Why Softball Gloves Stink & How To Get Rid Of It

By Alex Mercer

October 5, 2021

Sometimes softball gloves can stink. Especially ones you’ve used for some time or ones you’ve played with under the rain. It can be disgusting. The worst thing about it is, the smell can sometimes rub off on your palms too. Imagine trying to have a snack immediately after a game and feel the smell on your palms as you try to take a big bite of that sandwich?

It can be disgusting. Ever wondered why that happens?

Softball gloves stink because of the sweat that accumulates on the glove. If not cleaned and stored in a dry, cool place, mold can also grow on the glove. Softball gloves should be cleaned at least once a week with frequent use.

In this article, we’re going to show you why your softball glove stinks and how you can keep it clean.

Why Do Softball Gloves Smell Bad? 

To put it simply, activities that may cause you to sweat, like running, for instance, or during a game, in this case, your body releases sweat to cool you down. While your hand is in an enclosed space, the glove is heated enough that it could sweat as well. Sweat is an excellent way for bacteria to multiply.

This bacteria causes your softball gloves and your hands to smell – similar to your armpit, for example. 

The smell can worsen when your gloves aren’t washed at all or enough.

Because the simplest and frankly the only way to permanently get rid of that smell is to constantly wash your softball glove at least once a week, that way, sweat doesn’t build up over time on the glove and causes the smell to intensify. 

Here’s a guide on how you can properly wash your softball gloves at home with everyday stuff you can find in your home.

For a complete beginner’s guide on softball equipment, check out our article here.

How To Wash Softball Gloves Properly

How to clean a softball glove

Unfortunately, many people do not clean their softball gloves very often, and even when they do, it’s not done correctly.

For example, one may bother to clean just the exterior part of the gloves and forget about the inside of the glove.

Firstly, you’ll want to use the basic detergents, like soap. Nothing fancy. Just a simple soap will do the trick. 

Steps To Clean Your Softball Glove

  • Fill a bowl with warm water and soap
  • Dampen a cloth with soapy water, and thoroughly wring out any excess liquid.
  • Now, you want to gently wipe the outer and inner leather of the glove in a circular motion to be efficient.
  • Also remember to get the cloth into those tight areas, including the inside of your glove’s thumb, finger holes, and also palm area.

If you’re dealing with an old softball glove, there is a different cleaning process that you should handle. If your glove has been sitting in a bag for an extended team (from the previous softball season) or stored in a basement, here is how to treat the glove.

  • A mixture of 1 cup rubbing alcohol and 1 cup of water to remove any mold or mildew that may have settled on the gloves over time 
  • Dip a clean cloth into the diluted alcohol
  • Squeeze the excess moisture from the cloth and use it to wipe the entire glove
  • Clean the glove in a circular motion to make sure the entire surface of the glove is touched on

Once the glove has been cleaned, we recommend using glove oil to help preserve the glove. Glove oil is essentially oil that you rub into the glove that will help preserve the leather.

Our favorite brand of glove oil can be found here on Amazon.

How To Clean A Softball Glove Left In The Rain

If not taken care of properly, a glove left in the rain can also develop some pretty horrible smells. If not treated properly, it can also accumulate mold from all of the moisture.

Here’s how to properly dry off your softball gloves.

  • If the gloves are too wet, try squeezing as much water as you can off of it
  • Atte doing this, you can now place your gloves in an open dry indoor location. Avoid a heat source such as sunlight to dry the glove. This is so that the gloves don’t become hard or stiff after drying for so long under direct sunlight. 
  • If after drying, it’s common for the glove to be kind of hard, you can try applying a glove or fabric softener to your softball gloves.
  • Rub the glove softener into the glove using a clean dry towel and allow it again to dry for another 24 hours. This will soften the leather of your gloves and prevent the leather from hardening
  • You can easily maintain the shape of your gloves by putting the baseball in the pocket, squeezing it shut, and stretching a rubber band around the softball glove to secure the baseball in place. 

Additional Tips When Cleaning Your Glove

Here are some quick tips to guide you during your cleaning process. We recommend you follow these tips to get the most longevity out of your softball glove.

  • Don’t use any hard detergents that may destroy the leather of your gloves. 
  • Do not use bleach or any solvents as they are oxidizing agents hence they can cause discoloration to the leather. 
  • Do not use any form of heat to dry your gloves. That includes a hairdryer. 
  • Excessive heat can harden and crack the leather destroying your gloves 
  • Your gloves need appropriate time to dry properly as they are not being dried directly under sunlight. 
  • You should not submerge your leather gloves in water. Just use the cleaning method above to wipe and the gloves clean.

Cleaning your glove could be the difference between spending $100 for a new glove or being able to use it year after year. Gloves that are broken in are easier to get a feel for the softball. Stiff gloves can often cause errors and other infield/outfield mistakes.

If you’re an avid softball player, we recommend storing your glove in a cool, dry place after games. Don’t just throw it in the bottom of a bag until the next time you use it.


Softball gloves stink because of the sweat that accumulates within the glove during the game. Sweat from your hand causes bacteria to grow in the glove, which gives off an unpleasant smell.

Clean your glove by using the steps mentioned above. This will allow you to extend the lifespan of a glove by a year if taken care of it properly.

If you use these techniques, you’ll be able to get rid of that smell and finally have a snack easily without having to feel nauseated.

About the author

Hey There! My Name is Alex and I run Get Hyped Sports. I created this platform to help people find their love for sports and gaming.

Our work has been featured on platforms like Mashable.com, SVG.com, and XXL.com.

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