Boxing gloves are an essential part of a boxer's training equipment, but their frequent use, combined with sweat and moisture, can lead to the development of unpleasant odors, making it important to take steps to prevent and address this issue.
While cleaning your boxing gloves may not be the most thrilling part of working towards your training or fitness goals, it is one of the most important. Not only do dirty gloves breed bad odor but they can also lead to bacterial overgrowth.
If you're serious about boxing, you’ll want to make regular cleaning a priority to avoid breeding health problems down the line. Lucky for you, cleaning your boxing gloves is a simple process that requires only soap and water—and below, we show you the technique.
#1 Wash in Warm Water
No matter the material of your boxing gloves, you don’t need a fancy anti-bacterial spray or wax to keep them in excellent shape. What’s more, bleaches and harsh soaps can damage their look and feel.
Before you suds up, look for a soap formula that’s:
Put some soap on a rag and dampen it with warm water. Then, wipe both the inside and the outside of the glove, paying special attention to any areas that may have sopped up sweat.
Here’s how to finish the job, depending on the material of your gloves:
Non-leather – Polish up the outer boxing glove (thumb included) with a damp washcloth.
- Leather – A water-soap mixture should work fine, but you may also use a saddle cleaner if you’d like a more thorough clean. Just remember that leather gloves are designed to develop a patina over time—consider that wear to be your well-deserved battle scar for all those hours you’ve racked up training.
This is the most important step to cleaning your gloves, although it’s one many people may try to shortcut. All types of boxing gloves need to dry completely before you slip them back on again.
While you’re waiting for your gloves to air dry, there are a few things you want to avoid 3 rookie mistakes in the meantime:
- Exposing them to direct sunlight
- Leaving them too close to heat sources (like the radiator)
- Putting your gloves directly back in your gym bag after you wash them. This can breed more bacteria, defeating the whole purpose of cleaning.
It may be tempting to stick your gloves in the sun or beneath a hair dryer so they dry faster, but too much light or heat can ruin the leather of your gloves. Over time, this can cause them to crack or lose their color.
Instead, help your gloves live a long life by letting them dry in a well-ventilated area overnight. Be sure to keep your gloves wide open while drying so that ventilation can access all the nooks and crannies (and you avoid developing a mildewy odor once it’s time to head back to the boxing gym).
Pro tip: If your gloves are sopping wet, try crumpling up a few newspapers to soak up some water and help them dry faster.
While regular maintenance is the only surefire way to keep your gloves in fighting form, sometimes the last thing you want to do after a brutal workout is track down the nearest soap dispenser.
For those days when you don’t have the time or energy for a complete post-train cleaning, keep a glove deodorizer in your gym bag. These are easy to use and work by putting each end of the glove deodorizer in either one of your gloves after a workout.
A glove deodorizer is exceptional for:
- Quashing bad odor
- Preventing mildew and bacterial growth
- Absorbing excess moisture
Ideally, you’ll reach for a natural, fragrance-free solution to draw excess moisture out of your gloves and keep harsh chemicals out of the equation. (Also, ever smelled of perfume on top of B.O.? Gnarly.)
#4 Try At-Home Remedies For Stubborn Odors
If you haven’t made sanitizing gloves routine and don’t think soap and water will cut it anymore, you don’t necessarily have to trade them in for a new pair! These at-home deodorizers may be worth giving a try:
Apple cider vinegar – Try mixing a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into your solution of soap and water the next time you set out to wash your gloves. The vinegar may be able to kill lingering bacteria.
Rubbing alcohol – Once a month, you may want to deep-clean with a stronger formula. Mix 1 part isopropyl alcohol (i.e. rubbing alcohol) with 3 parts water in a spray bottle. Squirt the mixture inside your gloves, wipe, and let dry. This is another (slightly stronger) bacteria-busting solution.
- Baking soda – This time-tested trick for getting that rank smell out of your fridge could also work on your boxing gloves. Post-workout, try sprinkling some baking soda inside your gloves and leave them to sit for at least an hour, preferably overnight. In the morning, shake out the baking soda and give them a sniff.
If you’ve tried all of these tricks and the grime still won’t budge, there is one final solution—and this one may be ideal for the serious, long-haul boxer.
#5 Invest in High-Quality Gloves
It’s more than materials and construction that define a pair of high-quality boxing gloves.
From temperature-regulating AG™Fabric inner linings and Vylar® Engineered Leather shells that can withstand years of wear, each pair of Hayabusa’s gloves were designed to stay in top shape whether you’re just starting to train or your game is years in the making.
Check out our boxing glove size chart and find a pair that can stand up to stench (and the competition) by browsing the collection today.
Star Wars Boba Fett Boxing Gloves
T3 Kanpeki Boxing Gloves
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Hayabusa T3D Boxing Gloves
Healthline. 6 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, Backed by Science. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-proven-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar
Healthline. 22 Benefits and Uses of Baking Soda. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/baking-soda-benefits-uses