white boxing gloves

9 Easy Ways to Clean and Protect Boxing Gloves

You’ve just finished a brutal training camp session and your gloves are soaked with sweat. You know they need to be cleaned, but you’re not sure how to go about it. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry! – you’re not alone. Many people are unsure of the best way to clean and protect boxing gloves.

In this article, we’ll show you the best way to clean your gloves so that they protect your hands longer and stay looking and smelling fresh.

Plus, I’ll give you some tips on keeping your boxing gloves in great shape for your upcoming training sessions.

So if you’re ready to learn how to clean boxing gloves like a pro, read on!

Some of the links below are affiliate links! For more information please see our disclosure policy.

9 Easy Ways to Clean and Protect Boxing Gloves
My white Casanova boxing gloves

Why clean and protect boxing gloves?

Since your boxing gloves protect your hands from nasty cuts, infections, and broken knuckles, you might want to invest a little time keeping them in fight form.

Not to mention the cost involved in replacing them.

My last pair of Cleto Reyes cost around $200!

Gloves need to be kept clean and in good condition so that they can provide you with the best protection possible and help you stay safe in the ring.

Don’t overlook the importance of keeping your gloves clean, especially if you’re training regularly or fighting in matches.

For these reasons, it’s essential to clean your gloves regularly to prevent:

9 Easy Ways to Clean and Protect Boxing Gloves
My $200 Cleto Reyes!

Sweat and bacteria build-up

One of the main reasons why it’s important to clean your boxing gloves, is to prevent the build-up of sweat, bacteria, and sloughed-off skin cells.

These substances accumulate in your boxing gloves, causing them to break down quicker and make them stink.

Stained and discolored gloves

Boxing gloves can become stained and discolored for several reasons.

The most common reason for this is due to all the sweating that goes on during a boxing match or sparring session.

As the sweat mixes with the dirt and grime on the gloves, it can leave behind gross, unsightly stains.

Another reason why boxing gloves can become stained is due to exposure to the elements. If you leave your gloves outside in the sun or rain, they can start to fade and discolor.

How to clean and protect boxing gloves properly

Prevention is key!

Cleaning boxing gloves regularly is the best way to keep them in good condition.

And, it’s important to clean them properly to prolong their lifespan and keep your boxing gloves fresh.

Here are a few of the best cleaning methods to clean your boxing gloves:

1) Use an anti-bacterial spray or disinfectant spray

This disinfecting and deodorizing spray that is SAFE to use with boxing gloves.

Using an anti bacterial spray will kill germs and smelly bacteria, which is the reason your boxing gloves smell bad in the first place.

It will also improve your own personal hygiene by eliminating harmful bacteria from your gloves.

Clean gloves equals clean hands!

There are a variety of disinfectant wipes or sprays accessible online that have been developed particularly for boxing gloves. They kill bacteria and help keep your gloves odor free.

After you’ve sprayed your gloves, allow them to air out so the gloves dry completely.

2) Use glove dogs: Glove stuffing method

These glove dogs will absorb unwanted moisture and deodorize your gloves.

Another method some fighters use is to stuff their gloves with small cotton bags filled with moisture-absorbing materials; such as cedar chips, paper towels, silica gel packets, or even newspaper. (The sports section works best.)

Some will even stuff an old, clean pair of socks for this method. The imperative word here is, clean!

Alternatively, you could also use glove dogs, which are designed to easily fit into your gloves. They will also dry and deodorize your gloves. Most have a flannel outer shell stuffed with cedar chips.

3) How to clean boxing gloves with baking soda?

Baking soda is a powerful tool in the fight against odor-causing bacteria.

Baking soda is a great way to deodorize boxing gloves, but don’t just sprinkle it into the glove.

Here’s a boxing hack that may be a bit messy, (but worth it!), as it helps with that bad smell.

  • Use an old pair of socks and fill with some baking soda (over the sink in case you spill) and tie a knot at the top of each sock.
  • Stuff one sock into each boxing glove and leave them in overnight.
  • Remove the socks and, Bam! No more stink!

4) Apple cider vinegar

ACV is an easy and inexpensive way to refresh your gloves.

Apple cider vinegar can be used as a disinfectant. It’s very good for washing boxing gloves and eliminating nasty smells.

Here is what you need to do:

  • Spoon a small amount of apple cider vinegar into the palm of your hand or make a 1/2 and 1/2 solution with water and spray into each glove with a spray bottle.
  • Massage the vinegar inside each boxing glove and let gloves air dry overnight; preferably in a location with good air circulation.
  • In the morning, your gloves should smell clean and fresh.

I like Bragg because I also use ACV as a fasting drink when I go on longer 3-5 day fasts.

5) Add essential oils to clean and protect boxing gloves

To disinfect your gloves and rid them of any bad odors, mix together a combination of tea tree and lavender oil.

Are they actually essential? No, but consider adding a blend of essential oils to disinfect your gloves and help clear the bad smells away.

As they have some antiseptic qualities, these specific oils: lavender, tea tree, and peppermint are a great natural choice to try.

To use this method:

  • Apply 5-10 drops of oil into a cup of water.

  • Dip a clean towel into the mixture, then clean the inside of the gloves.

  • Allow them to air dry sufficiently before you use them.

How often should I clean boxing gloves?

Your boxing gloves should be cleaned after every use, regardless of whether it’s a quick training session or a brutal, knock-em-down battle.

You’ll need to take care of your gloves by cleaning and air-drying them. This eliminates excess moisture and helps prevent bacteria from proliferating.

To speed up the drying process, open up your laces, or Velcro straps.

Plain and simple, cleaning regularly increases your glove’s life span!

9 Easy Ways to Clean and Protect Boxing Gloves
My white Casanova boxing gloves, laces open

Preventative care for your boxing gloves

The best way to keep your boxing gloves hygienic is to prevent them from getting too dirty in the first place.

Here are some tips on how to do this:

6) Let them dry completely

If you do carry your gloves in your gym bag, which is not recommended, be sure to remove them from your bag immediately when you get to your destination.

They need fresh air!

You’ll need to keep your boxing gloves dry in order for them to last longer, and keep your hands well protected.

It’s best to hang your gloves to air dry in a well-ventilated area or by a fan, and then store your gloves in a cool, dry place when they’re not in use.

This will keep your gloves smelling fresh!

9 Easy Ways to Clean and Protect Boxing Gloves
White Casanova boxing gloves and wraps

7) Use hand wraps to clean and protect boxing gloves

Keep a couple pairs of these machine washable wraps in your bag.

The hand wraps will work like a sponge to absorb moisture inside the gloves. Even if it’s just a training session, I recommend using hand wraps.

This is an effective method to reduce odor causing bacteria.

Just keep in mind that your hand wraps need to be clean before every use.

Luckily, you can just pop them into the washing machine and then hang the wraps over your shower rod to dry.

Wraps are cheap, so keep a few pairs so you can swap them out.

It should go without saying that washing your hands or using hand sanitizer prior to applying your hand wraps will reduce the bacteria being transferred from your hands to your gloves.

9 Easy Ways to Clean and Protect Boxing Gloves

8) Wipe your gloves out after every use

Wiping down the inside of your gloves with a clean, dry towel (or use a paper towel if in a pinch), will keep your gloves fresh and prevent bacterial growth from causing odors.

Give the outside of the glove a quick wipe while you’re at it.

Wiping down the inside of your smelly gloves with dryer sheets will leave the gloves smelling fresher but not kill the odor causing bacteria.

9) Inspect your gloves regularly for any signs of wear and tear

Replace your gloves when they become too worn or damaged. Any nicks or cracks in the leather will allow bacteria to grow.

By following these tips, you can keep your boxing gloves smelling fresh and in great condition.

This will not only improve your performance in the ring , but can also reduce your risk of injury.

Old school brown leather boxing gloves

What NOT to do

1. Do not wash your gloves in the washing machine, as it can deteriorate your gloves and reduce their lifespan.

2. Don’t use the dryer to dry out your gloves; the high heat can damage the material of the glove.

3. Do not leave gloves outside in the direct sunlight to dry; the sun’s heat can dry them out and cause cracking.

4. Do not put gloves in the freezer overnight- I know that you may read this as a “do to” method elsewhere online, but a quick google search will scientifically debunk this method. Bacterial growth will slow down or become dormant if frozen, but once the gloves are removed from the freezer and warmed to room temp, the bacteria will begin flourishing. This method is ineffective.

5. Don’t try the salt water approach; soaking your gloves overnight in a saline solution is not a good idea. The salt water can damage the foam padding.

6. Do not use harsh cleaning agents or soaps on your gloves, they can irritate your skin as well as damage the glove materials

9 Easy Ways to Clean and Protect Boxing Gloves

Final round

That’s it! Now you know that you shouldn’t overlook taking care of your boxing gloves. By following our advice, you can keep your gloves clean and in good condition so that you can perform your best in the ring.

Keep your hands up, chin down and eyes on target!

Thanks for reading!

If you need a mouthguard for boxing, please see our article Choosing The Best Mouthguard For Boxing.

For detailed info on how to clean your boxing mouth guard, check out our article, 5 Simple Ways to Clean Your Mouth Guard.

And if you’re looking for ideas on how to store your boxing gloves please read 6 Simple Boxing Glove Storage Ideas To Store Your Mitts!

For some training ideas see our article How Can Slap Boxing Make You A Better Fighter?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *