How To Wash Boxing Gloves (Step-by-Step Guide)

If you’re training hard and you’re training often, it’s likely that after a while those gloves of yours are starting to smell pretty bad.

How To Wash Boxing Gloves

After all, if you’re working hard you’re probably sweating quite a lot, and all that smelly sticky sweat is just getting absorbed into your gloves…lovely. 

It can tend to leave a rather, shall we say pungent aroma.

And unless you’re practicing good hygiene and care often with your gloves, that smell is just going to get worse and worse and worse. Until it has your eyes watering.

And let’s face it nobody wants to be the guy or girl in the gym invading everybody’s nostrils with a scent about as pleasant as rotten eggs. 

Of course, the real issue here is that washing these gloves is no easy feat. Handwashing or machine washing isn’t going to do the job.

Yeah, it will help, but it’s likely to cause more damage than any good it’ll do. So if you want to preserve your gloves you’re going to need to look for a better way to get rid of that smell. 

How? I hear you ask. Well, read on to find out! 

Why Are Your Gloves Smelly?

What is the odor that you can smell? It’s bacteria breeding in your gloves. Yep. If that doesn’t get you rushing to clean those dirty gloves, I don’t know what will. 

The moisture from all the sweat you produce while working hard is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

And if you chuck your gloves straight in a bag once you’ve finished wearing them, then you’ve given the bacteria two ideal breeding grounds. All the bacteria growth is what’s going to cause that nasty smell. 

Bacteria love to breed in places that are dark and full of moisture, so sweaty gloves in a gym bag are kind of bacteria-heaven.  This is why ideally you want to keep your gloves both clean and dry. This will keep the bad smells at bay. 

Prevention Methods

Prevention is always a better option than a cure. So if you’re gloves haven’t yet fallen victim to the smelly breeding bacteria then these are the things you want to ensure you’re doing to prevent it from happening. 

Make Sure They’ve Dried Before Putting Them Away

After each session, you want to leave your gloves to dry properly before shoving them away in a bag until you next need them.

Since germs and bacteria need moisture to grow and breed, making sure that your gloves have dried will keep them much cleaner. 

You can either hang your gloves in a well-ventilated area for a while or you could air-dry them on a sunny day.

Just be careful to keep an eye on the weather because a heavy rainfall is going to give your gloves a lot more moisture than your sweat does. 

Wipe Your Gloves Once Your Finished With Them

If you grab a clean towel and give your gloves a good wipe this will prevent them from starting to smell. This really only takes two seconds, so there isn’t an excuse as to why you shouldn’t be doing this.   

You’ll be wiping away any excess moisture and it’ll help your gloves dry a little quicker too. 

Use Hand Wraps 

Using hand wraps is a good way to keep your gloves from getting smelly as they will soak up the majority of your sweat.

These are really effective but you need to ensure that you are washing these regularly because they will start to smell if you don’t, and the smell from your wraps will transfer into your gloves. 

Cleaning Smelly Gloves

You can try to prevent your gloves from smelling as much as you want, but it’s likely as some point or another you’ll misjudge a technique or you’ll just forget, and you’ll need to clean your gloves. 

Luckily, I have a few different methods to help you get those gloves smelling fresh and clean. 

Use Anti-bacterial Spray To Eliminate Germs

Anti-bacterial spray is great for many things, and that includes getting rid of bad smells from boxing gloves. This method can be done in three super-simple steps: 

  1. Unlace/unwrap gloves 
  2. Pray the anti-bacterial spray inside them 
  3. Leave them to dry in a ventilated area

Saltwater Soak

If you’re looking for an option that is sure to get rid of every last lingering bit of bacteria, this is the option for you. This solution is guaranteed to get rid of all the bacteria.

The only catch to this is that this can damage gloves that are made of certain materials so you’ll want to make sure it’s okay to use on your gloves. 

  1. Add saline water to a container big enough to fit your gloves
  2. Place gloves in the solution
  3. Leave overnight and dry in a ventilated area in the morning. 

Freeze Your Gloves Overnight

Now, this might seem like a slightly strange idea, but trust me with this one, it is an excellent way to kill bacteria. I would recommend that you put the gloves in a plastic bag and then leave them in your freezer until morning. 

Once you take them out of the freezer you just need to leave them in a well-ventilated area until they are completely dry. And a little tip – if they’re super-smelly leave them in the freezer an extra day to help eliminate the smell. 

Final Thoughts

Don’t stress too much about taking care of your gloves. It’s really not all that difficult to keep them from getting smelly, or from getting rid of the smell if you’ve already got that far.

The main thing to remember is that gloves stay smelling best when they are dry and are not shoved into a bag and left when they are full of moisture.

Try and get into the habit of wiping down your gloves after each session and leaving them to dry overnight in a well-ventilated area and you should be fine.

Christopher Anderson
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