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Even Cowboys Use Clothespins (and Have Leather Cleaning Tips)

Even Cowboys Use Clothespins (and Have Leather Cleaning Tips)

Self-sufficient cowboys out on the range in summer often carry a line and clothespins so they can was a few “necessaries” without having to go back to the ranch or into town. What they have to clean the most carefully are their leather gloves. Here’s some tips on cleaning leather from old cowboy lore found in The Clothesline, by Irene Rawlings et al.

Leather gloves are very important in a cowboy’s life to protect his hands from the harsh cold winters ridding fences and from rope burns during branding time in the spring.

When cowboys have been out in the rainstorm and their gloves have gotten wet, they hang them out to dry on a lead rope in the shelter of the back of a horse trailer. When the gloves are damp dry, they can be stretched back into shape by simply putting them on and going back to work.

To clean white or tan gloves, put them on your hands and douse in vodka. Remove gloves and they will dry quickly. Put in the sun to remove the vodka odor by hanging on a clothesline with, yes, clothespins. Wash your hands thoroughly.

To clean dark leather, mix 1 cup (pure) linseed oil with 1 cup white vinegar. Wipe onto dirty leather using a clean cloth. Let stand for a few minutes. Wipe off and polish with a clean soft cloth.

To keep leather soft, rub with a soft cloth dampened in Castor oil.

Adapted from The Clothesline, by Irene Rawlings and Andrea Vansteenhouse (Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2002).

Read more: Home, Household Hints, Non-Toxic Cleaning, , , ,

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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7:41PM PDT on Apr 2, 2013


12:06AM PDT on Apr 2, 2013


12:28PM PST on Nov 11, 2012

Thanks--some good tips here.

10:38AM PST on Nov 11, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

2:57PM PST on Nov 10, 2012


12:51PM PST on Nov 10, 2012


12:46AM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

How interesting, thanks Annie.

5:58PM PDT on Jun 20, 2011

Vodka??? Intersting!!!


12:55AM PST on Dec 1, 2010

Thanks for the article.

5:44PM PDT on May 18, 2010

TY Annie. I don't own fur or leather, but know people who have different philosophies than myself. I'm sure they will appreciate these tips.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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