To clean boxing gloves, use a leather cleaner or disinfectant spray. Open them up and let them air dry. To remove odors, put the gloves in the freezer overnight. Or fill a sock with cedar chips and leave inside the gloves for a few hours.
Ok, now that you have a rough idea of what to do, let's look at how to clean boxing gloves in a little more detail.
What to use to clean boxing gloves
To clean your boxing gloves you will need:
If you want to get rid of odors, then depending on which method you choose you may also need:
Check whether your boxing gloves are leather or synthetic
A lot of the cleaning advice out there relates to cleaning synthetic boxing gloves. If your boxing gloves are synthetic, then you don't need to worry too much about this. But, it's far too easy to ruin a pair of good leather boxing gloves by following the advice for cleaning synthetic gloves.
Good quality boxing gloves aren’t cheap and you don't want to ruin a pair of perfectly good gloves by following the wrong type of advice. So, to make sure you’re cleaning your boxing gloves the right way, check out the section on cleaning leather gloves below.
How to clean the outside of boxing gloves
You should be wiping the outside of your boxing gloves after every use. Your gloves will pick up sweat and bacteria from pads and punching bags, as well as dead skin cells and even blood.
The more people you spar with, the more bacteria your gloves come into contact with. You're also probably touching your own face with your gloves while you're blocking, so it's really important to keep them clean for hygiene reasons.
If your gloves are leather, then cleaning after every use not only helps to get rid of the bacteria but also helps keep the leather soft and supple, which means they will be less likely to crack.
Well -looked-after gloves last longer, so it's well worth putting the time in to keep them in peak condition.
Ideally, you should wipe leather gloves down with a leather cleaner. If you have synthetic gloves you should be fine spraying them with a disinfectant spray. Just wipe it off with a cloth after you spray.
Whether your gloves are leather or synthetic, you should be ok wiping them down with an antibacterial disinfectant wipe. However, try not to do this too often if your gloves are leather because the wipes contain chemicals that can damage the leather if used excessively.
If you're using a leather cleaner, make sure you wipe it all off completely and then apply a leather conditioner. This is a 2-minute job and is definitely worth doing to avoid cracks and splits.
If you don't have a leather cleaner, then you should at the very least wipe your gloves down with a damp (not too wet) cloth.
Don't use Vaseline or similar products on your gloves, they only work in the short-term and they don't properly condition the leather.
How to clean inside of boxing gloves
Moisture is the enemy here, so the aim of the game is to do anything you can to keep the inside of your gloves as dry as possible.
If you want to keep the inside of your boxing gloves clean, you'll need to use hand wraps. Wear them, wash them and don’t keep them in your gloves when you aren’t wearing them.
Wash hand wraps after each use. They need to be fully dry before you use them again.
You can put hand wraps in the washing machine, but they can sometimes go wrinkly in the dryer so it might be best to air dry them.
Unlace your gloves or open them out in between uses. You can use a microfiber cloth or towel to wipe the insides, soaking up any moisture. It's also fine to use a disinfectant spray on the inside of your gloves (as long as you're not touching any leather) and then let them air dry.
You can actually buy sports bags that have mesh sections, or that are made completely out of mesh. These are great for airing out your gloves after training and therefore minimizing nasty smells.
To help eliminate the moisture inside your gloves, you could try using silica gel packs (put them inside a sock first) or even balled up newspaper.
Some people find using silica dries out their gloves too much so you might want to try just throwing a couple of the silica gel packs into your gym bag to help with general moisture control.
You can also buy glove deodorizers that pop inside your gloves and soak up the moisture.
How to avoid smelly boxing gloves
When dealing with odors in your gloves, prevention is better than cure. That means using hand wraps and airing your gloves out regularly.
Here are 5 awesome tips to help you avoid dealing with super-smelly boxing gloves.
How to deal with smelly boxing gloves
If your gloves are already stinking out the gym, then here are a few tips to help you get rid of that awful stench.
A little trick you can do is to fill a sock with cedar chips and put it inside your glove. You need to leave them for at least a few hours or overnight if you can.
Cedar chips naturally absorb and eliminate odors, so this works really well. But be careful not to pack in too many cedar chips, as you could end up stretching the leather.
Whatever you do, don't spray the outside of your boxing gloves with an odor removal spray. This will just harden the leather and ruin your gloves. You can spray the inside if you’re careful.
Another tip is to soak your freshly washed hand wraps in water with a few drops of tea tree oil added. Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties and therefore should help to keep bacteria under control. Make sure you let them dry out fully before you use them.
Freezing boxing glove
The freeze and thaw method works by reducing the amount of odor-causing bacteria on your gloves.
If you have plenty of room in your freezer, try this method for getting rid of the smell.
You'll need 2 sealable freezer bags that are big enough to fit a glove in each.
First, clean your gloves and disinfect them using a spray. You can create your own disinfectant spray by mixing equal parts of rubbing alcohol, white vinegar and water.
If the insides smell really badly, spray them well and open them right up, then leave them to air dry before you continue.
When they are fully dry, put one glove into each freezer bag and leave them in the freezer overnight.
Let your gloves return to room temperature, then decide if you need to repeat the process. each time you do this you will kill more of the bacteria, which should lessen the smell.
You may want to do this 4 or 5 times to get the best results.
Bacterias grow and develop quickly, so to keep odors under control, you may need to make this part of a regular cleaning routine.
How to clean leather boxing gloves
If you have leather gloves then you'll need cleaning products that are designed to be used on leather. You can pick up kits that usually come with a cleaning spray and a conditioning cream or leather balm starting at around $10 to $15.
Basically, you’ll need to get yourself a leather cleaner and a leather conditioner. You can buy leather cleaning wipes that claim to clean and condition in one, but I have never used them so I don't know how good they are.
All you need to do is spray your gloves with the cleaner, wipe it off with a microfiber cloth, then apply the cream or balm and buff it off with a soft cloth.
If you look after your leather boxing gloves properly then they will not crack, split, or peel and should last you for years.
Some people recommend that you dry your gloves in direct sunlight. This might be fine if your gloves are synthetic.
However, leaving leather gloves out in the sun can cause the leather to dry out and crack so I would advise against this.
It's much better to hang your gloves up somewhere (outside in the shade if you can), or put them close to an open window.
If you don't have time to air dry your gloves, you can use a hairdryer. But use it on the cool setting if you don't want the leather to stretch or crack.
How to clean boxing gloves with vinegar
Some people don't like to use vinegar to clean their boxing gloves because they are not keen on the smell. But, if you don't mind the smell of vinegar then using it to clean your gloves can work out much cheaper than using specialized cleaning products.
How to do it:
You don't need to use a spray bottle, but it is much easier to apply the solution if you do.
Although you can use white vinegar to wipe over your leather gloves, it is much better to use a specialized leather cleaning product to increase durability.
If you're in a rush, then you can use a hair dryer on a cool setting instead of letting them air dry.
Can I wash my boxing gloves in the machine?
I know that is super tempting to put your boxing gloves in the washing machine. Throwing your gloves in the machine is quick, it's easy and it's no hassle, right?
Do not, I repeat, do not put your boxing gloves in the washing machine!
Soaking boxing gloves Is never a good idea. Although there's a VERY slim chance that you may get away with it if your gloves are synthetic and you use the coolest possible setting, soaking leather gloves stretches them out and ruins them completely.
Putting your gloves in the washing machine could also result in them tearing or splitting.
So, save yourself some stress, and use a disinfectant spray, a specialized leather cleaner or some disinfectant wipes instead of putting your gloves in the machine to clean them.
Now you know everything there is to know about how to clean your boxing gloves to keep them looking good smelling good and lasting as long as possible.
So what are you waiting for? Go clean those nasty gloves!