Pro athletes and fitness enthusiasts often complain about smelly and dirty boxing gloves.
Vigorous boxing sessions and heavy workouts can make your boxing gloves smell bad, but with the right cleaning strategy you can keep your gear deodorized and fresh far into your boxing career. Boxing gloves are the most important piece of equipment you carry with you in the ring, keeping them clean will make them last longer.
Unfortunately, just throwing your gloves into the washing machine will not get them entirely clean or deodorized; you’ll have to take some extra steps to really get them clean and smelling fresh.
Boxing gloves require maintenance and care, as with most martial arts equipment. If you are serious about preserving your investment in your gear and want to keep your gloves smelling like new for a long time, then you have to clean them properly.
Here’s how to properly clean and deodorize boxing gloves, so that they’ll remain as fresh as you far into the later rounds.
Why Do Your Boxing Gloves Stink?
When dirty boxing gloves are left unattended after a workout session, bacteria from your hands stays in the gloves and begins to produce foul odors. To keep this smell at bay, you can take some preventative measures to reduce the formation of bacteria associated with unwanted odors.
Preventative cleaning is key to long-lasting, odor-free gloves. Using trusted products and regular sanitization and deodorization will keep your professional boxing gloves looking and smelling fresh. Here are some recommendations you can add to your routine to keep your gloves clean and fresh:
- Air out your boxing gloves after your training sessions. You can dry your gloves using a fan blowing fresh air into them. Odor-causing bacteria thrive in hot and moist environments. Keep your gloves dry.
- Refrain from putting your gloves in your gym bag. After a sweaty training session, bacteria begins to build up. Gloves that go straight from the punching bag to a gym bag are full of bacteria that will eventually make your gloves stink.
- Don’t wash your gloves with a washing machine or put them in a dryer after cleaning. Doing so will ruin the texture of your gloves.
The main thing to remember here is to air your gloves after every training session. If you skip this step, over time the gloves will start to stink. Once they start to smell bad, it’s important to clean them right away. If you wait, the smell will get stronger and more difficult to get rid of.
Why Should You Clean Your Boxing Gloves?
Boxing gloves are an investment and cleaning them will increase the lifespan of your gloves. Cleaning your gloves not only affects longevity, but will also prevent you from getting skin and nail infections on your hands. Clean gloves will save you money and keep you punching harder. Take care of your equipment with regular cleaning and it will take care of you.
If you find the task of cleaning gloves to be boring and time-consuming then consider some preventative care to reduce your cleaning efforts. Especially if you're just starting out and are looking for beginners boxing gloves here are some quick and easy steps to keeping your boxing gloves clean and deodorized:
- Let Them Dry Completely
- Wipe Your Gloves After Every Use
- Do Not Put Your Gloves In Your Bag
- Use Hand Wraps
- Use Disinfectant/Deodorizer Spray
Drying your gloves after training sessions is essential. Bacteria and germs need moisture to survive. If you dry your gloves after every training session, germs won’t survive and your gloves will stay odor-free for longer.
After every training session, you should hang your gloves in a ventilated area or put them in front of a fan. They can also be dried in the sun.
Another preventative step for keeping your gloves fresh is to wipe them inside and out with a paper towel after every workout or match. Doing this will remove extra moisture from the gloves and minimize the growth of bacteria that can cause a stinky smell.
Too many boxers and fighters put their boxing gloves in their bag right after training. This gives bacteria a chance to reproduce and grow. After a training session, avoid immediately putting your gloves in your gym bag. Take them home and let them dry.
Another method to keep your gloves fresh is by using hand wraps. These wraps act like a sponge and absorb moisture from the padding that is inside the gloves. This method works great, but you will need to keep the hand wraps clean. Dirty hand wraps can also start to stink.
Boxers and fighters often spray disinfectant sprays or deodorisers inside their gloves and other fighting equipment to keep them clean. You can find several disinfectants on the market that are specifically designed for boxing gloves. Spraying boxing glove disinfectant spray inside the gloves will stop bacteria from building up and prevent your gloves from stinking.
Methods To Clean Your Gloves
Even with the most stringent preventative measures, your boxing gloves can still get dirty and smelly. You will need to clean them thoroughly from time to time to deodorize them and restore their freshness. Here are a couple of cleaning methods to stop your gloves from smelling:
- Use Anti-Bacterial Spray To Kill Germs
- The Saltwater Soak
- The Stuffing Method
- Use Apple Cider Vinegar
You can stop germ and bacteria buildup within your boxing gloves by applying anti-bacterial spray. If your gloves have become too dirty and have developed a thick stench, you will need to give them a spray to remove all the bacterial build-up. After spraying, you should hang your gloves in the sun or where there is some fresh air. This will freshen them up for your next training session or match. You can clean your boxing gloves regularly with this method.
Saltwater is great for stopping the buildup of foul-smelling bacteria and removing unwanted boxing glove smell. First, check to make sure your gloves can withstand saltwater. (Some materials can get damaged when exposed to a saline solution, so make sure you check the material of your gloves).
If your gloves can withstand saltwater, soaking your professional boxing gloves overnight in a saline solution will destroy odor-causing bacteria.
Another method you can use to clean your gloves is to stuff them with “glove dogs.” These are small cotton bags filled with cedar chips that draw the bacteria out of the glove and restore their freshness, leaving them smelling fresh and clean. Stuffing with glove dogs absorbs all the excess moisture in your gloves and dries them out. This is one of the most effective methods of cleaning and preventing the buildup of smelly bacteria. It also increases the lifespan of your gloves.
Apple cider vinegar is effective for cleaning professional boxing gloves, as well as shoes, gym bags, punching bags, etc. Follow these methods to clean your boxing gloves using apple cider vinegar:
- Put a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in your hand.
- Rub this into the inside of the gloves.
- Dry the gloves overnight and the stink should be gone in the morning.
- For extra dirty, smelly gloves, a few extra applications of vinegar may be necessary.
Baking soda is commonly used for cooking, but boxers, fighters and trainers use it to clean and deodorize their gloves, too. To clean boxing gloves with baking soda, you will need a pair of old socks, baking soda and some paper towels.
- Wipe the outside and inside of gloves with paper towels.
- Put baking soda into two socks and tie a knot in each to keep the soda from falling out.
- Put the socks in the gloves and leave them overnight.
The socks will absorb the moisture and the smell from inside the gloves, leaving them fresh and clean.
What Not To Do
Going regularly to the gym for boxing or MMA training means your gloves will get sweaty—and they might start to get smelly as bacteria grows in them. You want your punches, not your odor, to be what knocks out your opponent.
Regular cleaning and preventative glove maintenance will keep your boxing gloves smelling fresh. But some boxers, fighters and trainers take extreme cleaning methods that cause damage. Here are some things you shouldn’t do to your gloves:
- Don’t wash your gloves in a washing machine: Doing this can rip your gloves apart.
- Don’t use silica gel inside your boxing gloves: It can harm your gloves and won’t clean them.
- Don’t leave your gloves in the sun for too long: A little sun is OK, but too much can shrink your gloves and make them crack easily.
How Often Should You Clean Boxing Gloves?
You should clean your boxing gloves after every session. Give them a quick wipe down and air dry them to take out moisture and increase their lifespan. You should not put your sweaty gloves in your gym bag. Let them breathe in fresh air after training.
If you do put your boxing gloves in your gym bag, you should wipe them first with a clean towel. This will absorb excess moisture. If you find that the inside of your gloves are soaked with sweat, insert a dry towel or cloth for a couple of minutes to absorb any moisture from the glove. You can also keep them in front of a fan to dry after training.
Another method is to use a dusting of baby powder to absorb excess moisture. Once you have wiped the gloves down and taken out excess moisture, move them to a cool and dry place. Keep them in a place with cool temperatures and good air circulation to increase their lifespan and reduce any boxing glove odor.
Should You Wash Your Boxing Gloves In A Washing Machine
No, you should never wash your professional boxing gloves in a washing machine. To properly clean your gloves, wiping them down is best. Using a washing machine can damage your gloves.
Washing boxing gloves in a machine is not recommended because soaking them in water and cleaning agents speed up the wear and tear of the casings and foams inside your gloves, decreasing their lifespan.
Washing machines can also rip your boxing gloves and other fighting equipment to shreds.
Can You Freeze Your Gloves?
Freezing your boxing gloves is not recommended. Freezing your gloves won’t kill bacteria, but it will damage your gloves.
When boxing gloves are frozen, germs hibernate, only to become active when they warm up again. But moisture in your gloves will crystalize, affecting the integrity of your gloves.
Improperly dried gloves placed in the freezer will only freeze the sweat that was in them in the first place. Once they thaw, that sweat becomes liquid again and your gloves will be just as soaked as they were when you placed them in the freezer initially.
Use Hand Wraps To Keep Your Gloves Clean
Hand wraps are by far the best preventative care to keep your professional boxing gloves fresh and clean. These wraps absorb sweat and can be cleaned easily. Hand wraps create a shield between the sweat on your skin and the interior of your gloves, keeping your boxing gloves fresh and increasing their lifespan.
Getting hand wraps from a trusted source is vital to keeping your gloves fresh and clean. Made4Fighters has a wide selection of boxing and martial arts training equipment, including products for keeping your equipment in top shape.