Using mink oil on your baseball glove? Think twice. Here’s what you need to know. Mink oil comes from the skin of a mink. Animal or vegetable oils are never good for leather because of the potential of rancidity. The oil can turn rancid.
To understand why, here’s a short chemistry lesson. There are two ends of the animal or vegetable oil spectrum: There is Saturated oils on one end and Unsaturated oils on the other. Saturated oils are really stable, whereas unsaturated oils can be unstable.
There is a scientific measure for testing this. It’s called the Iodine Value. The higher the iodine value of an oil, the less stable it is, which means more sensitive to oxidation. Simply put, the more likely to go rancid.
The Iodine Value of mink oil is between 80 and 95. It’s not the highest, but it’s pretty far up that scale. By comparison, coconut oil is pretty low at about 10. For further perspective, olive oil is close to mink oil on the Iodine value scale at around 85.
So, mink oil has fairly high Iodine Value. But there are 3 other factors necessary. Exposure to air (oxygen), heat and light. This is why olive oil bottles are generally green (not clear glass), are stored with the cap on tight and in a dark cool place.
Your baseball glove however is outside in the sun a lot, clearly exposed to sun, air and it gets plenty warm. Your mitt is exposed to all three factors: Air, Heat and Light. If it’s loaded with mink oil, it doesn’t take long for the mink oil in the glove to go rancid. What does this mean to you? Anything going rancid in the leather will help deteriorate that leather. It will make your glove smell funny and is generally unhealthy for kids. I’ve seen it countless times. The 12 year-old little league player putting his/her glove to their face.
There is an answer. The right product is Mitt-Spit glove oil. It is made from an oil that is often found in cosmetics, or even as a food additive. It’s very safe for your mitt too. In fact, the Mitt-Spit glove oil has an iodine value of about one (1). Learn more at the mitt-spit.com site. Google it.
Be sure to share this with other ball players you know. Be a hero. Tell them what is the right approach for the care of their glove.