how to clean boxing gloves

How To Clean Boxing Gloves

Picture this: you’ve just finished an intense boxing session, feeling the rush of adrenaline coursing through your veins. As you put off your boxing gloves, you’re hit with an overpowering stench that makes you crinkle your nose in disgust. It’s the smell of dirty, sweat-soaked boxing gloves. You know, that rotten milk in a hot summer sun smell. 

Are you experiencing this? Our guide on how to clean boxing gloves has got you covered. From preventive care tips to effective cleaning methods, we’ll help you eliminate odors and keep your boxing gloves fresh.

how to clean boxing gloves


The primary reason behind the smell in boxing gloves is the moisture generated by sweat during workouts. As sweat accumulates in the gloves and remains trapped, it creates an environment where bacteria flourish, leading to an unpleasant smell. Additionally, storing gloves in closed bags or confined spaces further increases the issue as it restricts airflow and hinders the drying process.

Preventive Care

To prevent your boxing gloves from turning into odor bombs it’s crucial to take proactive measures and create a maintenance routine. In this section, we’ll explore several preventive care techniques.

1. Drying the Gloves

Leaving your boxing gloves in a well-ventilated area or exposing them to sunlight (not too much) will help in the evaporation of sweat and discourage bacterial growth. So don’t throw your sweaty boxing gloves into a bag right after use! Allow them to air out first so the sweat can dry out which prevents the unpleasant odor from taking hold.

2. Wiping Gloves

Wipe your boxing gloves inside and out with a clean towel. Wipe down the inside and outside of your gloves after each session. This simple practice helps remove excess moisture and reduces the chances of bacterial buildup. It’s difficult too literally clean the inside, but absorbing some sweat will do.

And don’t forget to wash the towel you clean your boxing gloves with 😉

3. Using Hand Wraps

Wearing hand wraps before putting on your boxing gloves serves as an extra layer of defense against sweat infiltration. The wraps act as a shield, absorbing moisture and reducing the chances of bacterial growth.

Don’t forget to clean your hand wraps regularly to prevent them from also developing an unpleasant smell. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for washing or consider using cleaning and deodorizing sprays for boxing gear.

Source: WBCME

4. Washing Hands

Prior to putting on your boxing gloves, ensure that your hands are clean. Proper hand hygiene minimizes the introduction of bacteria into the boxing gloves, helping to maintain a fresh and odor-free environment.

Using hand sanitizer can be a suitable alternative. Apply a generous amount of sanitizer, rubbing it thoroughly across your hands until they are dry.

Stay tuned for the next chapters to discover effective methods for cleaning your boxing gloves and additional tips on maintaining their freshness and longevity.

Methods for Cleaning Gloves

Now that we’ve covered preventive care techniques, let’s explore six methods for effectively cleaning your boxing gloves when they already have an unpleasant smell.

1. Anti-bacterial Spray

Cleaning and deodorizing spray can help prevent the stinky smell, but also eliminate it. Apply the spray generously to the inside and outside surfaces of the gloves, targeting areas where sweat tends to accumulate.

After applying the spray, let your gloves dry naturally in a well-ventilated area. This process helps kill bacteria and therefore eliminate the unpleasant smell.

2. Saltwater Soak

Create a solution by mixing salt and warm water in a container or bucket. Put your boxing gloves in the solution, ensuring they are fully wet. Let them soak overnight to allow the saltwater to break down bacteria and neutralize odors.

After the overnight soak, remove the boxing gloves from the saline solution and let them air-dry in a well-ventilated area. Avoid too much sunlight or excessive heat as this can damage the gloves.

3. Freezing Gloves

Seal your boxing gloves in a plastic bag and place them in the freezer overnight. The extreme cold temperature will kill bacteria and neutralize the odor.

Once you take the gloves out of the freezer, allow them to defrost and air-dry naturally. This step helps evaporate any remaining moisture and ensures the gloves are ready for use.

4. Stuffing Gloves

Fill your gloves with absorbent materials such as newspapers, paper towels, or even a bar of soap. These items help absorb moisture and odors, keeping your gloves fresh and dry.

Another option is to use cotton bags filled with cedar chips. Cedar has natural anti-bacterial properties and can help eliminate odor-causing bacteria.

Lastly, placing dryer sheets inside your gloves can help combat unpleasant odors as well. The sheets absorb moisture and release a fresh scent, leaving your gloves smelling clean and pleasant.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Dampen a clean cloth or sponge with apple cider vinegar and gently rub the solution onto the inside and outside of your boxing gloves. Let the gloves air-dry completely, allowing the vinegar to neutralize bacteria and eliminate odors.

If the odor persists after the initial treatment, repeat the apple cider vinegar and drying process until the smell is completely eliminated.

6. Baking Soda

Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda into your dry gloves, ensuring that it reaches all areas. Let the baking soda sit inside the gloves for a few hours, allowing it to absorb moisture and neutralize odors.

After the designated time, shake out the gloves to remove the baking soda. Give them a quick wipe with a clean cloth to remove any residual baking soda.

Source: WikiHow

Washing Machine?

While it may be tempting to toss your boxing gloves into the washing machine for a quick clean, don’t. Washing machines can be too harsh for the delicate structure of boxing gloves, potentially causing damage to the padding. Your wrists (and the face of your sparring partner) will notice it.

To keep your boxing gloves in optimal condition, it’s best to use the preventive and cleaning methods as described in this how to clean boxing gloves guide.

Final Words

In conclusion, maintaining clean and odor-free boxing gloves is essential for a hygienic and enjoyable boxing experience. We hope these preventive and cleaning tips helped you learn how to clean boxing gloves.

If you as a boxer has other tips for cleaning boxing gloves, let us know. We are eager to learn from your experience, too. We strongly believe that helping each other in this community is crucial in becoming a better fighter! Thank you!

If this guide helped you out, check out more boxing-related content here!

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