Have you ever stomped around the room furiously looking for the culprits of a criminal crime only to discover that the true criminals were right over your own hands? One of the terrible realities of boxing is that, without adequate hygiene and care, your gloves can smell like a rotten egg sandwich.
Boxing gloves provide strong protection in the ring, but cleaning them is a painful afterthought. Simply said, cleaning boxing gloves defies the standard of routine washing. Cleaning them, on the other hand, is a completely different story.
Lengthy sparring sessions can be tough on your hands, so boxers will often forget that their boxing gloves need to be regularly cleaned in between uses. Dirty gloves left unattended can fester with bacteria and will eventually smell awful. Luckily there are preventative measures you can take to prevent your glove from being overtaken by harmful or otherwise bad-smelling bacteria.
For those who are unaware, conventional hand washing or machine washing will not adequately clean your boxing gloves. While machine cleaning may help, the truth is that it is more likely to harm the gloves. You can’t afford to machine wash your boxing gloves if you want to protect your investment.
Why do gloves smell so bad?
Preventive method to keep gloves clean
Take precautions to keep your boxing gloves free of bacteria and germs, since prevention is always better than cure.
1. Allow for complete drying
Allowing your gloves to dry completely after each use is critical for keeping them clean since germs and bacteria both require moisture to survive and reproduce. If you don’t dry your boxing gloves after each use, they will stink.
Hang your boxing gloves in a well-ventilated room if possible. You can also air-dry them in the sun, but make sure to check the weather forecast for rain! After each use, wipe your gloves clean. Wiping your gloves inside and out with a clean towel after usage is another great way to keep them from smelling up the place. This will significantly reduce the quantity of moisture in your gloves, preventing bacteria growth. Keep your gloves out of your bag. We’ve already mentioned that, but it’s worth repeating because it’s crucial: never put your boxing gloves in your bag right after using them. After each usage, place your gloves in a plastic bag. Remove your gloves from the plastic bag and let them air dry at home.
It’s fine to place them in your bag once they’ve finished drying.
2. Wrap your hands
Due to the ideal combination of cotton and elastane materials, these boxing hand wraps are easy to wear and provide essential stability to your hands. These hand wraps have an extra-wide hook and loop closing mechanism that makes it simple and secure to fix them in place. These wraps are very simple to keep clean and are safe for both the washer and the dryer
- The elastic is quite tough and tolerate tension while you secure your hands
- Incredibly soft material
- Includes two warps each measuring 180 inches in length
- A thumb loop design to improve fit
- Reports of color draining during wash (wash separately)
How to Clean Your Boxing Gloves?
1. The Stuffing Method
Some boxers tend to stuff their gloves with whatever they can to air them out, though some say that you should use glove dogs since they’re tailored specifically to prevent bacterial growth and increase the lifespan of boxing gloves. If you’re not familiar with glove dogs, they’re a pair of cotton bags filled with cedar chips that draw bacteria out from the inside of boxing gloves.
Just about anything can be used as an improvisational glove dog. Some boxers suggest filling the gloves with newspaper, while others recommend using a bar of soap. A few even use their socks filled with cedar chips or dryer sheets
Meister Glove deodorizers or glove dogs can be used to absorb unwanted moisture and odor from boxing gloves. With the different fragrance options, this product will leave your gloves smelling fresh with Cedar, Fresh Linen, Cologne or Lavender aroma.
2. The Saltwater Soak
One surefire way to kill all the bacteria in your gloves is to soak them in a saline solution (such as saltwater) overnight. The solution will break down and dissolve any bacteria in your gloves, though this method can be dangerous if your glove is made of materials that do not react well to saltwater.
- Fill a huge empty container halfway with saline water.
- Dip your gloves into the liquid.
- Allow them to dry overnight and the next morning in a ventilated space.
The saltwater soak is considered a superior alternative to boiling the gloves, as doing so would not only kill the bacteria inside but also damage or destroy the gloves. You can also use baking soda instead of salt for the soak.
3. The Freezer Bag or Freezing technique
One very popular way of preventing micro-organism growth in gloves is to leave them in the freezer for a few days, effectively killing most of the bacteria inside the gloves. While freezing is an excellent option because it can halt the spread of bacteria, it often leaves the gloves covered in ice, resulting in the need to “air out” the gloves for the next several days.
To offset this, many have found that placing the gloves in a plastic airtight bag prevents water from soaking the gloves while they are being frozen. This method does not necessarily kill all of the bacteria so much as to destroy most of them and leave the rest in a state of hibernation. It would be a good idea to spray the inside and outside of the gloves with either Febreze or Lysol after removing them from the freezer.
4. Spray for Boxing Gloves
Any anti-bacterial spray can help prevent bacteria from taking hold of your gloves. A simple spritz of Lysol, Febreze, or another high-strength anti-bacterial spray before and after sparring is enough to keep most bacteria at bay. This method does not have a 100% success rate, but it does decrease the overall frequency at which you’ll have to clean your gloves.
Remember, anti-bacterial sprays differ by brand, so do some thorough research into what works best before buying some for yourself. Some sprays are specifically designed for sports equipment, such as Clear Gear Disinfecting Spray. I haven’t tried this one myself, but reviews say that it doesn’t irritate the skin, which is important if you are spraying it inside your gloves.
How to use an antibacterial spray
- Unlace or unwrap your gloves first.
- Spray them with an antibacterial spray after that.
- Finally, dry them in an open, well-ventilated space.
EPA-registered, Clear Gear protects against bacteria, germs, and odors safely without any harsh chemicals like bleach, alcohol, or ammonia. Clear Gear is a water-based formula that has a low toxicity rating, is non-corrosive and perfect to clean your gloves
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, poured into your hand or onto a clean towel
- It should be thoroughly rubbed inside your gloves.
- Allow your boxing gloves to dry in a well-ventilated place overnight.
6. The Dryer
I’ve just recently decided to try one of those shoe dryers that are available on Amazon. I got myself Peet Boot/Shoe Dryer the one that had the best reviews at that time. And I have to say that it works better than I expected. Not only does it dry my shoes well, but it also works perfectly with all other boxing equipment, such as boxing shoes.
It dries my gear and eliminates the odor from constant use. Just remove the foot attachment and place gloves on the holder. I usually just keep them for 3-5 hours. But some users say that it can easily stay overnight since it’s very low heat and makes no sound. Just be careful with cheap synthetic gloves, test them first with shorter drying periods.
Though other methods can be used to clean boxing gloves, the aforementioned are both the safest and the most popular. Not all methods are safe for all gloves, so something that might work for leather gloves could potentially destroy a pair of polyester gloves. Remember to always use common sense and avoid putting your gloves or yourself at risk. Good luck and keep your gloves dry!
This Original 2-Shoe Dryer works great for your boxing shoes and gloves! It works silently by gently warming air that rises and dries footwear; No loud fans blowing hot air
Dries most footwear overnight: Drying time depends on material and saturation level; We recommend leaving shoes on the dryer overnight for best results
If you’re still having trouble cleaning your gloves after trying some of the ways suggested above, get guidance from your trainer.
How do keep boxing gloves clean?
The methods listed above have the potential to increase the lifespan of your gloves and keep them looking (and smelling) fresh and clean. Here are a few more basic tips that you might want to consider adopting into your routine. First, it’s a great idea to keep your gloves at your side or somewhere open after use. Avoid putting gloves in your gym bag after use, as the sweat you built up from the workout will allow bacteria to grow if you leave them in a tight space. Try to air out the gloves as soon as possible, preferably in the sun or under a fan.
Can I put boxing gloves in the washing machine?
I wouldn’t recommend putting gloves through your washing machine as it most likely will rip your gloves to shreds.
How often do you clean boxing gloves?
I would recommend cleaning your gloves after every session. Give them a quick wipe down and air dries them to increase their lifespan.
How to clean smelly gloves?
All the above options are useful to clean smelly gloves but I would recommend using hand wraps regularly and a glove deodorizer
Do I need to wash boxing gloves?
Yes you should clean your boxing gloves but don’t wash them in a machine as they would get spoilt easily
Have any questions or an alternative method to clean dirty gloves? Please share it in the comments section!