Modern baseball gloves consist of two types: catcher's and first baseman mitts, which lack fingers, and infielder and outfielder gloves, which have separate fingers held loosely together by webbing. All of these gloves are made of leather, a porous, natural material that can become soft and too pliable over time. A properly broken in glove should roll across the ground like a turtle shell; a glove that is too broken in will collapse and lie flat. A soft glove won't hold a tight pocket for infielders or enable outfielders to confidently catch the ball without hurting their hands.
Items you will need
- Water in a spray bottle
- Leather moisturizer
- Leather shoe cleaner
- Hair dryer
- Microfiber towel
Clean any large clumps of dirt or grime off your glove with a dry microfiber towel or by rubbing them off with your fingers. Be careful not to scratch the leather with your fingernails.
Clean your glove thoroughly with the leather shoe cleaner before attempting to harden it. Leather will absorb any materials, such as grime and grease, that remain on the glove when you harden it.
Rub leather shoe cleaner into your glove in a circular motion with the microfiber towel. Spray it with water and continue rubbing it until a foam appears. Let this foam sit for five to ten minutes and then wipe it away with a clean, dry towel.
Spray water on the glove. Water causes the pores of the leather to dry out, which hardens the leather. Let the water sit on the glove for a few hours.
Blow dry the glove with a hair dryer on low heat to further dry out the leather. Let the glove sit overnight and then test the glove's hardness the next day by playing catch. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 if the glove does not feel stiffer and the ball still hurts to catch; otherwise, proceed to the next step.
Squirt some leather moisturizer on a clean, dry microfiber towel and gently rub it into the entire surface of your glove. Now that you have toughened the glove up a bit, the moisturizer will help preserve the leather.
Tips & Warnings
- Always store your glove in a cool, dry place; extreme temperatures and excess moisture will damage the leather.
- Don't heat your glove in the oven or a microwave, as this will permanently damage the leather. Avoid spraying your glove with linseed oil or silicone-based products; while these chemicals will toughen up the glove, they will close up the pores of the leather.
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