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How to Clean Boxing Gloves

I had spent two weeks teaching my brother how to box, and I felt that I covered the basics pretty well.

At least, that’s what I thought. When I saw the disgusted look on his face after sniffing his gloves, I realized that I forgot to teach him one of the most important things about boxing – glove storage and cleaning.

Your boxing gloves are your most important piece of equipment. Ok, so if you take a punch to the jaw you may feel like your mouth guard deserves that honor, but you can’t get far without your gloves. That’s why keeping them in great condition should be a top priority.

Here are five simple tips to keep your gloves in pristine condition.

1. Let Them Air Out

What’s the first rule of fight club?

“Don’t store your gloves in your gym bag.”

Anyone who’s seen the 90’s cult classic knows that’s not entirely true, but it should’ve been the number one rule. Gloves that smell like old socks are a terrible experience for both you and everyone you train with.

Perspiring when you train is natural, and there’s no avoiding saturating your gloves with sweat. But when you lock your gloves in your gym bag, there’s no airflow and bacteria breeding goes into overdrive. The result is a pungent and nasty smell that turns the stomachs of even the toughest fighters.

No amount of body spray can de-funk that smell. You have to be proactive with glove care.

Instead of sticking your gloves in your bag, hang them up on the back porch, on the patio, or inside next to an open window.

For a few months, I lived in a tiny efficiency apartment with no outdoor space. I stuck my gloves next to the kitchen window and aimed a small fan at them. My neighbor gave me funny looks, but it worked.

Do whatever you need to get the inside of your gloves dry before you put them away.

2. Lysol Works Wonders

For extra odor protection, you can spray your gloves with Lysol or Febreeze.

Any anti-bacterial spray should do the trick. The key is to spray them before you dry out the gloves. Spraying them and leaving them wet doesn’t help.

3. Freeze The Odor

If it’s too late, and your gloves already are starting to knock out opponents with their wretchedness, try freezing them. You don’t need to check your calendar; it’s not the first of April. This technique genuinely works, and it can revitalize old, foul-smelling gloves.

Seal your gloves in a large Ziploc bag and stick them in the freezer for about 24 hours. Then, take them out and let them air out for another 24 hours.

Freeze them with care; if you use genuine leather, freezing them for too long may damage the leather.

4. Wash Your Hand Wraps

It may be convenient just to stick your hand wraps in your bag and reuse them day after day. However, this only adds to the bacteria inside your gloves and makes them smell worse.

Wash your hand wraps frequently to avoid this.

5. Clean The Leather

After a good sparring session, your gloves could be caked in a disgusting mixture of bodily fluids. As much as you like your sparring mates, you don’t want their blood, sweat, snot, and saliva, all over your gloves. Remove these nasty keepsakes by wiping the glove exterior with a damp cloth.

If you use leather gloves, prevent the surface from cracking by using leather protection wipes to wipe down the outside of your gloves.

Wrapping It Up

Nobody wants to wear boxing gloves that stink, and very few of us have the cash to buy new gloves every month. Now you know how to clean boxing gloves, you have no excuses for stinky gloves.

Being proactive with your glove care and following these simple tips will keep your gloves looking and smelling like new. If not for your sake, do it for the people you train with.

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