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How to Clean Boxing Gloves

Glove maintenance is by far the least exciting part of boxing, but one of the most necessary. Not only will regular cleaning stop your gloves from smelling, but it will also help to prolong their lifespan. Clean gloves will also reduce your risk of developing skin infections and irritation. 

To keep them in good condition, we suggest not placing your boxing gloves into your gym bag once you have finished using them. There is very little air circulation and this is a perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria. 

A good way to reduce the amount of bacteria inside your gloves is to use antibacterial hand sanitizer before putting them on. Another great and effective way to keep your gloves cleaner is to use hand wraps every time you wear your gloves. These will absorb a lot of the sweat and moisture emanating during training. 

Before you clean your gloves, you should take note of the material that they are made from. Not all cleaning solutions are suited to all materials, and some may even cause damage if used incorrectly. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer.

So how do you clean them?

No matter how tempting it may be, do not put your boxing gloves through the washing machine or tumble dryer. This will completely ruin them.

Your first step is to wipe the interior of the gloves with a cloth to remove any sweat or dampness. The easiest way to do this is to wrap a cloth around your hand and wiggle that around inside the glove. 

Make a solution of white or apple cider vinegar mixed with an equal portion of water. Pour this into a spray bottle. You can add 5-10 drops of tea tree essential oil to the solution for added antibacterial and antifungal solutions. 

Spray the interior of your gloves a few times with this solution. We do not recommend using Febreze or antibacterial sprays. This is because the Febreze has no cleaning properties and can cause your gloves to become stiff. Antibacterial sprays can cause damage to the gloves, but also to your skin. 

Spray the exterior of your boxing gloves with the vinegar solution. Wipe this around with a clean cloth. 

The vast majority of boxing gloves are made from leather, which needs regular conditioning and moisturizing. To do this, you can purchase a specific leather glove conditioner, or you can simply use a few drops of lemon essential oil. 

Whichever conditioning option you choose, wipe the moisturizer in with a lint-free cloth in small circular motions. Clean up any excess with a clean cloth. 

How do you dry boxing gloves?

You should allow your boxing gloves to air dry. To do this, you need to pull back the wrist straps and open the gloves as wide as possible. Alternatively, you could hang them up to dry in a well-ventilated room by a fan. 

Even if you do not clean your boxing gloves completely in between each use, you must always allow them to dry completely. This will prevent bacteria from growing on the inside of your gloves. 

A good way to help the inside of your boxing gloves to dry is stuffing them with crumpled newspaper. This will absorb moisture as well as holding the gloves open to allow air to circulate. Check on the newspaper every few hours, and if it is completely saturated with water then replace it. 

You could also use a blow dryer inside your gloves to dry them quickly. Ensure you use a low-temperature setting as the heat from your dryer can cause the leather to harden. 

Do not leave your boxing gloves to dry in the sun as this can cause irreparable damage. If you wish to allow your gloves to dry with the help of the sun, ensure they are out of the path of direct sunlight. Do not leave them to sit for longer than 20 minutes at a time. 

How can you refresh the smell of boxing gloves?

Some people suggest placing your boxing gloves in the freezer to neutralize odors. This does not actually work, it simply temporarily halts the bacterial growth. 

One way to do this is to sprinkle a layer of baking soda inside the gloves. This will help to neutralize the smells naturally and requires next to no effort. Allow the baking soda to sit inside the gloves for a couple of hours and then suck out the excess with a vacuum cleaner. 

Alternatively, you could wipe around the interior of clean and dried gloves with a dryer sheet. If they smell really bad, you can leave half a dryer sheet inside each glove. Take them out before you use them next for a hassle-free and fresh smelling pair. 

If you have animals or smoke food a lot, you are likely to have some cedar chips lying about your house. Fill a spare pair of socks with a handful of chips and tie the open end in a loose knot.

Place one sock in each glove and leave until you next put them on. The cedar will give your gloves a fresh, woody smell and will also absorb any extra moisture and bacteria contained within the gloves.

Create a fragrance spray for your gloves. Fill a spray bottle with 1 cup water and about 10 drops of your favourite essential oils. Spray inside each glove once or twice and leave to dry.

Good choices are lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint, and orange essential oils. Not only do these smell lovely, they are antibacterial and antifungal. 


We hope that you now feel confident in your knowledge of how to clean boxing gloves.

There are many different ways to do this, and it is important to find a method that works for you. 

Cleaning is a vital part of your boxing regimen and is not to be slacked off on.

Clean boxing gloves will make your training much more enjoyable and keep you and them in good health.

Rayford Baxter
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