how to clean boxing gloves

How To Clean Boxing Gloves: Simple and Proven Tips For You

Boxing gloves are forced to withstand quite a deal of punishment whether during a bout in the ring or a typical training session against a heavy bag. Regardless, that punishment comes with blood and sweat. Blood and sweat breed foul odors and nasty bacteria that’s not only harmful to you, but to your opponents as well.

With a regular cleaning and maintenance routine, you can keep your boxing glove smelling fresh, bacteria-free, and lasting far longer over time. Here we have broken down some, inexpensive tips to demonstrate how to clean boxing gloves the right way to ensure your investment in gloves never goes to waste.

Air Them Out

how to clean boxing gloves

Things Needed:

  • Clothesline/clothes hanger w/ clips
  • Fan

An important step to remember about cleaning boxing gloves is letting them breathe. After you have spent some time training, for instance, you may be tempted to stuff those gloves in an oversized gym bag along with the rest of your equipment. However, doing this will bring nothing but harm to your gloves.

Gym bags lack proper airflow. Enclosed, dark environments filled with the rest of your sweat-covered gym equipment serve as a breeding ground for bacteria growth. If you absolutely must transport your boxing gloves using a bag, then get them out as soon as possible.

To help give your boxing gloves some air, try hanging them outdoors under the sun or near an open window. If that isn’t possible, another optimal method is using a fan.

When you’re airing out your gloves, you want to be sure the entire glove gets aired out. Whether your gloves or made with laces or Velcro straps, be sure to unlace them, remove the straps, and open them as much as possible. By doing this, you are giving your gloves a chance at getting a greater amount of airflow.

Soak Up the Moisture

how to clean boxing gloves

Things Needed:

  • Clean cloth/paper towel
  • Newspaper

Just like a closed-in, dark space, bacteria thrive in moist environments. Since airing them out may not get every bit of moisture, it is necessary for you to step in and finish the job. You can use a cloth or even a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture.

When doing this, remember to wrap the cloth around your hand to stick it inside the gloves. This way, you can give the inside a more thorough cleaning to get out as much of that lingering moisture as you can.

Another method for soaking up moisture is stuffing the gloves with newspaper. Newspaper naturally absorbs moisture. Just roll up a few sheets into balls, stuff inside the gloves, and leave them alone for a few hours.

Spray, Wipe and Disinfect

how to clean boxing gloves

Things Needed:

  • Clean, empty spray bottle
  • Clean towel
  • White vinegar/apple cider vinegar
  • Water
  • Tea tree oil
  • Lavender oil

When learning how to clean boxing gloves, you must remember that it’s not enough to simply wipe them down. You need to sanitize and disinfect in order to truly clean them. Boxing gloves see a lot of blood, dirt, and sweat, and an antibacterial solution is a way to go to remove that.

You can create a homemade solution using one part white vinegar or apple cider vinegar (1/2 cup) and one part water (1 cup). Mix this solution in a spray bottle and shake well before using. If you’re looking for some extra anti-fungal treatment, add about 5-10 drops of tea tree or lavender oil in the solution.

To clean the outside of your boxing gloves, spray them down generously with the solution, enough to see some sheen, and wipe them dry with a clean towel. Spray the inside of your gloves as well and pat them dry. Let them air out to further dry.

There are antibacterial cleaning solutions you can buy, but be sure to avoid anything harsh that can damage the gloves or cause reactions to your skin. Always research any store-bought cleaning solution prior to using to ensure it won’t damage your gloves.

Saltwater Soak

how to clean boxing gloves

Things Needed:

  • Sink/tub
  • Saline solution (saltwater)

A sure way to destroy harmful bacteria that fester in your boxing gloves is by soaking them in a saline solution such as saltwater. This soaking should happen overnight. All you need to do is fill a sink or tub with saltwater, leave your gloves to soak overnight, and dry them out thoroughly the next day.

Now, this simple method does work on plenty of gloves, but you must do research on the material used to make your gloves before using this method. Not all material reacts well with saltwater. Thorough research is required before using the saltwater soak technique to save you from otherwise harming your gloves rather than cleaning them.

Ice Them Up

how to clean boxing gloves

Things Needed:

  • Freezer
  • Freezer-safe bag

At first glance, freezing a pair of boxing gloves doesn’t exactly seem like an ideal cleaning method. Rest assured though, it is a rather popular one, and a simple one at that. Just toss the gloves in the freezer for a couple of days and let the cold temperature do all the disinfecting work. Make sure you use a freezer-safe bag to lessen the amount of ice accumulation your gloves will see.

After removing the gloves, you will want to air them out as they may still see some ice build-up. In addition, you can use that antibacterial spray mentioned earlier prior, after, or both before and after sticking them in the freezer. This way, you can ensure all the gloves get the ultimate disinfecting treatment.

Kill Those Foul Odors

how to clean boxing gloves

Things Needed:

  • Glove Dogs
  • Clean cotton socks (1 Pair)
  • Cedar chips
  • Baking soda
  • Fabric softener dryer sheets

Sanitizing and disinfecting your gloves is one thing. Another thing is actually getting rid of those musky odors that build-up over time. One of the easiest and quickest ways to do this is by using the time-tested Glove Dogs. These absorbent bags are inserted inside your gloves, and they fight off odors and infection.

Another method is making your own anti-odor bags. Just take a pair of clean cotton socks and fill them with about a handful of cedar chips. Cedar chips can easily be found in any pet store. Loosely tie the end of each sock, stuff one in each glove, and you’ve created your own anti-odor solution. Not only do they kill foul odors, but they can help absorb moisture and fight off bacteria.

Further odor-killing methods include baking soda and dryer seats. Baking soda is practically a universal deodorizing method. If you sprinkle some inside each glove when they’re dry and let it sit for a few hours, those gloves should come away smelling fresher. To remove the baking soda, you can use a vacuum with a small hose or shake the particles out.

Now, as for a fabric softener dryer sheet, they don’t have a way of killing bacteria or absorbing moisture, but they can be used to quickly rid bad smells. Just simply rub the inside and outside of your gloves with the sheets to leave them smelling better than before. If you want, after you go through your routine sanitizing, disinfecting, and drying of your gloves, you can leave a sheet inside each glove until you need to use them again.

Upkeep and Condition

how to clean boxing gloves

Things Needed:

  • Leather Conditioner
  • Lemon essential oil
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Clean towel

Since many boxing gloves are made using leather, they should be conditioned regularly if you truly want to increase their lifespan. You can purchase a number of leather conditioners on the market. These conditioners will help replace any oils that have been lost during the cleaning process. If you’re aren’t interested in using common leather conditioners, then the likes of lemon essential oil can do the trick as well.

Use a lint-free cloth when conditioning your gloves. Also, it can be easier to wear the glove you are cleaning in order to get the entire glove clean. Be sure the gloves aren’t damp either. Once the oil is worked into the gloves, let them stand for a few minutes before wiping them down with a clean towel.

Additional Tips to Maintain Clean Gloves

  • Too much sun can hurt. As noted before, many boxing gloves are made from leather. Like human skin, too much sun can do more harm than good. When air drying your gloves, don’t leave them unattended in direct sunlight. Also, never aim to leave them out in the sun longer than 30 minutes.
  • Avoid the washing machine. The washing machine is only ever good for destroying otherwise good gloves and sending you back to the store to buy more. Never put your gloves in the washing machine to clean them.
  • Febreze and Lysol are good only in theory. The sprays may work well with handling odors and many do have antibacterial properties. However, they tend to mask odors rather than eliminate them outright. Additionally, they may make gloves too stiff. Either product works well if you’re in a rush and need to get rid of musty odors fast, but they may not work for long.
  • Understand the material of your gloves. It cannot be stressed enough that some cleaning solutions work for some gloves and not for others. Before you try anything, you should be aware of the material your gloves are made out of and research that the cleaning solution won’t harm the gloves. If you are ever unsure, contact the manufacturer for more information.

About the Author Jason Maine

Jason Maine is the founder of FullContactWay, a blog dedicated to provide best martial arts advice and information. Jason helps his readers with martial arts training by sharing personal tips and thorough research.

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