How to Clean Boxing Gloves: Discover the Complete Guide

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Have you ever opened your gym bag only to be greeted by the pungent smell of yesterday’s workout? The only thing in there was your boxing gloves, so they must be the culprits. We think they’re trying to tell you that they needed to be cleaned. A lack of airflow, trapped heat and moisture, and regular use all contribute to mold growth that cause that stink!

Having clean boxing equipment may not seem like a big deal, but think about how much you’re actually using them. All that sweat and other bodily fluids are now starting to sound pretty gross, right?

Neglecting your boxing gloves can lead to an onslaught of problems, both with stench and the health of you and your gym partners.

Have no fear, though. We’re going to tell you just how you can take care of your gloves and the best way to get them clean.



The Importance Of A Clean Glove

Nobody wants to be known as the person in class with the stinky gloves, who everyone tries to avoid like the plague. To avoid being stuck with this label, you’re going to want to clean your gloves regularly.

Not only will neglecting your equipment make it stink, but unwashed boxing gloves will become a breeding ground. Bacteria and mold thrive in moist environments and that makes sweaty boxing gloves the ideal place for them to call home.

This can be detrimental to both you and your opponent’s health and your glove won’t be nearly as effective.

Proper glove cleaning and maintenance isn’t as complicated as it seems. Even if they’re leather and not machine-washable, the upkeep still isn’t as tedious as you might think.



How To Properly Clean Your Boxing Gloves

Depending on what material your gloves are made of, you’ll need different methods and products to clean them. Some are marketed as machine-washable, but if they’re are leather, for example, you’ll need to take more precautions while cleaning, to preserve the quality.

Many boxers choose to clean their leather gloves with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. There are other at homemade boxing glove cleaner you can use for leather glove care as well, including using a mixture of distilled water and laundry detergent.

If machine-washing isn’t advised, you can maintain your boxing gloves by following a few guidelines.


Sweat Control

To help control sweat, it’s always recommended to wear hand wraps inside your gloves. Along with controlling sweat, this will also offer extra protection to your hands while in action. After you’re done with training, be sure to take your boxing gloves and hand wraps out of your gym bag as soon as you can. Maintaining hand wraps clean is as simple as airing them out after each training session and washing them with soap by hand or with detergent in a laundry washer.

For more information on how to properly wrap your hands for boxing, check out the YouTube video below:


Cleaning the Inside and Outer Shell

To clean the inside of your glove, spray a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar in the glove. You should then grab a clean towel and hold it in your hand as if you’re going to put your glove back on. Take the towel and wipe all around the inner part of your glove and then leave it to dry.

You can also apply your 50/50 solution to the outside of your glove to clean off any bodily fluids that make their way onto the surface during your workout.


Leather Precautions

If your boxing gloves are leather, it may be wise to invest in some leather conditioner. This will help them last longer and stay intact to ensure optimal performance for longer.


Air Drying and Proper Ventilation

Once you’ve finished cleaning boxing gloves, be sure to open them as wide as possible and then place them in a well-ventilated area to dry out. Never put them in a dryer.


Things to Consider When Cleaning Your Gloves

When giving your gloves a good clean, there are some things you should keep in mind in order to maintain their quality.


Manufacturer’s Washing Instructions

Be aware of any washing instructions supplied with your boxing gloves. Some are actually machine-washable so you won’t need to worry about a rigorous cleaning routine. If you can simply put yours through the washing machine, job done!

But what if they can’t be machine washed? Some gloves can’t handle the amount of water used in a washing machine and will be almost impossible to dry completely without mold forming.

For those gloves that can’t be put in a washing machine, use the 50/50 vinegar/water solution mentioned above to clean the inside and outside of your glove, or you can use a disinfectant wipe to wipe up the sweat and other fluids.

If you aren’t sure whether or not your boxing gloves are machine washable, it’s best to contact the manufacturer.


Never Use Alcohol on Leather

Leather gloves should never be cleaned with any detergents that contain alcohol. Not only will using alcohol discolor your gloves but, much more importantly, it will also cause cracks and tears which will deteriorate the material integrity and render your gloves useless.


Only Use Clean Towels

This should be a given but is still noted, because I know we’re all in a rush sometimes. This isn’t saying that you need to use a brand new towel after every workout, but you should be sure to wash your towels after use, so they’re clean for your next session.

Doing this will ensure that no bacteria is being traded back and forth between towel and glove.




Nobody wants to be stuck with the stinky-gloved sparring partner. But we also don’t want to ruin our boxing gloves over one simple washing mistake. Keep in mind what your gloves are made of and pay attention to the cleaning guidelines.

As long as you follow the proper washing instructions carefully and you maintain your boxing gloves after each use, they will last you a long time. Not to mention, you won’t have to worry about any unpleasant stenches coming from within them.

What type of boxing gloves do you own? Do you use any other techniques to maintain clean boxing equipment? We want to know!

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