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Sports Then and Now

How to Clean up Old Baseball Equipment

Posted on August 31, 2017 by Martin Banks

Sometimes, the new baseball season demands new equipment. If your favorite pair of cleats is separating from their hardened soles, for example, it’s time to trade them in. However, lots of the equipment we put aside as worn out actually has life left in it.

As companies look for cheaper ways to manufacture gear, consumers can be forced to deal with what is ultimately a lower-quality product, and who wants to spend more money on new equipment when you can get more use out of pieces you’ve already paid for? Instead, why not breathe some new life into that old mitt or bat?

Reconditioning Your Mitt


A good baseball or softball glove can last decades, but you’ve got to take care of it properly. Some newer gloves are made of synthetics, which are softer when new but break down more quickly than their natural counterpart, leather. A leather glove requires care, or it will dry out.

When you pull an old leather glove out of storage, it will probably be dry and stiff. A good cleaning and some leather conditioner go a long way toward restoring its supple feel. Wipe the glove down with a damp cloth, and if it’s stained or dirty use rubbing alcohol to remove discoloration. If mold or mildew have grown on it, use a rag soaked in vinegar.

Next, select a conditioning agent. Since so many things are made of leather, you’ve got your choice between old-school options like saddle soap or more recent synthetic conditioners. Use a damp rag and work the conditioner into the glove.

Bringing Back your Bat


You’ll want to spend some time at the plate to prepare for the season, and for that, you’re going to need a bat. If you use a wooden bat, it’s important that you care for it just as you would a glove.

Apply some wood cleaner to a cotton cloth and rub it onto the bat in a circular motion. Rotate the bat and keep working the cleaner into the grain until you’ve cleaned the entire thing. When the bat is cleaned, you can apply a sealing agent, such as linseed oil or beeswax. It may take several coats, up to three, to adequately protect your bat’s finish.

Reshaping Your Cap


It’s hard to play ball with the sun in your eyes, and there’s no better way to mitigate that problem than with a well-worn ball cap. New caps come with flat brims, but you can add some shape to yours using this easy process. You’ll just need a good selection of hair products.

You scrub the outside of the hat down and spray the lid’s interior with hairspray while it’s wet. Next, form a mold for the hat using rolled up T-shirts. The final step is to apply hair mousse to the front of the cap.

Caps, mitts and bats are all items you can restore, but you need to know where to draw the line. Don’t expect to find any DIY articles about how to recover that used jock strap or mouth guard. Ready for the season? Good, see you on the field.

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