Baseball gloves are finicky. When you buy them new, they often feel stiff out of the box. To break them in, you need to spend hours playing catch, applying leather conditioner, or even hitting them with break-in mallets. But once that’s all done and dusted, your glove should feel right at home in your hands.
However, if you stowed away your glove in the locker for a while, once you take it back out, you might notice some of the old stiffness came back. Now, this can be stopped if you know the right way to store your baseball glove, but that’s a topic for another day.
Here, I would rather talk about what you can do to break it in again. Do you need to buy a new bottle of leather conditioner? Or can you use something like baby oil to soften up the leather and get the glove back in its peak condition?
The short answer is – baby oil works, but there are a couple of issues here.
Here, I will talk about everything you need to know about if you plan on using baby oil to soften up your baseball gloves. So, let’s hop in.
Is It Safe to Use Baby Oil on Baseball Gloves?
For those that don’t know, baby oil is made from petroleum and is classified as a type of mineral oil. It is non-toxic and is primarily used for application on the skin or hair of both children and adults. But how well does it fare when you use it on a hard material like the leather of a baseball glove?
Well, not bad at all. Baby oil, because of its petroleum-based formula, can be quite helpful at moisturizing a stiff baseball glove. But overapplication is never a good idea when you are using alternative oils for a baseball glove. You want to apply only a dash of oil on the surface and rub it as needed.
If, after applying, the glove still feels too stiff, you can repeat the process. However, using a generous amount of baby oil on the baseball glove is not a good idea.
Since it is mineral oil, it will eventually cause the leather to wear out along with the stitching in the gloves. Using a leather conditioner approved for use on baseball gloves is still the best way to go if your glove feels stiff and you want an easy solution.
To be fair, though, using baby oil to soften up a baseball glove, regardless of whether it is new or old, is a lot better than using something like linseed oil to do that. If applied sparingly, baby oil can keep your baseball glove soft and game-ready all the time.
Now That We’re Here
I understand how expensive baseball care products can be. So, if you are trying to save a few bucks by not buying a new leather conditioner, I get it. But to be honest, that’s never the right approach when it comes to your favorite baseball glove.
Yes, baby oil works, and so do many other petroleum-based oils, but only to some extent. If you repeatedly expose the leather in your baseball glove to these types of oils, eventually, it will cave. And one day, you might wake up and see that the leather in your gloves has started to crack, and it would be too late to save it.
So, if you do decide to use baby oil to give your glove a quick tune-up, go for it. Just make sure you know the limits of your glove and stay well within what your glove can handle. Cheers!