How to Clean Boxing Gloves Like a Pro

How to Clean Boxing Gloves?

The rigorous boxing sparring and training sessions can lead to gloves that smell vile. If you’re someone that has been practicing boxing for a while can understand this problem. But, cleaning boxing gloves can prove to be tricky. Certainly, you cannot throw it into the washer and expect it to be clean. Since it challenges the regular norm of washing, we’re here to tell you how to take proper care of your gloves. 

Your boxing gloves are the single most important equipment in the ring. Therefore, you should try your best to maintain your gloves. There is no rule which says that you cannot throw your boxing gloves into the washer. But, this might end up damaging your precious gloves. Hence, I am here to tell you the best ways to clean and maintain your boxing gloves. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Why do Your Boxing Gloves Stink?

Let us start with a fundamental question. Boxing training sessions tend to produce a lot of sweat. This sweat tends to create moisture inside the boxing gloves. The presence of moisture gives the perfect breeding environment for bacterial growth. So, the next time you get the whiff of this bad odor, know that it is bacteria. 

Our usual practices tend to make things worse. Most people end up throwing their gloves into a bag after use. This gives further push to the bacteria and your gloves start to stink even more. 

Boxing gloves are an investment in your journey to mastering boxing. Keeping them clean will increase their lifespan and prevent skin diseases. So, how should we clean our gloves? Well, firstly, let us look at some preventive measures for keeping your gloves clean and fresh. 

5 Methods to Clean Your Boxing Gloves

[Method 1] Using Anti-Bacterial Spray

If there is a deep growth of bacteria inside your gloves, then you need to use an anti-bacterial spray. This will put a stop to all the germ buildup and keep your gloves fresh. After spraying, hang your gloves in the sun and in the fresh air. Try to use this method regularly. 

[Method 2] Stuffing Method

To use this method, you need to use “glove dogs”. These are cotton balls filled with chips of cedar. Putting them inside your glove will dry the excess moisture. This prevents the buildup of bacteria and leaves your gloves smelling fresh. 

[Method 3] Using Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar can prove to be helpful for cleaning gloves, shoes, gym bags, and so on. It is quite simple to use vinegar on your gloves. Just take a tablespoon of vinegar in your hands and rub it on the insides of your gloves. Give the gloves a night to let them dry completely. You will have stink-free gloves in the morning. But, if you still feel that your gloves are stinking, then you may need to repeat the process. 

[Method 4] Saltwater Soak

Before using this method, check whether your gloves can withstand saltwater. Boxing gloves are also made from materials, which may get damaged in contact with saline water. If they can, soak your gloves overnight in a saline solution to obliterate bacteria and germs. 

[Method 5] Baking Soda

This is a common item that you can find in your kitchen. Fighters and trainers use it to remove the stench from their gloves. To use this process, you will need a pair of old socks, baking soda, and paper towels. Firstly, you need to wipe the insides and outsides of your gloves using paper towels. Put some baking soda into each sock and tie a knot to prevent it from leaking. Then, put the socks inside the gloves overnight. The socks will absorb the moisture and keep your gloves clean. 

5 Preventive Care Tips for Your Boxing Gloves

These preventive care tips are instrumental in ensuring that your efforts in cleaning are reduced. 

#1 Drying them completely

As said earlier, bacteria need moisture to breed and survive. Therefore, the best idea is to let them dry after a training session. So, hang your gloves in a ventilated area or under a fan after a training session. You can also leave them in the sun. This will not allow the germs to survive and your gloves will be odor-free. 

#2 Never put gloves in your bag

Most trainees tend to put their gloves into a bag immediately after a session. The dark and humid space inside a bag allows for bacteria to grow. So, do not put your gloves inside a bag immediately after a training session. Let them dry. 

#3 Using Hand Wraps

Hand wraps can do wonders for your boxing gloves. They absorb moisture from the padding and prevent the growth of germs. But, this method has its own issues. Make sure that you keep your hand wraps clean as they can also start to smell. 

#4 Wiping your gloves

Take a clean paper towel and wipe the insides of your gloves using the same. Do this after every match as it will remove extra moisture. This will also minimize the growth of bacteria and reduce the chances of a vile smell.

#5 Using Disinfectants/Deodorizers

Several fighters tend to use disinfectants to prevent the growth of bacteria inside their gloves. There are several disinfectants on the market, which are specifically designed for boxing gloves. So, try to look for a disinfectant to keep your gloves fresh. 

Maintaining Boxing Gloves: What not to do

Now, we have already told you some of the preventive measures for ensuring stink-free gloves. Here, we are going to let you know some of the common mistakes that you should avoid to keep fresh gloves. 

No matter what you do, bacteria will grow inside your gloves. Sweat and moisture are going to cause a buildup of germs. But, this does not mean that your gloves cannot have a long life. 

Here are some of the things that you should avoid doing to your gloves:

  • Try not to wash your gloves inside a washing machine. It may end up damaging them. 
  • Using silica gel will not prove to be helpful. Moreover, using them might harm your gloves. 
  • Do not leave your gloves out in the sun for a long period of time. This can shrink them and can make them crack easily.  

FAQs about Cleaning Boxing Gloves

Should I wash my gloves in a washing machine?

Never try to wash your boxing gloves in a washing machine. Wiping them down is the best way to clean your gloves. Machine wash has the capacity to damage your gloves. 

Washing machines tend to soak the gloves in water and various cleaning agents. This increases the wear and tear of the gloves and makes them susceptible to damage. 

How often should I clean my gloves?

Cleaning gloves after every training session is the best way to maintain them. You should always give them a wipe down after your session to prevent the buildup of excess moisture. In any case, do not put them inside your gym bag as it can cause them to stink. 

Even if you are putting them inside your bag, wipe it down thoroughly with a clean towel. It may happen that you find that the insides of your gloves are soaking wet. In that case, use a dry towel or cloth to dry up the towel. You can also keep them in front of a fan to dry up the moisture. 

You may also use baby powder to absorb moisture. Always try to keep them at a cool temperature and in good air circulation. This will ensure that your gloves have a long lifespan. 

Should I freeze my gloves?

This is a common mistake. People think that freezing their gloves will kill the bacteria. But, this is simply not true. On the other hand, freezing will end up damaging your gloves. 

It will cause the moisture inside your gloves to crystallize. This works to the detriment of your gloves and does not make a dent in the growth of germs. Hence, always opt for a wipe-down for your boxing gloves. 

The Takeaway

I managed to cover every area of keeping your gloves clean and fresh. But, there are a few things that we need to stress upon. Maintaining odor-free gloves is not a daunting task. In fact, there is no need for anyone to over-complicate the process. I want you to take away two key tips for always having a fresh pair of gloves:

  • Wipe down after a training session
  • Leaving them out to air

These two tips will prove to be enough for ensuring that gloves do not stink. Maintain a habit of cleaning your gloves and you will never face problems. After all, the goal is to knock out your opponent with a punch, not stink. 

If you still feel that your gloves are reeking, then it is a good idea to get in touch with your trainer. And for more such interesting and useful blogs on everything martial art, don’t forget to check out our other articles!

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Benjamin Roussey
Benjamin Roussey
Hi! My name is Benjamin and I love martial arts. I am from Sacramento in the ungolden state of California. I went to CSUS to participate in a baseball scholarship as a pitcher. I finished in 1999 and joined the US Navy for a 4-year stint. I am currently learning karate. One of the most enjoyable aspects of my life is researching karate and writing about it. It is my honor to contribute to The Karate Blog. Now, I can finally write about what I love and enjoy the most: karate.