How to Clean Boxing Gloves (In-depth Guide)

Boxing gloves are one of the many sporting gear which need some consistent cleaning and maintenance.

Most of the time they get covered in sweat and sometimes blood.

Bacteria and germs feed on sweat and moisture which later on produce bromidrosis, otherwise known as body odor.

Apart from this, most boxing gear are made of leather. Leather requires a different kind of care for maintenance.

Making sure you keep your gear clean does not only prevent them from attracting bad odor. 

In a way, you also help them last longer. Not just that, but bacteria may also cause skin allergies to some, so it is worth keeping them clean at all times.

So, how do you take good care of your boxing gears?

Preventive care

Ever heard of “prevention is better than cure”? It applies to gloves, too. You can prevent developing bacteria and germs on your gears by making sure of the following:

Step 1

Remember to not out them immediately inside your gym bag after boxing or a gym session.

The moment you put in your boxing gears, you transfer the bacteria from your hands and sweat.

The gym bag does not have enough air circulating in it, so it is the perfect place for bacteria to thrive in.

If you can bring your gear home without enclosing, then much better because they will dry off quicker and easier. The more air they are in contact with, the better.

 If you need to put them inside your training bag, make sure you do not let them sit in there for a long time. Once you get home, remember to take these out immediately.

Some people also put their gears inside a plastic bag before putting them in their bags.

This way the sweat from the gloves does not stick in and spread out on the bag as well.

Step 2

Upon removing from the gym bag, open them up and let them catch some air.

Make sure to keep your gloves dry so as not to develop a foul odor. 

You can do this by merely exposing them to air, using a fan, or keeping them in a properly ventilated area. Remember, bacteria love moist places.

Step 3 

To make sure your gloves become free from odor, you may also use anti-bacterial spray and wipe them off after.

Step 4 

Another way of making sure you prevent sweat from soaking your gears is by using a hand wrap.

Hand wraps will absorb the sweat and moisture from your hands.

However, make sure you also clean your hand wraps regularly so they will not stink, too.

Methods of cleaning boxing gloves

buddhist kid cleaning with water

Drying

You know germs and bacteria thrive in a hot and moisture environment.

Hence, you have to make sure that if you placed your gears inside the bag, you would have dry them off immediately upon arriving home.

You can dry your gears by just merely wiping the inside part with a tissue or a cloth.

More effectively, you may also air them dry. To do this, fold the wrist straps back and open up the gears as full as possible.

Then attach the wrist straps, so the gloves to keep them open.

Lay them out or hang them to dry like this in a well-ventilated room, near an open window, or in front of a fan.

Another creative way of drying your gears faster is by using the wonder of newspapers.

To do this, merely inkle up a few sheets of newspaper into two loose balls. 

Stuff one inside each glove and leave them for a couple of hours.

Check on the paper regularly, and when you notice that it has become saturated with moisture, replace it with fresh paper balls.

In drying your boxing gears, you may also use a blow dryer. This is perfect if you have a shorter time.

You may not even have the liberty to air them dry or wiping excess moisture by stuffing towel or newspaper.

In doing this, make sure that the blow dryer is in a relaxed setting. Too much heat can damage your gloves.

It may also harden the leather. Once turned on, change the blower's setting to cool, and direct the nozzle inside the opening of a glove.

Check on the moisture and when one glove is dry, repeat with the other one.

Cleaning the inside of the boxing gloves

cleaning supplies

It is essential for you to make sure that your boxing gears are cleaned thoroughly. You can do this by using a towel.

You may wrap your hand in the towel and stick the same inside your gears. 

Move your hand around to help soak up the sweat. Repeat doing this with the other glove.

After wiping out all the sweat and moisture of the inside part, you are now ready to sanitize your gears.

A wise method would be using a half-and-half vinegar and water solution.

Just transfer the solution to a spray bottle and give the inside of the gears several spritzes. 

As an alternative, you may also use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to clean your them.

Vinegar is a mild acid, which makes it a great multi-purpose cleaner.

It can be used in cleaning your boxing gears as vinegar also serves as an all-around disinfectant and deodorant.

Cleaning the outside of the boxing gloves

stone boxing gloves

After cleaning the inside part of the gloves, it’s now time to dust off the exterior.

Similarly, you may use the vinegar and water solution used on the interior. 

Make sure the amount is just enough to coat each glove with a light mist. After doing that, wipe out all excess solution, dirt, or sweat with a tissue or a cloth.

Another way of cleaning the exterior of your gears is by conditioning them. Boxing gears are generally made of leather.

Leather tends to dry out and crack over time. 

Hence, you will need a conditioner to keep the surface soft and supple and in top shape.

To properly condition the gloves, apply a small amount of conditioner or a few drops of oil to the outside of the gloves.

Gently spread out the conditioner or oil in circular motions using a cloth.

Work the oil into the entire leather. Once you are done, wipe the excess oil with a clean towel.

Mink oil, leather honey, and neatsfoot are just some of the products which stimulate the natural oils of the leather.

These are natural conditioners used to add moisture, color and add a layer of protection on leather.

Making your gloves smell good

After drying and cleaning both in and out of your gears, your next concern now is how to make your gear smell right.

You also want to maintain this good scent. Check out the following methods:

Using baking soda

You can quickly neutralize the odor brought about by bacteria with simple ingredients. One of which is baking soda.

To do this, just put baking soda inside a pair of socks. Then, insert the socks filled with baking soda inside both the gears and close the straps.

There is a simple way of disinfecting your gloves using baking soda.

Merely put a paper towel or tissue and fold it to contain the powder. More so, you can even set the baking soda directly inside your gloves. 

baking soda

It will not harm your skin and will absorb the moisture, saving you from future odor problems.

Leave the gloves stuffed with socks overnight. By the next day, the baking soda inside your socks will have absorbed not only the sweat but as well as the stinky odor.

Using Cedar Chips

Just by maximizing ingredients, you can make your boxing gear free from odor-causing bacteria.

This time you will make use of cedar chips. Cedar shavings are quite famous for removing moisture and unpleasant odors from shoes.

They give off a nice but peculiar aroma, due to the aromatic hydrocarbon compounds present in cedar chips.

 Same with the baking soda, you will need a pair of socks to do this. First, stuff both of the socks up with cedar shavings.

Tie a knot at the open end to prevent the shavings from falling out inside your boxing gloves.

After this, insert the stuffed socks inside both of the gloves. Leave the same for 24 hours.

The cedar will absorb all the sweaty moisture inside your gloves as well as that foul smell.

Using disinfectant

spray bottle painting

There is a lot of disinfectant in the market. Make sure you find the one that is effective and not too harsh for your gloves.

You may follow these steps in cleaning your gloves using disinfectant: first, mix ten drops of disinfectant liquid in a ¼ cup of water.

1. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle. You now a have a combination. 

2. Next, spray this mixture on the inside of your gloves. Let it dry after.

Some people do this daily. Although it aims to remove the odor on your gloves, this method is also used for upkeep of your gear.

Additional tips for cleaning and maintaining your gloves

Tip 1 

In drying your boxing gloves, avoid leaving them under the heat of the sun.

Sure, heat kills bacteria and prevents foul odor. However, too much sun and heat are indeed not good for leather.

If you want to dry your gloves under the sun, make sure you do not leave them unattended. Do not also expose your gloves for more than 20 to 30 minutes at a time.

Tip 2 

To make your half-and-half vinegar and water solution more useful, you can add five to ten drops of tea tree oil.

Tip 3 

You might also want to avoid harsh cleaning sprays on your gloves, as they can damage the gloves and worse, cause a reaction with your skin.

Tip 4 

Be very particular in buying a disinfectant spray. Not all are capable of killing bacteria. Some only have a pleasant scent. Read a review and always check the label.

Tip 5

For leather gloves, you may also use leather wipes to clean them. These are widely available even on auto accessories shop.

Tip 6 

Some people put their boxing gloves in a zipped baggie and put them in the freezer for 24 to 48 hours to remove the smell.

Some use baby powder to remove moisture and stench.

Tip 7 

Never use the washing machine in cleaning your gears. The problem with washing your gloves using a washing machine is that they will get loaded with so much water.

It will absorb a lot of water and moisture that it will take a lot longer for them to dry completely.

You know humidity and lack of air is where germs and bacteria usually live in.

This is why you get the foul odor from indoor drying. If you are planning to use a dryer, it may not be a great idea.

Sure, heat can kill the bacteria, but because your gloves are made of leather, this is not the best option.

The dryness brought about by high temperature will cause the leather to crack and will lead to disintegration very quickly.

Tip 8

It is also not advisable to use a silica gel for your gears. They are known for its ability to absorb and hold in moisture.

Because of this, they can also prevent molds from growing inside your gloves. 

However, the downside of using silica gel is that the humidity level might be so low.

This will eventually cause the leather to dry and crack. It is difficult to determine how long or how much to leave the silica gel inside your gloves.

Video Example

Check out this video to see the best way of cleaning your boxing gloves:

Wrap up

Cleaning your boxing gear is not rocket science. It is comfortable, simple, and does not require a lot of props. 

In a nutshell, the key to maintaining your gloves in a good state is by always letting them dry after use.

By just opening them up to air, you are doing a big thing. It will also pay off if you put in extra effort in keeping them from bad odor.

In the end, you keep your gears clean and long-lasting. 

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