Vasoline? Lanoline? who is right?

Please share your knowledge on how to keep your vintage gloves in great shape and looking sharp.

Vasoline? Lanoline? who is right?

Postby dwknowles » August 29th, 2006, 10:42 pm

I have been getting conflicting reports from collectors/dealers/books

Many, Many, Many people have told me to clean and rub down my glove with Vasoline, however I am also hearing that is the worst thing to do, and to use lanoline or a leather conditioner


So what do you guys think?
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Postby crackofthebat » August 30th, 2006, 6:12 am

I vote for the lanolin (hydrous). I use other products to clean, but for restoring leather you can't beat lanolin. I worked with another teacher who had played minor league ball for the Pirates. He said that lanolin was what the players use to put on their gloves to break them in and to preserve the leather.
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Postby BretMan » August 30th, 2006, 9:58 am

There's no question on lanolin. My own experience, along with everything everything I've been able to read about it, has shown me that lanolin is an excellent leather conditioner.

Petroleum jelly isn't so clear cut.

I have read several sources that say petroleum jelly will clog the pores in leather and damage it.

I have read other sources that say petroleum jelly is an excellent leather cleaner and conditioner.

The Nokona glove company recommends petroleum jelly to clean and condition their gloves. It seems like they would know a thing or two about preserving leather, having been in the leather business for seventy-some years!

My own personal experience with petroleum jelly is that is does soften and clean leather and I have observed no detrimental effects. Who knows- maybe the gloves I used it on will disintergrate twenty years down the road!

The only drawback I've noticed is when using p.j. on gloves that I'll be using on the field. If you have any excess on the glove it tends to attract dust and dirt which can stick to it. This is easily remedied by wiping the glove down with a clean towel before using it.

My advice would be to try it on some "non-collectible" gloves to see how it works for you. It's worked okay for me. But I don't use it very often anymore since I began using Lexol several years ago.
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Postby furious_01 » April 23rd, 2007, 2:13 am

so brett, do you use lanolin and lexol? just one or the other? i'm trying to break in a couple of gloves (for play) and preserve another (to collect). is one conditioner right for the other?
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Postby BretMan » April 25th, 2007, 9:40 pm

Lately I've been using just Lexol for a few reasons: I like the results it gives; I have a huge jug of it available; I'm running low on lanolin!

It is my understanding that Lexol contains lanolin in the formula. It's so easy to apply, and the results are usually so good, that I don't have a problem using it on all my gloves.

But straight lanolin is great, too! You can't go wrong either way.

Over the years I've collected a box full of leather cleaners and conditioners. Depending on the age or condition of the glove, how stiff the leather is, or how dirty, I might try any combination of products on the leather.

Generally, most of the vintage gloves I collect get either the lanolin or Lexol treatment after a thorough cleaning. Most of the used "gamer" gloves I relace or restore for others to use get the Lexol.

Either would work fine for a brand-new glove needing break in. One product I normally use when breaking in a new glove is Doctor Glove from Franklin. You can find it in most sporting goods or department stores.

This product is a white foam, like shaving cream, but without any of the harsh soaps or chemicals. It is extremely easy to use and seems to really soften leather.

This foam contains a unique blend of lanolin (that we know is good stuff) and neats foot oil (the main ingredient in Rawlings Gloveolium and similar oil-type products).

The combination of the two, plus the ease of use, make this one of my favorite products for softening leather. While I normally use this on new gloves, if a vintage glove is especially dry or stiff, I will use a light coat Doctor Glove in addition to the Lexol of lanolin.
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Postby dwags4him » June 17th, 2007, 5:07 pm

I'll go out on a limb here.....

I mix them together, and it's been amazing!

I combine 2 small containers of vaseline (about 13 oz. each), 2 bottles of Champro Glove oil (containing neatsfoot and other oils), and 4 large tablespoons of hydrous lanolin (from the drugstore).

I take the vaseline first and put it into a pot on low heat, which will quickly melt, than I add the other two ingredients. The mixture will become homogenous in about 5 minutes, all on low heat. Simply stir with a fork or knife.

Than pour the mixture into your storage containers. It will not be hot at all, and will not melt your plastic containers. You can actually stir it with your fingers safely! 35mm film containers are great for your little leaguers, or just pour the mix back into your vaseline containers, or an old butter container. You can then place the warm liquid into a freezer to cool, and it will set up in a couple of hours.

There will be no wasted space from air bubbles, and you will get the easy spreadability of the vaseline, the slight darkening effect of the Champro glove oil, and the nice sheen from the lanolin. I have found this idea tough to beat, and the next time I need some (about 40 gloves from now), I might try a little more lanolin, for a touch more shine.

I have gotten great results, and, though it may sound daunting, it takes literally about 25 minutes for the whole operation, and the longest time will be spent cleaning the mixture out of the funnel.

I guess I like being able to 'have my cake and eat it too.' Ha Ha Ha

Let me know if anyone else tries this, or about other ingredients for the next trip into the mad-scientist lab.
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Postby BretMan » June 18th, 2007, 10:15 am

Thanks for the tip on the home-made brew! I have wanted to try something like this for a while, but wasn't sure how to melt and mix the ingredients.
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Vaseline

Postby robin_buckeye » June 30th, 2007, 11:36 am

I tried Vaseline alone recently (always used neatsfoot oil before) and it did soften and clean the leather, but it sure left the glove uncomfortable to use. Also the ball kept slipping out of the mitt after catching it. Any suggestions for post-vaseline care? How to clean the mitt up after application?
I'm going to try the suggested home-brew soon. Got the one pound of lanoline -- thanks for that info.
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Postby dwags4him » June 30th, 2007, 11:55 pm

Buckeye,

I have found that using the 'brew' works best when you do not have to play until the next day....BUT... the lanolin seems to help the glove remain tacky....

I you MUST oil before you play, use a box fan to speed up the drying.

An associated tip - After I oil any glove, and want to play catch right them, I always use a vinyl-covered league ball, which will remain bright white and will not get heavy with the oil.

The same trick works on rain days for keeping the ball light and clean
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Oil

Postby robin_buckeye » July 1st, 2007, 6:26 pm

OK, so the vaseline (or homebrew) is to clean and soften the leather. Then, before play, use straight glove oil or neatsfoot oil to "remove" the residue.
BTW -- I have the ingredients for "homebrew: which I will make the next time the wife is out of the house for an hour or so. ;-)
Thanks
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Postby dwags4him » July 1st, 2007, 7:29 pm

Not exactly

Use the brew whenever....just use a box fan for quick drying....or leave it overnight..

Whenever you condition right before use, you will get oil on the ball. I suggest NOT doing that.....

When dirt or dust stick to the glove, just use a damp rag to wipe off the dirt.

better?
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Glove Cleanup

Postby robin_buckeye » July 2nd, 2007, 12:01 am

Sorry, I haven't been clear about this. I know that you shouldn't treat a glove with oil or anything just before use.

I vaselined three gloves about 10 days ago. All of them still feel greasy and sticky to the touch. They also don't seem to want to "grip" the ball in the way that a glove normally seems to.

The vaseline treatment did really clean and soften the leather of some very dirty, stiff gloves in a very satisfactory way, but I'd like the mitt to feel "normal."

I loaned one of the mitts to a team-mate who forgot his and his first comment was, "What's wrong with this?" This was at least a week after I treated it. I had wiped it down with a wet rag.

Thanks,
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Gloves

Postby robin_buckeye » July 2nd, 2007, 12:11 am

I guess I should add that I'm not a collector, I'm a player and coach just looking for some info on conditioning and preserving mitts.
Thanks,
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Postby dwags4him » July 2nd, 2007, 2:39 pm

Try this big dawg,

Take the gloves and throw them into a dryer for a couple hours on high. Throw in a fabric softener sheet, and a few dark colored towels.

That does wonders, and I aplogize for not having mentioned it sooner. The glove should come out feeling even more playable, and a lot of that excess oil should have come off on the towels, or absorbed deep into the glove.


I too play with gloves, don't really collect them per se either!

After all, I only have one left hand, and can only wear one glove at a time.

;)
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Dryer

Postby robin_buckeye » July 3rd, 2007, 1:47 am

Just thought of this -- would it be a good idea to toss the mitts into the dryer for a bit before application of cleaner/softener? Heat them up and open the leather's pores to allow deeper penetration of the lotion.
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