How to Clean Boxing Gloves

Heavy workouts and vigorous boxing sessions can make your boxing gloves develop an odor. However, with an ideal cleaning strategy, you can keep your gear fresh and deodorized well into your boxing career.

Boxing gloves call for care and maintenance, just like other martial art equipment. If you’re serious about getting your gear to last longer and smelling good as new, then it’s a no-brainer that proper cleaning is mandatory. Without further ado, let’s explore how to clean boxing gloves the right way.

Why Do Boxing Gloves Smell After a While?

When sweaty boxing gloves are not cleaned and deodorized after a workout, bacteria from your hands is transferred to them, after which they emanate a foul smell. To avoid this, you can take some preventative measures to diminish the formation of bacteria that stem from odors.

For instance, preventative cleaning is the trick to fresh-smelling and long-lasting gloves. Using reputable products and frequent deodorization and sanitization methods is the key to maintaining clean gloves and keeping them in tiptop condition.

Let’s delve into a few hacks you can incorporate into your routine to keep your gloves fresh and clean.

  • Let your gloves air out after each training session. For optimal results, we recommend blowing a fan at them for 30 minutes or more. Odor-triggering bacterium can flourish in humid and hot environments and then multiply, which is why you should always strive to keep your gloves dry.
  • Avoid keeping your gloves tucked away in your gym bag until the next use. After a sweaty training session, bacteria start building up. Therefore, gloves that are tossed into a gym bag are riddled with bacteria and will cause your gloves to emit a bad smell after a while.
  • Avoid relying on a washer and dryer to get your gloves spick and span. Although they’ll get clean and smell fresh, the texture of your gloves will be ruined.

Failure to air out your boxing gloves after each workout means the gloves will inevitably reek. Once that happens, you must clean them immediately; otherwise, the odor will become stronger and more difficult to eliminate.

Preventative Measures

Given that boxing gloves are a worthwhile investment, keeping them clean will boost their lifespan. Besides positively impacting longevity, cleaning your gloves will keep nail and skin infections at bay.

Gloves that are bacteria-free will keep you punching longer and harder. By taking care of your equipment with frequent cleaning, it’ll reward you with good service for years down the road.

Nonetheless, we can’t deny that cleaning boxing gloves can be tedious, which is why we’ve rounded up a few easy and quick ways to keep them deodorized and clean.

1. Leave Them to Dry Completely

Drying your gloves after each training session is crucial. Germs and bacteria require moisture and heat to thrive. By drying your gloves after each workout and before the next use, germs and bacteria will be killed.

In turn, it gets rid of the odor. To dry your gloves properly, hang them in a well-ventilated area or place them right in front of a fan.

2. Wipe Your Gloves Down After Each Workout

Another preventative measure you can take to keep your gloves clean and smelling fresh is to use a paper towel to wipe the outside and inside of your boxing gloves after each training session.

By doing so, you’ll eliminate excess moisture that would otherwise prove to be the perfect breeding ground for germs and bacteria. You can also wipe them down with a disinfectant wipe.

3. Avoid Putting Boxing Gloves in Your Duffle Bag

Most people stuff their gloves back into their gym bag right after each workout session. Consequentially, that allows bacteria to flourish. After every use, avoid tucking away your boxing gloves in your duffle bag.

Instead, carry them home and leave them to air dry before you use them again. If you put them into your bag when you leave the gym, you may forget to remove them so they can air dry when you get home.

4. Wear Hand Wraps

A hand wrap serves as a sponge that effectively absorbs moisture from the padding in your boxing gloves. Although this method gets the job done, the hand wrap must be cleaned; otherwise, it can also begin emitting a foul smell.

5. Use Deodorizer Spray or Disinfectant

Athletes usually spray disinfectant sprays or deodorizers in their boxing gloves and other workout equipment to keep them in tiptop condition. They prevent the buildup of bacteria and germs that cause the gloves to emit an odor.

How to Clean Boxing Gloves

Brown Boxing Gloves
Image Credit: Pexels

Although you can implement these stringent preventative measures, your boxing gloves can still develop an odor and become filthy. When that happens, here are a few ways to clean them.

1. An Antibacterial Spray

An antibacterial spray can eliminate the buildup of bacteria and germs, particularly when your boxing gloves have become overly dirty and developed a stench. Once you use the antibacterial spray on them, leave them to air dry to get them smelling fresh. The same technique is useful in cleaning Air Force Ones or Timberlands the right way.

2. Soak in Saltwater

Saltwater is another great cleaning method to use. However, first, ensure your boxing gloves are designed to withstand saltwater because if not, the materials will corrode, and that’s the last thing you need. If so, you can soak the gloves overnight in a saline solution to effectively kill the germs and bacteria causing the odor, leaving them smelling fresh and ready for use again.

3. Stuffing

You can stuff your gloves with small cotton bags that contain cedar chips (glove dogs) to suck out the bacteria and restore freshness. Glove dogs also dry out the gloves by absorbing excess moisture. Besides boosting the lifespan of your boxing gloves, stuffing prevents the buildup of odor-causing bacteria.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Besides cleaning duffle bags, shoes, and punching bags, apple cider vinegar is a lifesaver for getting boxing gloves smelling fresh. To get started:

  • Pour one or two tablespoons of vinegar into your hand.
  • Rub the vinegar inside each glove.
  • Leave the gloves to air-dry overnight, after which the odor will be gone.
  • For gloves with a strong stench, you may need to repeat the process a few more times to remove the odor.

5. Baking Soda

Baking soda is typically the go-to for cooking. However, you may not realize that it can also prove to be the best thing to use when cleaning and deodorizing your boxing gloves.

To get started, you’ll need paper towels, baking soda, and a pair of old socks. Next, follow the steps below.

  • Use paper towels to properly wipe the inside and outside of your gloves.
  • Pour a generous amount of baking soda into each sock and tie a knot to prevent spillage.
  • Stuff each glove with a sock and leave it for up to 24 hours (or longer if necessary). The socks will absorb the excess moisture and bacteria causing the odor, leaving the gloves clean and smelling fresh.

Bottom Line

Keeping your boxing gloves clean and smelling fresh isn’t rocket science. With these straightforward and quick preventative measures and easy cleaning techniques, your gloves will reward you by serving you well for longer than expected.

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