| 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 ensure your boxing gloves have been properly cleaned 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 gloves with a damp towel to ensure that sweat doesn’t get absorbed into the gloves. 
  • Wipes or antibacterial spray: Keep a pack of antibacterial wipes or a bottle of antibacterial spray on hand to use on sweaty gloves. This will eliminate any bacteria and keep your gloves clean. 
  • Water and apple cider vinegar solution: Mix together a half-half solution of apple cider vinegar and water and wipe down your gloves with this solution.
  • Deodoriser: Use a natural deodoriser to eliminate bad odour and bacteria. 
  • Air out: After your gloves have been wiped down, set them out to air in a spacious, airy room or in front of a fan. It’s important to keep your gloves dry 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 extend the life of your gloves. 
  • 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: Just like a washing machine, a tumble dryer will also rip up your gloves.
  • Sun: Don’t dry your gloves in the sun for long periods of time as this will eventually ruin the material and will cause cracks in your gloves. 
  • Freeze: Do not freeze your gloves 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: Stay away from strong chemicals as they will only end up damaging your gloves in the long run. 

Other important care tips to remember: 

  • 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 you wash your hand wraps after using them. 
  • Wash hands/hand sanitizer: Wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer right before putting on your boxing gloves to minimise the bacteria being transferred from your hands to your gloves. 
  • Don’t put gloves in your gym bag: After using your gloves, make sure you don’t put them in your gym bag, which will only cause bacteria to grow due to the dark and cramped space. Pack them into a plastic bag 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 care instructions. Your boxing opponent and your hands will thank you!