Pre-washing Gloves – What, Why and How!

We see this question asked all the time when a keeper gets a new pair of gloves, ‘Should I pre-wash my new goalkeeper gloves’, followed by a standard picture of their shiny new gloves.

So, let’s start at the beginning – what is pre-washing and why would anybody do it?

Pre-washing your gloves is washing your gloves, at least once – prior to you ever wearing them! If you’ve never heard of this before, you’re probably thinking we’re crazy right now. Washing something you’ve never used? Why on earth would you do that?

When a pair of gloves are made they are often mass produced in a foreign country, so your brand-new gloves with their fantastic latex are stored in the factory, then boxed up and sent across the world, before they sit in a warehouse somewhere waiting to be bought by you and sent back through the post for you to wear for the big game!

You might have caught on to the idea from the above story, that there can be quite a long time between a glove being made and it being used on the pitch.

Therefore, to ensure your new latex stays in top condition, during the manufacturing process they add chemicals to the latex to preserve it. These chemicals if not removed make your gloves feel powdery and massively reduce the grip they offer.

The only way to get rid of these chemicals is to pre-wash your gloves and wash them away!
Each manufacturer uses a different amount of chemicals to preserve their latex, and this will differ between the types of latex too.

For example, contact latexes come with a protective film over their palms and therefore need less chemicals to keep them protected, so you can often get away without pre-washing them and pulling them on right before a game – although we wouldn’t recommend it.

Our recommendation would be that whatever gloves you get, you should always pre-wash them, if you have time to wash them and let them dry twice then pre-wash them twice to make sure all the chemicals are out and your gloves are ready to perform at peak performance.

Water After PreWash
Water After PreWash

So, hopefully we’ve convinced you of the importance of pre-washing your gloves, all that’s left is to tell you how!
Pre-washing can be done the same way as you’d wash your gloves after usage, the basic options you have are:

  • Wash in a sink – bit long winded, but you get the added bonus of seeing the water change colour as the chemicals come out which makes you realise how important it is! Make sure you use just warm water – less than 30c and simply wash them by hand, no scrubbers or brushes etc.
  • Wash in the shower – similar to the sink, except it seems much simpler, throw them on in the shower and you can squeeze out all the chemicals and use the palms against each other gently to wash them without the fear of damaging the latex.
  • Washing machine – all of the glove brands will tell you not to use it through fear of damage! But loads of keepers have been using it for a long time now without issues. Throw them in a pillow case each, tie the ends and put in a little non-bio detergent at 30c – no softener!

Let them dry naturally (no radiators, hair dryers or heat sources) until they are just a little damp before wearing, and enjoy your new gloves at their best!

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Daz @ KeeperPortal

Owner and creator of Keeper Portal, an FA qualified goalkeeping coach as well as being pretty impressive at keeping balls out of a net.

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