How to Clean Boxing Gloves: The [Best] Way to Get Rid of the Smell and Deodorize Your Gloves

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How to Clean Boxing Gloves

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Why you should clean your boxing gloves

As an amateur boxer or someone new to the sport, it’s important to not only focus on improving your skills but also to maintain proper hygiene for your boxing gloves. Odor-free and clean boxing gloves not only make your training sessions more enjoyable but also ensure longevity and prevent the buildup of bacteria and unpleasant smells. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with practical tips and techniques to keep your gloves clean, fresh, and ready for action.

Why Cleanliness Matters

Remove Odors and Bacteria for Better Hygiene

Dirty gloves can harbor odors and bacteria, leading to infections and illnesses. Regularly cleaning your gloves through techniques such as wiping them down, using disinfectant wipes or sprays, and airing them out eliminates germs and bad smells. Additional methods like deodorizers, glove dogs, and soaking gloves in soapy water can help maintain cleanliness, odor-free gloves, and durability.

Enhance Comfort and Hygiene

Regularly cleaning your gloves is crucial for a comfortable and hygienic boxing experience. Accumulated sweat in dirty gloves can breed bacteria and germs, resulting in skin infections and irritation. By keeping your gloves clean and well-maintained, you eliminate the risk of foul odors and ensure optimal protection and performance, providing a more enjoyable training session. Remember, prevention is key!

Extend Lifespan and Save Money

Properly cleaning and maintaining your boxing gloves is vital to extend their lifespan. Sweat accumulation can cause bacteria and odors, leading to frequent replacements. By following simple steps like wiping them down, using disinfectant sprays, and airing them out, you can keep your gloves fresh, hygienic, and save money in the long run.

Ensure Safety and Hygiene

Clean gloves are essential for maintaining good hygiene and preventing the buildup of bacteria and germs. Dirty gloves can result in skin infections and irritation. Take the time to properly clean and care for your gloves, avoiding the use of washing machines as it may damage them. Following proper cleaning techniques ensures that your gloves remain in good condition, last longer, and provide a safer and more enjoyable boxing experience.

Easier Maintenance and Improved Performance

Clean gloves are easier to maintain as they are less likely to accumulate harmful bacteria and germs that cause infections and irritation. Regularly cleaning and sanitizing your gloves prevents sweat and odor buildup, extending their lifespan. Utilizing materials specifically designed for cleaning boxing gloves ensures the best finish and protection. Maintaining clean gloves is crucial for optimal performance and hygiene during training and fights.

Eliminate Unpleasant Odors

Clean gloves smell better as they are free from bacteria and sweat that cause unpleasant odors. Imagine the difference between putting on a pair of fresh, clean gloves versus gloves that smell like a wet dog. Clean, fresh gloves provide a more pleasant and focused training experience. By regularly cleaning and drying your gloves, you can maintain their freshness, durability, and enjoy the sensation of putting on a clean pair before each session.

Fight with Confidence

Disinfecting your gloves is crucial to prevent the buildup of bacteria and germs that can cause infections and irritation. Neglecting glove care can lead to a breeding ground for bacteria. By taking the time to clean and disinfect your gloves using appropriate materials, you can ensure that they are free from bacteria, providing you with confidence and peace of mind during fights..

Impress Sparring Partners

Cleaning your boxing gloves not only extends their lifespan but also ensures a positive experience for your sparring partners. Dirty gloves can absorb sweat and develop unpleasant smells. By regularly cleaning your gloves, you can keep them fresh and hygienic, making you a more favorable sparring partner. Show respect and consideration by caring for your gloves and keeping them in good condition

Make a Positive Impression on Judges

Clean boxing gloves are crucial for maintaining a professional appearance and leaving a positive impression on judges. Dirty gloves can indicate poor hygiene and negatively affect your performance in the ring. Judges take note of a boxer’s appearance and behavior, and clean gloves demonstrate professionalism, respect for the sport, and attention to detail. Properly clean and maintain your gloves to ensure optimal performance and a favorable impression.

Optimize Performance and Win Fights

Clean boxing gloves are essential for achieving victory in fights. They help maintain the glove lifespan and prevent the accumulation of bacteria and germs that cause infections and irritation. By keeping your gloves clean, you eliminate the risk of unpleasant odors and ensure they perform at their best. Clean gloves demonstrate professionalism, respect for your opponent, and the sport of boxing. Care for your gloves using specially designed cleaning materials, wipe them down after each use, and air them out. By doing so, you increase their lifespan, maintain good health, and perform at your best in every fight.

What are the risks of not cleaning your boxing gloves?

Neglecting the cleanliness of your boxing gloves poses several risks that can impact your health, training performance, and the lifespan of your gloves. In this section, we will outline the potential consequences of not cleaning your gloves regularly. By understanding these risks, you can prioritize the maintenance and hygiene of your boxing gloves for a safer and more effective training experience.

Bacteria and odor build-up

Failing to clean your gloves allows bacteria and unpleasant odors to accumulate. The combination of sweating during training sessions and storing moist gloves creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Dark and warm environments provide the perfect conditions for harmful germs to thrive, increasing the risk of infections and illnesses. To avoid these risks, it’s crucial to keep your gloves clean and dry by implementing regular cleaning and airing out routines.

Diminished Training Effectiveness

Improper hygiene compromises the effectiveness of your boxing gloves for training. Accumulated bacteria and moisture result in unpleasant odors and can affect the longevity of your gloves. Wiping down your gloves after each use and ensuring thorough drying helps prevent discomfort, pain, and potential injuries. Prioritizing the cleanliness and maintenance of your gloves optimizes their performance and promotes good hygiene within the gym.

Wrinkles and stains

Neglecting to clean your gloves may lead to wrinkles and stains. Aggressive cleaning agents can cause micro-cracks and make the material brittle, while high temperatures can result in deformities. Additionally, leaving gloves lying around on the ground increases moisture and dirt absorption. Failure to clean gloves properly can result in unsightly wrinkles, stains, and even skin irritation during use. Thoroughly wiping both the inside and outside of the gloves after each use minimizes moisture content and prevents bacterial growth, ensuring your gloves remain fresh and long-lasting..

Glove degradation

Inadequate cleaning habits contribute to the degradation of your boxing gloves. Copious sweating during training creates an environment for bacteria and foul odors. Storing moist gloves in a bag promotes bacterial growth. Prolonged exposure to moisture can damage the leather or vinyl layer and saturate the padding beneath. To prevent glove degradation, it is vital to keep them clean and dry, discouraging bacteria growth, eliminating foul odors, and preserving the integrity of the gloves.

Risk of infections

Neglecting to clean your gloves regularly exposes you to health risks. Bacteria and fungi thrive in dirty gloves, leading to skin irritation, rashes, and various health problems. Common bacteria like staphylococcus and streptococcus can spread rapidly in unclean gloves, causing infections that are challenging to treat. Moist environments within gloves also facilitate the growth of fungi such as ringworm and athlete’s foot. To avoid these risks, clean your gloves regularly using disinfecting sprays or wipes and allow them to dry completely between uses, ensuring proper hygiene and preventing the spread of harmful microorganisms.

Reduced durability of gloves foam

Proper cleaning of boxing gloves after every use is crucial to prevent the deterioration of the foam padding. Sweat and bacteria accumulation can break down the foam over time, compromising its ability to cushion your hands during training sessions. This can result in discomfort and potential injuries. To maintain durability, wipe down your gloves after each use, and avoid leaving them wet for extended periods. By taking proper care of your gloves, you can ensure they last longer and provide the necessary protection during training.

Reduced comfort while training

Regular maintenance of your boxing gloves is essential for maximum comfort and safety during training. Neglecting to clean your gloves leads to the buildup of sweat and bacteria, causing unpleasant odors and reducing the effectiveness of the padding. This can result in discomfort, pain, and compromised performance. To avoid these issues, wipe down your gloves after each use and hang them to dry in a well-ventilated area. By taking these simple steps, you can maintain the quality of your gloves and reduce the risk of injury. Remember, proper maintenance goes a long way!

Increased likelihood of glove failure

Failing to clean your gloves regularly increases the chances of glove failure. Copious sweating creates an environment for bacteria to thrive, resulting in foul odors. Storing moist gloves in a bag provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, causing material damage and potential cracks. To deter bacteria growth and eliminate foul odors, it is crucial to keep your gloves clean and dry.

Increased risk of injury during sparring

Not cleaning your boxing gloves regularly raises the risk of injuries during sparring. Unclean gloves can harbor bacteria and fungi, leading to infections. These infections can cause conditions like ringworm, staph infections, and other skin irritations. Additionally, the buildup of sweat and grime can reduce the effectiveness of the gloves in protecting your hands. Therefore, regular cleaning is important to ensure your gloves provide adequate protection and reduce the risk of infection and injury.

A decrease in performance in boxing gloves

Neglecting to clean your gloves can result in accumulated sweat, bacteria, and unpleasant odors, which can be uncomfortable and embarrassing during training sessions. Additionally, dirty gloves deteriorate over time, reducing their ability to provide proper protection and support. To maintain optimal performance, it’s crucial to clean and maintain your boxing gloves properly.

Things You Might Need to Clean Boxing Gloves

Boxing Glove Dogs

image of Boxing Glove Dogs Dryer and Deodorizer

Spray Disinfectant

image of the Clear Gear - Disinfectant spray

Apple Cider Vinegar

image of apple cider vinegar

The best way to clean your boxing gloves

Properly cleaning and maintaining your boxing gloves is crucial for hygiene, durability, and optimal performance. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the best practices and steps to effectively clean and care for your gloves. By following these guidelines, you can ensure fresh, odor-free gloves that last longer and provide a safer training experience.

Step 1: Wipe your gloves down

  • After each use, wipe your gloves inside and out with a clean towel or disinfecting wipes. This removes bacteria and dirt, preventing their buildup. Avoid using the washing machine as it can damage the gloves. Instead, keep baby wipes or alcohol wipes in your gym bag for convenient cleaning. After wiping, allow your gloves to air dry and use hand wraps to absorb sweat.

Step 2: Soak your boxing gloves in saline water

  • Fill a spacious container halfway with a saltwater solution and submerge your gloves overnight. This soak helps eliminate bacteria and unwanted odors. Ensure the right salt-to-water ratio to avoid damaging your gloves. Afterwards, let them dry in a well-ventilated area.

Step 3: Use an anti-bacterial spray

  • Choose a high-strength anti-bacterial spray specifically designed for sports equipment. Unlace or unwrap your gloves and thoroughly spray the inside and outside. Allow the gloves to dry in an open, well-ventilated area. Select a spray that doesn’t cause skin irritation. Using an anti-bacterial spray before and after sparring reduces the need for frequent cleaning.

Step 4: Stuff your boxing gloves with a newspaper or glove dogs

  • After air drying your gloves, stuff the inner side with a paper towel or newspaper to absorb sweat. Alternatively, use “glove dogs,” cotton bags filled with cedar chips that draw out bacteria and leave a fresh scent. Meister glove deodorizers or glove dogs are recommended for their effectiveness.

Step 5: Air them out

  • Open up your gloves wide, fold back the wrist straps, and hang or lay them in a well-ventilated area near an open window or fan. This allows them to air out completely. Stuffing them with newspaper helps absorb excess moisture. Keeping gloves dry is crucial for cleanliness, so always let them air out between uses.

Step 6: Use apple cider vinegar

  • Pour one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar onto a clean towel and rub it inside your gloves. Leave the gloves to dry overnight in a well-ventilated space. Repeat if necessary. Apple cider vinegar is a natural and inexpensive solution for eliminating odors and extending glove life.

Step 7: Avoid leaving your gloves in the sun

  • Prolonged sun exposure can cause material deterioration and cracking. After wiping off sweat and fluids, store your gloves in a plastic bag to minimize dampness. Air-dry them in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. Freezing gloves is not recommended, as bacteria may remain dormant. Avoid using strong chemicals for cleaning.

Step 8: Cleaning boxing glove interiors

  • Regularly clean the interiors of your gloves to kill bacteria and prevent moisture buildup. Use a water and vinegar mixture or an antibacterial spray. Spray the solution inside the gloves, ensuring not to oversaturate them. Wipe away any excess moisture with a clean cloth. Leave the gloves to dry thoroughly.

Step 9: Store your boxing gloves in a dry area free from sunlight

  • To extend their lifespan, store your gloves in a dry area away from sunlight. Moisture creates a breeding ground for bacteria and germs, causing odor and quick deterioration. Allow gloves to air-dry after each use before storing them. Avoid exposing them to high temperatures or chemicals that may damage the material.

Step 10: Wear hand wraps

  • Hand wraps provide cushioning, absorb sweat, and prevent bacteria growth. Wash and dry your hands before putting on hand wraps. Wrap them snugly around your wrists and knuckles, covering all areas. Secure with the Velcro closure for comfort. Wash hand wraps after each use to maintain their effectiveness.

Step 11: Use fresh wraps every time

  • Using fresh hand wraps for each training session ensures cleanliness and prevents bacteria and odor growth. Rinse them with cold water after use, machine wash with mild detergent, and air-dry. Store clean hand wraps in a dry place, away from moisture and sunlight.

Bonus Step 12 : Freeze the gloves overnight

  • Bonus step: For maximum cleanliness, rotate between two pairs of gloves. Consider freezing one pair overnight in a sealed plastic bag. Freezing kills most bacteria inside the gloves. The next day, air them out, spray with an anti-bacterial spray inside and out, and let them dry. This rotation and freezing process helps maintain freshness and hygiene.

Step-by-Step Video Tutorial:

A valuable resource you shouldn’t miss is this instructional video from the experts at Fight Tips. Dive into their comprehensive guide on ‘How to Clean Boxing Gloves’ in the video below.”


Is it possible to get rid of the smell from boxing gloves?

Yes, it is possible to get rid of the smell from boxing gloves. Here’s how:

  1. Use glove deodorizers stuffed with materials like moso bamboo charcoal to draw out moisture and eliminate the smell.
  2. Consider using odour remover sprays like Inol or Febreze Sports Fabric, but avoid using normal Febreze.
  3. Use disinfectant wipes to provide a good surface cleanse on the outer layers of the inside and outside of your gloves.

Regular hand washing or machine wash won’t do the trick to clean your boxing gloves thoroughly, and machine washing may damage the gloves. By using the above methods, you can keep your gloves clean and fresh, making you a desirable sparring partner.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using vinegar to clean boxing gloves?

Using vinegar, particularly apple cider vinegar, to clean boxing gloves has several advantages. It is a natural and effective way to remove odors and bacteria, and it is easy to use. However, vinegar can also be acidic and may damage the gloves if used excessively or if the gloves are not properly dried after cleaning. Additionally, vinegar may not be effective in removing tough stains or deep-seated odors. It is important to use vinegar in moderation and follow proper cleaning instructions to avoid damaging the gloves.

What kind of disinfectant is best to use on boxing gloves?

The best disinfectant to use on boxing gloves is a water-based formula that is non-corrosive and has a low toxicity rating. Clear Gear Disinfecting Spray is an EPA-registered disinfectant that protects against bacteria, germs, and odors safely without any harsh chemicals like bleach, alcohol, or ammonia. It is specifically designed for sports equipment and does not irritate the skin. To apply the disinfectant, unlaced or unwrap the gloves first, then spray them with the disinfectant. Finally, dry them in an open, well-ventilated space. It is important to clean the gloves after every use to prevent the accumulation of bacteria and germs.

Can You Use Lysol Wipes On Boxing Gloves?

Yes, Lysol wipes are a suitable option for cleaning boxing gloves. A quick misting of Lysol or a similar high-strength anti-bacterial spray before and after sparring can help keep most bacteria at bay. While this method does not have a 100% success rate, it does decrease the overall frequency at which you’ll have to clean your gloves. Lysol spray is tried and tested and, according to the manufacturer, kills 99.9% of germs. However, it is important to note that anti-bacterial sprays differ by brand, so it is best to do some thorough research into what works best before buying some for yourself. Overall, using Lysol wipes is a simple and effective way to maintain the cleanliness of your boxing gloves.

Are there any special cleaning products made specifically for cleaning boxing gloves?

Yes, there are cleaning products specifically designed for cleaning boxing gloves. Using these specialized products can help protect the gloves and keep them free from germs that can accumulate. However, if you do not have access to these products, you can clean boxing gloves with a damp cloth, lukewarm water, and a mild detergent. It is important to avoid using harsh cleaning products that can damage the gloves. Additionally, proper maintenance and cleaning of boxing gloves are essential for prolonging their lifespan and preventing them from becoming smelly.

Can You Put Boxing Gloves in The Washing Machine?

Hello there! While it may seem like a good idea to throw your boxing gloves in the washing machine to get them clean, it’s actually not recommended. Washing boxing gloves in the machine can damage the casings and foams within the gloves, shortening their lifespan. Instead, it’s best to wipe them down with a damp cloth or wash them by hand with lukewarm water and mild detergent. After cleaning, be sure to let them air dry and avoid putting them in a tight space, which can cause bacteria to grow. Remember to take care of your gloves properly to keep them smelling fresh and increase their longevity. Stay safe and happy boxing!

How often should I clean my boxing gloves?

It is important to clean your boxing gloves after every use to prevent the buildup of bacteria and germs. However, factors such as frequency of use and sweat production can affect how often you should clean your gloves. It is recommended to clean your gloves at least once a week if you use them frequently, and to replace them every 120 classes or every 6-8 months. Proper maintenance, including wiping down the outside of your gloves and letting them dry completely, can also help prolong their lifespan.

Is there any way to make my boxing gloves last longer?

Proper maintenance and storage are key to making your boxing gloves last longer. After every use, wipe down the outside and spray the inside with a disinfectant spray. Let them air dry completely before storing them in a well-ventilated area. Avoid leaving them in your gym bag or car, as dampness can cause bacteria and bad odors. Consider using glove dogs or stuffing them with newspaper to help them keep their shape. Replace your gloves every 6-8 months or after 120 classes, or sooner if the foam feels flat or the material tears. By taking these precautions, you can extend the lifespan of your gloves and protect your investment.


The cleanliness and upkeep of your boxing gloves are critical elements often overlooked in the sport of boxing. Not only does regular maintenance prolong the durability and performance of your gloves, but it also reflects your professionalism and commitment to the sport. It promotes a healthier training environment, reduces potential health risks, and instills a sense of discipline and responsibility.
A clean pair of gloves can enhance your self-confidence, leaving you free to focus entirely on honing your skills. Moreover, this practice echoes a broader commitment to a healthy lifestyle, a testament to the discipline that boxing demands. In essence, the simple act of cleaning your gloves regularly is an investment that yields significant benefits, enhancing your boxing journey in multiple dimensions.

Boxing isn’t the only sport where gloves play an important role. You can find out how gloves play an important role in these sports here.

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The founder and chief editor here at I'm a freelance writer in the health and sports world. When not working I can be found on a sports field playing a range of sports and team games or hanging with my young family.