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Cleaning Kid Gloves

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by MissHannah, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. MissHannah

    MissHannah One Too Many

    Any thoughts? I'm not sure if they are actual kid leather but they are very very soft fine leather and lined. They are cream so they get very mucky and they charge me £20 at the dry cleaners!
  2. nightandthecity

    nightandthecity Practically Family

    Are these what are sometimes called "court" or "opera" gloves? Dress gloves in "white" (actually running from pale cream to yellow)...usually made from kidskin doeskin or similar. Usually unlined though.

    If so these are usually washable, and are sometimes even marked as such inside. But not always! It depends on the precise leather. If it is fairly stretchy and soft its probably OK but don't hold me responsible! Hand wash or use wool/gentle cycle with a non Ph liquid like Persil Silk and Wool or Lexol leather cleaner. Drip dry without heat. Maybe wear to finish off when nearly dry.

    Good luck!
  3. My 1912 laundry textbook (source of almost all my knowledge of cleaning vintage stuff) says to use "benzoline" (no idea what that is, they don't explain further). They provide detailed instructions for the actual cleaning which I can post if you need/want. (It involves sticking the handle of a wooden spoon in each of the fingers, among other things!)
  4. nightandthecity

    nightandthecity Practically Family

    I've an idea benzoline it is an old synonym for benzol....

    I would have thought naptha or petrol would have similar properties, these are what people have used in the past for home dry-cleaning.

    But as I said, there's a good chance they can be washed. The main thing to watch for if washing is heat...think of leather as meat, heat cooks it. So you have to use cold or lukewarm water and let dry naturally.

    A lot of these old soft "chamois" style dress gloves are marked as washable, and I have washed a few with good results. On the other hand I washed one pair (which I think were buckskin, thicker and heavier than the usual doe or kid) and they dried right out. And being unfinished and cream coloured you can't treat them with a leather dressing to compensate.

    They tell me life is all about taking chances....
  5. MissHannah

    MissHannah One Too Many

    Thanks for the advice people. I'm a little scared to wash them in case they do dry out or shrink. Would it be worth buying a home dry-cleaning kit? I've never bought one before so I don't know what they include.
  6. If the gloves aren't stained or deeply soiled, here's a safe, simple method that I've come up with for cleaning lightly soiled kid gloves (works on cloth gloves, as well).

    Art stores sell eraser pads for cleaning drawings (I use them for cleaning vintage prints). They're porous cloth bags about 2"x3" that are filled with ground-up artgum eraser. Cut the bag open and dump the ground eraser into a large mixing bowl. Put your gloves on and "wash your hands" in the eraser powder, rubbing the soiled spots well. Brush off the eraser powder and you've got clean gloves. You can save the eraser powder in a jar or baggie and use it over and over.

    If this works for you, you might want to post this method in the Powder Room for the benefit of all the other glove wearers.

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