How to Care for Your Leather Gloves - The Complete Guide

 Caring for your leather gloves shouldn't be hard - if the quality is there in the first place you should have little to do at your end. A good leather glove, like ours, should retain its shape and definition for decades and very easily repay the initial cost. Nevertheless, we have seen first hand how 'well-loved' a pair of gloves can end up. With gloves that last this long, they are bound to need a little TLC... 

But there are so many questions! Can you wash leather gloves? How do you clean the lining of leather gloves? Will leather gloves shrink when they're wet!? Don't panic... we're here to help with all your glove related woes. 

From how to waterproof gloves to how to prevent them stretching - we have put together our complete guide to caring for your leather gloves so that you can continue to enjoy them for as long as possible... you can thank us later... 

How to waterproof leather gloves

Let's start at the very beginning... When your new leather gloves arrive is there anything you can do to waterproof them and protect them from the elements? 

It's worth remembering that leather is a 'skin' so has a natural resistance to the elements. As long as you don't go for a spontaneous dip in the ocean... your gloves should be fine. 

Nevertheless, there are a number of high-street brands making products that will enhance the natural resistance of your leather gloves against the rain. Nikwax is the most famous of these. While these are useful, however, they may compromise the appearance of your gloves -particularly if your gloves are light in colour.


The MOST important thing to remember is that, protection or not, if your gloves do happen to get very wet, NEVER TO DRY THEM WITH EXTERNAL HEAT i.e a radiator, a fire or a tumble dryer. Your gloves should be left to dry in their own time to prevent them from cracking and drying out. Leave them be... they know what they're doing. 

Once your gloves are dry, we would suggest rubbing in some neutral leather creme so keep them soft. Leather cremes are available to buy in most of your local department stores. 

How to clean leather gloves 

Like most things with high quality leather, cleaning or washing your leather gloves should be done with the upmost care and only if absolutely necessary.

The colours are always delicate because the skins are "full blossom" - tanning and dying additives are natural and so fixing the colour is fine but washing with inappropriate chemical additives will damage the gloves. 

However, if your gloves have been lightly marked and you do wish to clean them, the following steps may work...

  • Prepare a lukewarm solution using pure soap flakes - such as 'Lux'. 
  • Gently wipe down your leather glove, using a cloth rather than a sponge that will crumble. 
  • Never wash them in a washing machine or fully submerge them in water. 
  • Allow them to dry naturally & as they are drying put them on the hands of the glove wearer a couple of times to allow the gloves to stretch and to restore to the appropriate fit.

How to prevent stretch with leather gloves

Over the years we've had many people ask, 'how do I prevent my leather gloves from stretching?' and we have a simple answer to this... 'you shouldn't have to'.

Leather is nature's gift to the glove maker. It's natural elasticity and recovery allows the hand to pass through the narrow part of the glove and then for the glove to reform around the hand and wrist. 

It is the glove cutter’s skill in selecting the right piece of leather for each different part of the glove and then preparing the leather so that it retains exactly the right amount of elasticity that makes for a perfect leather glove.

So our advice to you would be - make the investment for in a high quality pair of gloves that will last a lifetime, and make sure to pick the correct size glove for your hand. Do this and you should never have to worry about your gloves stretching out of shape...

How to clean the lining of leather gloves

At Cornelia James, our gloves are lined with either silk, wool or cashmere for extra comfort and warmth. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the leather, they should not be fully submerged in water and therefore it is rather tricky to clean the lining.

We would advise against attempting to clean the lining of your gloves, as you are quite likely to damage them. Should you feel that you need to clean them, we would suggest taking them to a specialist dry cleaners.

High quality leather gloves should last a lifetime. For us, only the best will do. Our leather comes from Pittards, the doyen of gloving leather, and some natural tanneries in Italy, where there is a centuries long tradition of tanning. They truly are, the best of the best. But... don't just take our word for it - why not see for yourself? 

Our Leather Gloves


Hi I spilled hot chocolate on my lovely leather gloves. Any hints on what to do?

JoAnne March 26, 2019

I dropped one of my leather gloves outside last night and it was pouring rain all night long. I found it this afternoon. I’m shocked it still looks decent. I’m currently laying it flat to dry. Any other tips on cleaning it? Or just give up? I’m so attached to these gloves!

Lisa November 28, 2018

This is a very good guide. Today’s gloves are mostly very low quality compared to old ones. As the article describes perfectly, high-quality leather gloves are easily surviving decades. I don’t understand why people invest money on those cheap “trendy” ones when there is so much beauty available?

I treated myself a pair of vintage gloves from the 60s. Despite being now 50+ years, they are gorgeous: Handmade, with a long shaft (27cm), a little ornamental seam at the bottom. They are lined with white wool (and maybe polyacril) but they are in a perfect vintage condition. And articles like this just prove that!

I wish more people would care about leather gloves like back then when it was a status symbol. My 60s gloves are made from such a tender leather, it’s a real joy to wear them, to look at them and to touch them. You can’t find this pleasure not so often today.

Tobias March 16, 2018

I just bought a pair of your cashmere gloves for my 92 year old mother for Christmas. She has been very fond of the queen, and I felt this would make her feel a little closer to her majesty! Thank you for your lovely product and service.

Darcy Stuckey December 31, 2017

Found the best range of handcrafted leather laptop gloves collection here. Thank you!

Teresa December 14, 2017

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