How to make football gloves sticky

Updated February 21, 2017

In the game of American football, holding onto the ball is one of the most important tasks of the game. Wearing gloves in the game can help improve the ability to grab and hold the ball. However, gloves also can be a detriment. Many football gloves are designed to be slightly sticky to help hold the ball, especially gloves made for receivers whose job is to catch balls in the air. This tackiness can wear off over time, but there are methods you can use to restore or improve the stickiness of your gloves.

Wash the gloves in your washing machine, which can refresh the tackiness of the gloves. Follow all instructions provided with the gloves for how to properly wash them so their stickiness doesn't wear off in the wash.

Apply a thin amount of water to the surface of the gloves using a slightly damp rag. A bit of moisture will help make the gloves slightly stickier. Too much moisture will make the gloves slick, which makes it more difficult for you to catch and hold the ball.

Place adhesive tape to the palm side of the gloves and remove the tape. Some of the tape's adhesive will remain on the gloves, making them tackier. Check the rules of your football league to ensure this technique is legal before you try it during an official game.

Spit on the gloves before going out for a play; saliva is stickier than water. Since you clearly cannot generate a lot of saliva at once, aim for the upper ends of the palms. Clap the gloves together to disperse the saliva.


A substance called Stickem was developed years ago, which can be applied to the gloves to help make them stickier. However, this substance has since been banned by numerous leagues and organisations, including the NFL.


Sticky gloves can be a benefit to running backs and receivers who catch and carry the ball. For quarterbacks, sticky gloves can hinder their ability to throw the ball.

Things You'll Need

  • Washing machine
  • Rag
  • Water
  • Adhesive tape
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About the Author

Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.