Can you use coconut oil on baseball gloves?

You cannot use coconut oil on baseball gloves because it is one of the most damaging substances to a baseball glove. It will make your glove slick and rip the laces. No matter how long you leave your glove to dry, it will never dry because it has already absorbed the coconut oil components. As a result, you should never put coconut oil on your baseball glove.

Baseball Gloves

What are the Differences in Today’s Modern Glove?

Gloves have been produced well since the 1880s, although they are not nearly as thick or impact-absorbing as current gloves. Unlike the late-nineteenth-century ballplayer, today’s players can make one-handed catches and field baseballs coming at them at tremendous speeds.

A catcher uses his flexible, fitting mitt with the surgical surety to pull a ball out of the air behind the plate. The two-handed catch, a fielding ability required only a few years ago and vital when gloves were just big pads, is now regarded as valuable but not compulsory.

The thickness of the heel, the shape of the web, and the depth of the palm all differ amongst today’s gloves. Outfielders choose big gloves with deep palms to help them catch fly balls. Infielders prefer smaller gloves because they can easily reach the web to remove the ball and rapidly toss it to other players.

The glove’s design, as well as the efficiency and protection it provides, are constantly developing. Baseball gloves are considerably more sophisticated in design and engineering than they appear. The way they look, feel, and operate now results from more than a century of history and more than thirty patents.

What Materials Are Used to Make a Baseball Glove?

Knowing what goes into a baseball glove and the materials used helps explain why and how to break it in. A glove is composed of cowhide leather, except for minor plastic reinforcements at the base of the small finger and thumb and some nylon thread. Each steer has two skins that are processed in a tannery. The best hides, those with no nicks, branding marks, or defects, are supplied to glove makers.

Tanning is a chemical treatment of skins that gives them the flexibility and durability required for baseball usage. If the leather had not been tanned, it would have dried and flaked after only a few uses.

Glove manufacturers look for the best tanneries to maintain a competitive advantage with their products. Rawlings’, Akadema, Nokona, and Wilson’s baseball glove products are tanned in specialist tanneries.

Each cowhide contains enough leather to make three or four gloves. Several synthetic materials have been tried for baseball gloves, but none have demonstrated leather’s durability, stretchiness, and feel. To this day, no substitute for cowhide leather has been considered.

The Wrong Way to Break in a Baseball Glove

A lot of material is available that states unequivocally that the techniques they propose are safe for your glove. However, there are several techniques of breaking gloves that should be avoided at all costs! Your glove is composed of leather, and it’s widely known that heat and cold affect cowhide.

Regardless of what you hear, these are the methods you should never break in a new glove. If you rush to break in your glove, you will almost certainly ruin it. Heat breaks down the cellular structure of cowhide leather. Over time, a baseball glove subjected to high temperatures will loosen and eventually lose its form, and it’s only a matter of time before it falls apart.

Don’t: Microwave Oven or Conventional Oven

Microwaving a baseball glove has been recommended as an excellent technique to break it in. Avoid microwaving a baseball glove, although it has become a widespread practice that promises to be safe as long as the glove is microwaved for a minute or less.

It’s crucial to remember that a microwave oven has enough power to soften tough cowhide leather in under a minute. Considering that, any type of heating should be avoided because you don’t know what else the extreme heat is doing to your glove. It’s a terrible concept.

Microwaving or placing your glove in a regular oven can dry up the leather and make the laces brittle, eventually causing them to snap. Microwaving leather is extremely difficult, and there have been several recorded incidents of home fires caused by impatient players leaving their gloves unattended.

There are several glove makers, and it is not always clear what materials they utilize to make their gloves. Some of them include metal, which might cause your microwave to blow up. Furthermore, some gloves’ laces have plastic, which melts when cooked in an oven or microwave, rendering the glove useless.

Finally, microwaving a baseball glove is a bad idea, mainly if the glove is being worn by a young kid who is still growing. Not only is irreversible damage done to the leather and lacing, but the glove will shrink as well.

Don’t: Leaving the Glove in a Hot Car

Leaving your glove in a hot car, like the microwave technique, can dry up the leather and cause the laces to become brittle, causing them to snap. If it hasn’t already been apparent, applying heat to make a glove flexible and mold to the form of your hand is never a good idea.

In the best-case scenario, the glove will be softer, but the structural integrity of the glove will not be compromised. You might as well buy a backup glove to use when the heated glove is no longer usable.

Don’t: Soaking Glove in a Bucket of Water

Consider immersing a pair of leather shoes in water and keeping them there overnight. After they’ve dried, put them on and go for a walk in the sun. They will lose their form around your foot and will most likely become too small to wear after a while.

There are several types of leather, and the hide leather used to create baseball gloves is comparable to the leather used on high-quality shoes in certain aspects. Keep in mind that there is presently no technology available to accelerate the process of breaking in a baseball glove.

The Proper Way to Break In a Baseball Glove

The process of breaking in a baseball glove hasn’t altered much in the last 70 years. Gloves’ quality has only increased through time, but the primary material utilized in the glove – cowhide leather – has always been used. Here are a few tried-and-true methods for breaking in a new baseball glove.

Traditional Break-In Method – Playing Catch

If you have time before the start of the season, practice playing catch breaks in the glove while molding it to your hand and making the web deeper with each catch of the ball.

When breaking in the glove, just use a regulation-sized baseball to ensure that the web pocket forms appropriately. The more times you squeeze the glove around the ball during practice, the better it will break in and be ready to go for the season.

This approach takes the most time, yet it is the best and is even suggested by most manufacturers. As long as you don’t get your glove wet from rain, there’s almost little chance of it becoming damaged. After using the glove, bring it inside and store it somewhere cool and dry.

Oils, Creams, and Conditioners

Glove Oil

There are a plethora of really potent glove oils on the market. These types of glove oils are excellent for breaking in a new glove or maintaining an older glove. We just need a little dab of the oil to coat the glove thoroughly. Allow it to rest for a while, and you should see a difference after a day or so.

Lanolin

Lanolin is the greatest oil to use to break in a baseball glove, and the best cream is lanolin-based, which may be found in certain higher-end shaving creams. Lanolin application is simply one stage in the breakthrough process of a glove.

Lanolin is a powerful moisturizer that is produced from shorn sheep’s wool. It softens the glove’s leather while keeping it from drying out in the heat and sunlight. Lanolin is also water repellent and has antimicrobial qualities built-in. Because of its numerous advantages, it has become a popular component in skin creams and lip balms.

Beeswax

Beeswax is another excellent substance for softening glove leather. Bees excrete this wax to build honeycombs, and it is used to produce wood polishes and candles. It is significantly better than petroleum jelly creams (which contain chemicals that damage stitching).

Beeswax is an excellent moisturizer for softening and hydrating baseball gloves, as well as the thicker, stiffer leather of a catcher’s mitt. It also functions as a natural water-proofer and has natural SPF qualities, protecting leather baseball gloves from heat and light exposure.

Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter, derived from cocoa tree beans, is a powerful moisturizer that prevents the aging of cowhide leather baseball gloves. Pure cocoa butter is used less frequently than beeswax since it is more expensive, but if available, it extends the life of gloves and keeps the leather from breaking down. Because of the thickness of the catcher’s mitts, it is highly recommended.

Best Oil for a Baseball Gloves

You can’t keep your leather baseball gloves in pristine shape unless you oil them regularly. A good leather oil not only helps you break in new gloves but also prevents cracks in existing ones.

A high-quality oil product cleans the leather gloves as well, but without scrubbing their surface. In summary, using oil regularly can help to increase the life of your baseball glove.

Many off-the-shelf items promise to “condition” leather baseball gloves. They are inexpensive and frequently have ambiguous labeling that does not list the product’s components. We recommend Bickmore, GRIFFIN Mink Oil, Fiebing’s Premium, Obenauf’s Leather Oil, and  Easton as the five best oils to use for baseball gloves in the market at the moment.

In Conclusion

Coconut oil is ineffective for caring for your special baseball gloves. Some argue that it reduces the effectiveness of the glove by causing material damage. That is not the case. Finally, we recommend using baseball glove oil instead of coconut oil.

About Sean Pamphilon

Sean Pamphilon is an American sports television producer turned documentary filmmaker. He produced multiple television features on National Football League player Ricky Williams for Fox Sports and ESPN, and he later directed the Williams documentary, Run Ricky Run, for ESPN's award-winning documentary series 30 for 30 with film partner Royce Toni.

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