how to clean boxing gloves

How to Clean Boxing Gloves?

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. 

So, how does one accomplish such feat as effectively removing the horrible stinky-feet odor from their boxing gloves? 
Excellent question. Continue reading if you want to discover how to clean your boxing gloves.
There are many different methods and some are tailored to specific glove materials, so it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with what your glove is made out of before trying any of the following cleaning methods.

Why do gloves smell so bad?

The odor of bacteria multiplying is what stinking gloves smell like. You read that correctly: bacteria breeding. Whether you like them or not, your gloves are an ideal bacterial breeding ground because you’ll be sweating profusely during each workout, and moisture stimulates bacterial development. 
To make matters worse, many individuals throw their gloves in bag just after using them, which provides breeding ground for bacteria, leading your gloves to stink even more.
This is the case because bacteria and hazardous germs thrive in dark, warm surroundings. You may avoid smelly odors by keeping your boxing gloves clean and dry. Here are a few simple tips for keeping your gloves clean and smelling good.

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

Hand wraps are one of the greatest ways to absorb sweat in your gloves and keep them from becoming wet. 
Hand wraps will absorb moisture from cushioning the inside of your boxing gloves like sponge. 
This procedure is  effective, but you must clean your hand wraps regularly regularregular basis. 
Otherwise, they will begin to stink, causing your gloves to stink as well.
Read our list of Best Boxing hand wraps here and if you don’t know how to use a hand wrap, we have a video explaining how to wrap your hands here
Our Pick
Best handwraps - Hayabusa handwraps Best handwraps - Hayabusa handwraps

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)
Longevity: Up to 12 months with moderate use
02/18/2024 11:45 pm GMT

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

Our Pick
Meister glove dogs - Best Glove Deodorizer

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.

  • Multiple fragrance choices
  • Long lasting
  • Some users that are sensitive to strong fragrance have found it bothersome
Buy Now Check on Amazon
02/18/2024 05:04 am GMT

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 huge empty container halfway with saline water.
  • Dip your gloves into the liquid.
  • Allow them to dry overnight and the next morning in 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.
Our Pick
Recommended spray for boxing gloves
$35.99 ($0.75 / Ounce)

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

Buy Now Check on Amazon
02/18/2024 03:10 pm GMT

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

One of the most adaptable items on the market has to be apple cider vinegar. 
It may be used to clean variety of items, including purses and shoes, in addition to assisting weight loss and adding flavor to popular foods. 
Apple cider vinegar is also useful for cleaning boxing gloves and getting rid of odors. 
In pinch, it’s quick and effective way to freshen your gloves.
  • tablespoon apple cider vinegar, poured into your hand or onto clean towel
  • It should be thoroughly rubbed inside your gloves.
  • Allow your boxing gloves to dry in well-ventilated place overnight.
In the morning, your gloves should no longer stink, but if they do, repeat the process.

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!

Recommended Dryer

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

Buy Now Check on Amazon
02/18/2024 03:34 am GMT


You don’t have to overthink taking care of your boxing gloves because it’s not science exam. 
In fact, after hard training session, simply putting your gloves out in the open to the air and giving them quick clean down is generally enough to leave them smelling fresh.

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!

Discover knockout gifts for combat sports fans and enthusiasts on our Gifts Page, just in time for the holiday season and Amazon Prime Day. Get ready to surprise your favorite fighters with the perfect presents they’ll love! You can’t go wrong with any of these gifts, they are all unique and made for people who love combat sports!

Looking to buy other boxing products, for boxing visit the following best list articles best boxing headgear, best boxing gloves overall, best boxing gloves for competition, best boxing shoes and best boxing shorts. We also have some great reviews written by experts for MMA & BJJ enthusiasts as well, best MMA gloves, best MMA headgear, best BJJ headgear, best BJJ accessories & best BJJ knee brace.

For those who of you that practice combat sports for fitness, here are some must have products best free standing punching bags, best supplements, best martial arts weapons.

For some of us that love good products without having to break the bank best boxing gloves under $100, best boxing shoes under $99, best boxing headgear under $50, best boxing bags under $50.

For brand related articles, check Best Hayabusa | Best Winning | Best Everlast | Best Cleto Reyes | Best RDX | Best Rival | Best Venum | Best Ring to Cage

Amazon Prime Day Deals for Boxing

Similar Posts

BoxingGlovesReviews is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. You will be supporting our small operation by buying through this website, as we get a small percentage of the sales. Thank you!

One Comment

  1. Great advice! Definitely very important to wrap your hands before wearing the gloves so the wraps can soak up sweat that would otherwise make its way into your gloves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.