Keeping your boxing gloves clean and smelling fresh requires conscious effort. But it’s gonna benefit you (and your health) in the long run.
Check out these steps to clean, disinfect, and freshen up your most important professional boxing equipment.
Wash Your Hands Before Bour Boxing/Training Session
The first and most important step to keeping your boxing gloves clean is to make sure your hands are clean.
It also follows that your hand wraps should be clean and fresh too. Ideally, you only want to use one pair of hand wraps per training session. If you train a lot or daily, it makes sense to have several pairs.
After washing with soap and water, dry your hands properly and apply alcohol or sanitizer before putting them inside your gloves.
Let It “Breathe”
After each training session, you want to air out your gloves. This is a critical step that you shouldn’t skip.
As you deliver forceful blows during a sparring or workout session, your hands are likely to get soaked in sweat. And as you know – bacteria thrive in moist environments. You might notice that after just a few hours, your damp boxing gloves are starting to stink.
Here’s how you can properly air-dry your gloves:
- Open the gloves as wide as possible. Fold the wrist straps back. Some gloves have really flexible wrists that you can cuff the glove over itself.
- If you’re using Velcro gloves, make sure to undo the Velcro strap completely.
- Hang your gloves in a well-ventilated area. Do not place them under direct sunlight so you don’t ruin the leather.
Drying your gloves should be a part of your training routine. Even if you don’t sanitize your gloves religiously, you should dry them to lessen the growth of bacteria.
Wipe Them Down
Don’t forget to clean the exterior surfaces of your gloves too.
As you punch the sweaty limbs of your sparring partner or that filthy heavy bag, your gloves serve as “magnets” of bacteria. After each use and before storing your gloves, wipe them down with a clean microfiber cloth and alcohol. You can use disinfectant wipes.
A safe and effective alternative cleaner is vinegar and water solution. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water and pour the mixture in a cleaning spray.
Use Antibacterial Spray
For convenient cleaning and yes – for your peace of mind – antibacterial spray comes in handy.
Make sure to buy one that’s designed for sports equipment. You don’t want to ruin your precious gloves. Disinfectant sprays will eliminate most odor-causing bacteria and fungi that cause skin irritation and funky smell. Depending on how often you use your gloves, you can spray them once every two weeks to keep them smelling fresh.
Stuff Your Gloves With “Deodorizing” Inserts
When not in use, keep your gloves fresh by using deodorizing inserts. These things work by absorbing moisture.
You can either buy or make one. Here are your best options:
- Cedar chips. Put the chips in a clean sock, tie the end and place it inside your glove.
- Newspaper. Stuff your gloves with newspaper. It doesn’t just absorb excess moisture, it also keeps the gloves propped open to allow air inside.
- Store-bought deodorizers. You can buy deodorizing pads for your gloves. Most of these products are washable and reusable.
- Baking soda. Known for its odor-killing properties, baking soda is an inexpensive way to deodorize your gloves. Just sprinkle a bit inside your gloves. Let it sit for a few hours and remove by holding the gloves (opening facing down) and clapping them together.
Give It A Deep Clean
Using antibacterial spray and wiping your gloves are not enough to keep it fresh and clean.
Occasionally, you want to give it a deep clean too. Tossing your gloves in the washing machine might sound tempting. But you don’t want to do it or your precious gloves will shred into pieces. To wash your gloves, just soak them in warm, soapy water. Gently rub the surfaces with a microfiber towel to remove dirt and debris. Rinse well. Make sure to dry your gloves properly before storing or using them.
Do not use strong cleaners or chemicals that can ruin the leather parts of your gloves. Drying your gloves may take a while (several hours to over a day), depending on the weather and how ventilated the area is. If you still feel some moisture inside, you can blow-dry it (in low to medium settings) to speed up the process.
Consider having alternate gloves so you can deep clean each pair without missing any training session.
Store It Properly
You might be too tired to even put your gloves in the bag especially if you’re training at home. But if you care about using clean and fresh gloves all the time, proper storage is a part of the process.
Don’t put your gloves in your gym bag. It will only encourage bacteria to spread. Have a dedicated bag for your boxing gloves. As much as possible, use a mesh-type bag. If you don’t have time to air dry your gloves in the gym after use, stuff them with newspaper or deodorizing inserts. Once you get home, remove the inserts and air-dry the gloves.
A pair of clean and fresh gloves is possible with a few steps. It might feel like added work in the beginning but as you get used to the routine, you will thank yourself.