How to Clean Boxing Gloves (Step-by-Step Guide)

Boxing gloves bear the brunt during fights. They act as shields for your face from being hit hard by your opponent. They also protect your hands by absorbing impact from throwing punches at your opponent.

As you know, wearing these gloves for extended periods during rigorous training or fighting causes your palms to sweat excessively. The sweat, combined with the warmth inside the gloves, provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.

This causes stinky gloves as well as an increased risk of skin infections. Plus you risk contaminating food and other stuff with your bare hands after removing your dirty gloves.

For these reasons, cleaning your gloves and ensuring proper maintenance won’t just keep them clean and stink-free. It will also enhance their aesthetics and increase their durability.

In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide on how to properly clean your boxing gloves and keep them smelling clean and fresh.

How to Clean Boxing Gloves (A Step-by-Step Guide)

1.  Remove the Gloves from Your Gym Bag as Soon as You Get Home

This might not seem very important but the longer you keep the gloves inside your gym bag, the more stinky they will get.

All the sweat your gloves absorbed during training or fighting will provide room for bacteria to grow, especially since the gloves provide a warm, airtight space.

And since there is no airflow inside the gym bag, leaving them longer will make both the gloves and your bag stink. 

To avoid this, remove the gloves as soon as you get home. Even better, always try as much as possible to keep them out of the gym bag especially if you don’t plan to clean them every day.

Keeping them out in the open will help air them, leaving no room for bacteria growth while drying out the sweat. You can even air them out in front of a fan. This will help reduce moisture from sweat and reduce odors.

But of course, this is just the first step into the boxing gloves cleaning and maintenance. The next step is wiping them thoroughly with antibacterial solutions to prevent bad odor and bacterial growth.

2.  Wipe the Gloves to Remove Excess Moisture

The next step is wiping the gloves with an absorbent microfiber cloth or small towel.

Your boxing gloves will absorb so much sweat that they’ll start to feel uncomfortable. That’s why it’s important to use hand wraps as they not only provide the much-needed support for your hands but also easily absorb most of the sweat.

Be sure to wear them during fighting sessions to reduce the amount of sweat in the gloves.

Wipe the gloves thoroughly with a cloth by sticking your hand inside the glove. Make sure you move your hand around so as to absorb as much sweat as possible.

Once you’re sure all the sweat is gone, move on to the next phase, which is cleaning.

3.  Cleaning the Boxing Gloves

The way you clean boxing gloves is totally different from cleaning your clothes. Why is that?

Well, unlike clothes, you cannot place the gloves inside a washing machine or dryer. This is because most boxing gloves are made with fragile materials like leather which might end up getting damaged or brittle when putting inside a dryer.

A simple glove cleaning process will include wiping the gloves with equal parts of water and vinegar.

This mixture is perfect as besides eliminating all dirt and sweat, it’s also gentle on the materials used to construct the gloves. Some cleaning sprays have been known to cause damage to gloves materials so it’s best to avoid them. Plus the solution is incredibly cheap and easy to make, so it shouldn’t be such a hassle.

During cleaning, you can either dip the cloth or cleaning towel inside the solution and then stick your hand inside to wipe away the dirt or use a spray bottle.

Because boxing gloves harbor a lot of bacteria, it’s best to mix the water-vinegar solution with any antibacterial and antifungal solution. You can either use a store-bought disinfectant or place a few drops of tea tree oil into the solution.

Tea tree oil is an excellent anti-fungal and antibacterial oil that will instantly kill and prevent the development of disease-causing microorganisms inside the gloves.

Make sure both the inside and outside are clean before drying the gloves.

NB: Some people often soak their boxing gloves in saline water in a bid to kill bacteria and remove odor. However, this is not recommended as saltwater can damage your gloves, especially if they are constructed with sensitive materials that do not react very well to saline solutions.

Boiling gloves with the same purpose is not recommended as well. Materials like leather will dry out and crack when exposed to high temperatures.

4.  Condition Your Gloves

A good majority of boxing gloves are made from leather. Leather is a very strong material and that’s why it’s commonly used to construct boxing gloves since it doesn’t get damaged easily despite constantly taking hits.

Like most leather-made products like upholstery, leather can dry out and start losing its shine. Excessive dryness means that the leather is more prone to wearing and tearing. That’s why it’s important to condition your gloves right after cleaning to keep them in good shape and make them last longer.

Simply apply a small amount of high-quality leather conditioner while the surface is still wet and spread it in a circular motion. Make sure you reach every single area covered with leather.

Wipeout any excess conditioner from the surface before drying them.

5.  Dry the Boxing Gloves

The gloves are all clean and fresh. Now it’s time to dry them.

When it comes to drying boxing gloves, there is one rule you must observe- ensuring they are completely dry before using them again.

Why is that?

If you’ve ever worn wet shoes all day long either at work or in the gym, then you must have experienced an unpleasant odor that gets worse by the hour.

You see, if you wear the gloves while they are still wet, it will take less time for bacteria to grow that they would on completely dry gloves.

It’s therefore important that the gloves are dry before attending your boxing sessions.

There are different ways to dry your boxing gloves.

Air drying is probably the easiest as all you have to do is lay them out on a well-ventilated surface like a mesh wire.

Be sure to open up the gloves as wide as possible to allow for air circulation.

Although sun-drying the gloves can help them dry faster, leaving them outside for too long can actually do more harm than good. Exposing them to too much direct sunlight will cause them to dry out excessively, causing faster wear and tear over time.

It’s best to dry them away from direct sunlight. Like you can place them under a tree shade outside or other well-ventilated areas in the house.

Another method is using a blow-dryer.

Since the insides of gloves can take longer to dry off completely, you can hasten the process by using a blow-dryer. Be sure to use the coolest setting as too much heat can damage the leather.

Alternatively, you can use shoe dryers to take the moisture off your gloves. It works for some people.

Another effective and fast way to dry boxing gloves is by stuffing newspapers inside them. The newspapers will quickly absorb moisture from the inside. Leave them for a few hours before replacing them with fresh ones.

6.  Deodorizing Boxing Gloves

Keeping your gloves fresh and odor-free all the time can be a daunting task since bacteria tend to build up really fast due to sweat.

The good news is that you can easily remove and prevent odors from forming by using odor removal methods on your gloves.

For example, you can spray the gloves with essential oils like eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint, lavender, as well as orange. These oils won’t just mask bad odors, but they will also kill disease-causing bacteria and fungi.

Another way to neutralize bad odors from your gloves is by sprinkling baking soda inside the gloves and allow it to sit for a number of hours before dumping it.

You can also slip a couple of dryer sheets inside the gloves and leave them in until your next boxing session.

Everyday Tips to Keep Your Boxing Gloves Clean and Odor-Free

If you wear your gloves every single day, sometimes it’s just not possible to clean them often. Here are a few useful tips on how you can still keep them clean and odor-free.

  • Use hand wraps- Hand wraps do a great job absorbing much of the sweat you produce, so your gloves won’t be all sweaty and smelly. And since the wraps are easy to clean and dry pretty quickly, you can replace them after every session.
  • Use a Disinfectant Spray- Using an antibacterial spray will help kill and prevent bacteria from growing inside your gloves. You can use the spray in between cleaning to prevent your gloves from stinking
  • Use a freezer bag to discourage the growth and spread of bacteria inside your gloves.

How to Clean Boxing Gloves-Wrapping it Up

Cleaning boxing gloves requires a little bit of knowledge as one small mistake can cause irreversible damage. The good news is that cleaning boxing gloves is very simple- all you need is the right procedure and you’re good to go.

Hopefully, you’ve learned how to properly clean boxing gloves so you never have to bear the shame of wearing smelly gloves again.

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