Boxing gloves are wonderful for protecting a fighter's hands and an opponent's face from superficial injuries during a fight, but the gloves can get very stinky because of bacteria and sweat. Cleaning your gloves regularly and maintaining them properly won't just keep them clean and odor-free, but it will also help them last longer. When it comes to keeping boxing gloves clean, the most important aspect is making sure they dry out after every use, otherwise the bacteria inside the gloves will be allowed to grow and flourish.
Part 1 of 3:Cleaning and Sanitizing the Gloves
1Get the gloves out of your gym bag as soon as possible. When you put on your boxing gloves, the bacteria on your hands get transferred to the inside of your gloves. Those bacteria then feed off your sweat, and as they flourish, they create the bad odors associated with unclean gym equipment. Because there's no air flow inside a gym bag, it's a great place for bacteria to grow. If you do transport your gloves in your bag, remove them as soon as you get home.s
If possible, leave your gloves out of your bag altogether. The more air they get the better, so if you can transport your gloves outside your gym bag, do so.
2Wipe them out. Immediately after the gloves come out of your bag, wipe them out with a cloth or towel to absorb the excess moisture. Wrap your hand in the towel and stick that hand into its glove. Move your hand around to help sop up the sweat. Repeat with the other glove.
3Clean the inside of the gloves. After you wipe out as much moisture as you can from inside the gloves, sanitize and disinfect them with a half-and-half vinegar and water solution. Transfer the solution to a spray bottle and give the inside of the gloves several spritzes.
You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to clean your gloves.
For additional antibacterial and anti-fungal action, add five to 10 drops of tea tree oil to the vinegar and water solution.
Avoid harsh cleaning sprays on your gloves, as they can damage the gloves and cause a reaction with your skin.
Similarly, avoid products like Febreze, because they only mask smells and don't actually kill bacteria. They can also make your gloves stiff and uncomfortable.
4Clean the outside of the gloves. Spray your vinegar and water solution onto the outside of the gloves, enough to coat each glove with a light mist. Then, wipe them down with a clean towel to remove dirt, sweat, and any extra cleaning solution.
5Condition the gloves. Many boxing gloves are made of leather, and this means they should be conditioned to keep them in tip-top shape. Leather is the skin from a living creature, and it can dry out just like human skin. There are many commercial leather conditioners available on the market, or you can use lemon essential oil instead.
To condition the gloves, apply a small amount of conditioner or a few drops of oil to the outside of the gloves. Using a lint-free cloth and circular motions, work the oil into the leather. When you're finished, wipe the outside of the gloves down with a clean towel to remove any excess.
Part 2 of 3:Drying the Gloves
1Air dry the gloves. Because the bacteria in your gloves lives in the sweat and moisture that gets trapped inside, keeping your gloves dry also means keeping them clean. After you sanitize the inside of the gloves with vinegar and clean the outside, allow the gloves to dry out completely.
To air dry the gloves, fold the wrist straps back, open up the gloves as wide as possible, and attach the wrist straps so the gloves stay open.
Lay the gloves out or hang them to dry like this in a well-ventilated room, near an open window, or in front of a fan.
Even if you don't sanitize and clean the gloves after every time you use them, you should always let them dry out between uses. That way, bacteria won't grow inside the gloves.Expert SourceDavid EngelMuay Thai Instructor & Self Defense TrainerExpert Interview. 5 May 2020.
2Stuff them with newspaper. Another way to dry out gloves faster is by stuffing them with newspaper, because the newspaper will absorb excess moisture inside and keep the gloves propped open to allow air in.
Crinkle up a few sheets of newspaper into two loose balls. Stuff one as far as possible into each glove, and leave them for a couple hours. Check on the paper regularly, and when you notice that it has become saturated with moisture, replace it with fresh paper balls.Expert SourceDavid EngelMuay Thai Instructor & Self Defense TrainerExpert Interview. 5 May 2020.
3Use a blow dryer. If you have multiple fights or practices scheduled within a short time and need to dry your gloves out quickly, a blow dryer is a good way to do it. Make sure you use a blow dryer with a cool setting, as heat can damage the gloves and harden the leather.
Turn the blow dryer on to its cool setting and direct the nozzle inside the opening of a glove. Check on the moisture situation in five minute intervals, and when one glove is dry, repeat with the other.
4Avoid leaving your gloves in the sun. While the sun is a great way to dry out many things, boxing gloves aren't one of them. Some sunshine can dry out your gloves and kill bacteria, but too much sun can damage the gloves and the leather the same way it damages human skin.
If you want to use the sun to help dry your gloves, don't leave them unattended in direct sunlight, and don't leave them out for more than 20 to 30 minutes at a time.
See the end of this article on the sections titled"Tips"and then"Warnings"for further help on killing stubborn bacteria/odor using the freeze/thaw method.
Part 3 of 3:Making the Gloves Smell Nice
1Neutralize bad odors with baking soda. Baking soda is a universal deodorizer, and it can be used inside your boxing gloves to eliminate odors and neutralize bad smells. When your gloves are dry, sprinkle a few pinches of baking soda inside each glove and let it sit for a couple hours.
To remove the baking soda, either bang out the gloves or stick a skinny vacuum cleaner nozzle in there.
2Use dryer sheets. After cleaning and drying your gloves, take a dryer sheet and wipe down the inside of each glove with the sheet. If you want, you can even leave a half-sheet in each glove until the next time you need them.
3Use cedar chips. Take a pair of clean cotton socks and fill each one with a handful of cedar chips (like the kinds you use for either smoking food or for animal bedding). Loosely tie off the ends of the socks and stuff one sock in each glove.
You can also use shaved pine, if you prefer.Expert SourceDavid EngelMuay Thai Instructor & Self Defense TrainerExpert Interview. 5 May 2020.
Not only will the cedar chips make your gloves smell great, they'll also absorb excess moisture and bacteria.
4Use essential oils. Essential oils are a great way to make anything smell nice, and boxing gloves are no exception. Furthermore, certain essential oils are also antibacterial and anti-fungal, so they'll also help clean your gloves. Add 10 drops of your preferred essential oil to a spray bottle with one cup (240 ml) of water and give one to two sprays in each glove. The best antibacterial and anti-fungal essential oils include:Trustworthy SourcePubMed CentralJournal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to source