to Break in Leather Work Gloves FAST: 7 Ways to Try

Writen by Joshua Clark

Fact checked by Daniel Rocha

how to break in leather work gloves

While a brand-new pair of leather work gloves are exciting, they can be difficult to use. The thick and stiff material will make it challenging to bend your fingers to work or grip something. One solution is to break them in quickly so that you can put them to use right away.

Here are seven different ways on how to break in leather work gloves fast.

  • Dampen the leather gloves
  • Use leather oil
  • Apply leather conditioner
  • Physically massage the gloves
  • Use mink oil
  • Use rubbing alcohol
  • Apply silicone spray sealants

What You Will Need


  • Cold water
  • Leather oil
  • Leather conditioner
  • Mink oil
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Silicone spray sealants

The Fastest Ways to Break in Leather Gloves


1. Dampen The Leather Gloves

One way to break in your leather work gloves is to increase the moisture level on their surface. This makes the leather softer and more flexible. You can hydrate it with some clean water. Dampen the gloves by pouring a few drops and then letting the leather absorb them.

  • Stuff the gloves with newspapers until it is full and stretched. As the leather absorbs the water, the gloves will follow the stretched shape so that it will become looser fitting.
  • After dampening all areas, let the gloves dry naturally, away from direct heat. Applying direct heat may cause the leather to degrade and crack. As such, keep the gloves in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Leave the gloves for an entire day to allow them to dry fully.

Pro tip: Another tip is to use clean and hot water. The water temperature must be 150 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmth will help loosen the material faster since heat causes molecules to expand.

Make sure not to overdo it since you do not want to risk ruining the leather.

2. Use Leather Oil

Leather oil is a natural or synthetic substance designed to moisturize and condition genuine leather. The oil is composed of waxes, fats, and other conditioning agents. It also makes the surface waterproof so that your leather gloves will become water-resistant.

Apply leather oil by pouring a few drops in a brush and then lather it on every surface of the gloves. The oil will penetrate the gloves’ surface to turn them into softer material.

Take note that leather oil may cause your leather to darken. It also tends to leave a smell that eventually fades once the gloves are sufficiently aired out.

Pro tip: Repeat this process every three to six months.

3. Apply Leather Conditioner

Leather conditioner is a lotion-like product that revitalizes leather to improve moisturization and flexibility. As such, the product softens the leather and is great for preventing cracks or any other signs of degradation.

  • Apply leather conditioner by placing a small amount on a lint cloth and then gently rubbing it into the leather using circular motions.
  • Pat dry the excess with a soft fabric and then set aside to air dry for a few hours.

Pro tip: You may also use homemade leather conditioners—mix one tablespoon of soap, two cups of warm water, and two drops of vinegar. Apply using a soft cloth.

4. Physically Massage The Gloves

Another trick is to massage the leather yourself using your fingers. The physical manipulation will soften the material and make it easier to bend.

This is best performed after you have primed your leather gloves with a leather conditioner or water. Just massage the leather starting from the fingertips to the palm areas.

Pro tip: Once is enough as too much massaging can cause the leather to crack and break, especially if you are going in too hard with the massage.

5. Use Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol may also be used to soften the leather gloves. Spray a fine layer on the gloves and then rub it with a soft cloth. Do so quickly before the alcohol evaporates.

Pro tip: You can do this process every six months.

6. Use Mink Oil

Mink oil has been applied to leather for centuries. The oil is organically derived from mink and its composition is up to 70% unsaturated fatty acid. This type of fatty acid can soften the leather and give its fibers flexibility.

  • Take a small amount of mink oil by scooping it with your finger. Spread it on the leather work gloves until all areas are covered.
  • Soak up the excess with an absorbent cloth.

Take note that this may darken your gloves.

7. Apply Silicone Spray Sealants

Silicone spray sealants are waterproof. These act as lubricants that break in your leather gloves. Simply spray a fine layer over your gloves. This will cause the leather to loosen up and stretch.

This may also cause your gloves to darken in shade.

Proper Leather Work Gloves Maintenance Tips

As you put your leather work gloves to use, you may expect them to get dirty or appear worn out. Genuine leather work gloves tend to be expensive, so it is in your best interest to maintain them to ensure that they last for a long time. Here are some maintenance tips to follow.

Dry the Gloves Naturally

The leather gloves may become wet due to moisture, whether water or sweat from your hands. Make sure to dry them to prevent the onset of molds or odor-causing bacteria.

It is important to dry them naturally since excessive heat may cause the leather material to break down and crack. Simply place the gloves in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or heat. As tempting as it may get, do not use a blow-dryer.

Always Keep Your Gloves Clean

Dirt, dust, and other particles can layer on your gloves and leave permanent stains. Make sure to thoroughly clean your leather gloves two to three times per year. If you have a pair of white gloves, you need to use some other special methods to avoid damaging your gloves. Lucky for you, here are tips and tricks to clean your white leather gloves properly.

Use cold water and some saddle soap. Gently brush the surface with a toothbrush and some soap, and then rinse the suds with cold water. Air-dry the gloves and gently massage them to prevent them from becoming stiff.

Apply Leather Conditioner

Leather conditioner is an essential part of glove maintenance. The lotion-like mixture keeps the leather hydrated to prevent cracks and damages. Apply leather conditioner every three to six months to reinforce the fibers and to keep them flexible.

Regularly Use Your Gloves

Keeping your gloves in storage for long periods may lead to stiffening, cracks, and other types of damage. Regular use keeps the fibers flexible and stretchable. This also allows the leather to “breathe.”


Did you enjoy reading our article on how to break in leather work gloves? Let us know if you did by sharing this blog or commenting on additional tips that might help others.

Breaking in your leather work gloves is essential to ensure that you will feel comfortable while using them. The flexibility helps improve your finger movement and grip so that you may perform a job well done.

The aforementioned tips are just some of the examples of the fastest way to break in a glove. The methods are tried and tested, so you will have a pair of broken-in leather gloves in no time.

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