| Maxim Claes

How to Clean Boxing Gloves

Glove care is often one of the most overlooked parts of boxing, however taking some extra time to clean boxing gloves will eliminate the risk of skin infections and irritation. 

Dirty boxing gloves can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria and germs due to the build up of sweat, which is why it’s important to thoroughly clean your boxing gloves after every use. 

The most effective ways to clean your boxing gloves include: 

  • Wipe down with a damp towel: Straight after you finish boxing, wipe down your boxing gloves with a damp towel to ensure that sweat doesn’t get absorbed into the gloves. 
  • Wipes or anti bacterial spray: Keep a pack of antibacterial wipes or a bottle of antibacterial spray on hand to use on sweaty boxing gloves. This will kill bacteria and keep them clean. 
  • Water and apple cider vinegar solution: Mix together a half-half solution of apple cider vinegar and water and wipe down your boxing gloves with this solution.
  • Deodoriser: Use a natural deodoriser such as baking soda to eliminate bad odour and bacteria, and make your gloves smell nice. 
  • Air out: After your boxing gloves have been wiped down, let your gloves air dry by setting them out to air in a spacious, airy room or in front of a fan. It’s important to let your gloves dry completely as bacteria will continue to grow in damp gloves. 
  • Glove dogs: Glove dogs are little cotton bags which are filled with cedar chips and are placed into boxing gloves to draw out the bacteria. They can keep your boxing gloves clean, odor free and more durable. 
  • Soak them: Occasionally soak your boxing gloves in a bucket of soapy water. (Depending on the product manufacturer’s care instructions). 

Things NOT to do when cleaning your gloves include:

  • Machine wash: Although you may be tempted to throw your gloves into the washing machine to save time and to ensure that they're completely clean, the washing machine will only destroy your gloves. 
  • Dryer: Always keep your gloves out of the dryer, as just like a washing machine, a tumble dryer will also rip up your gloves
  • Sun: Don’t allow your gloves to dry in the sun for long periods of time as this will eventually ruin the material and will cause cracks in your gloves. 
  • Freeze your gloves: Do not keep your gloves in the freezer overnight as although it might get rid of the bad smell, it will cause the bacteria to lie dormant instead of eliminating it. 
  • Don’t use strong chemicals: Many people think that strong chemicals can help clean your gloves more quickly. However, stay away from strong chemicals as they will only end up damaging your gloves in the long run. 

Other important care tips to remember to keep your gloves clean:

  • Hand wraps: Using hand wraps when you box will ensure that most of the sweat is absorbed instead of building up inside your gloves. Make sure to wash your hand wraps after using them. Otherwise they will start to stink.
  • Wash hands/hand sanitizer: Wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer right before putting on your boxing gloves to kill bacteria and minimise the bacteria being transferred from your hands to your gloves. 
  • Don’t put your gloves in your bag: After every training session, make sure you don’t put your boxing gloves in your gym bag, which will only cause bacteria to grow due to the dark and cramped space. Pack them into a plastic bag after use instead.
  • Don’t air gloves out in the sun: Don’t leave your gloves out in the sun for longer than 30 minutes at a time, as prolonged exposure can lead to cracks being formed and the material being ruined (especially if your gloves are made from leather). 
  • Be mindful of boxing glove material: Not all cleaning solutions are going to work on every pair of boxing gloves. The type of antibacterial spray or wipes you use will depend on the material and make of the gloves. It is best to follow the product manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to prolong the life of your gloves. 
  • Alternate gloves: Have an extra pair of gloves on hand so you can alternate the use of your gloves and let them air out properly after using and cleaning them. 

While you may not defeat your boxing opponent with smelly boxing gloves, you certainly won’t be winning any friends either! Say goodbye to bad smells and skin infections when you follow these simple instructions on how to clean boxing gloves. Your boxing opponent and your hands will thank you!