How To Clean Boxing Gloves (5 Tips For Fresh Fists)

You’ve come back from the gym after a big session and your gloves stink.

Hardly surprising, boxing is a sweaty business. Here’s how to clean boxing gloves at home in just two minutes to keep you smelling fresh and prolong the life of your treasured gloves.

Smell is caused by bacteria from your sweat. Reduce the amount of sweat soaked up by your gloves during training by using clean hand wraps. After training, wipe down your gloves with a dry cloth to remove as much sweat as possible from the inside and outside of the gloves. Then, hang your gloves to dry in a well-ventilated place. Once dry, spray anti-bacterial spray onto a cloth and wipe down all of the gloves. Store in a dry, well ventilated place i.e. not your gym bag! That’s it!

Why should I clean my boxing gloves? 🥊

  1. Once the smell has set in, it’s very hard to get out. Cleaning your gloves regularly prevents this from happening.
  2. No one wants to spar with someone who stinks!
  3. Cleaning your gloves will help them last longer and therefore save you money. Taking proper care of your gloves can add years to the life of your gloves.
  4. Your boxing gloves are your most important piece of kit in the ring. Take care of them, and they’ll take care of you.

Why do my gloves smell? 🦨

The bad smell arises from bacteria on our skin reacting with our sweat. The more sweat, the more bacteria, the more smell.

Now, you can’t help sweating while you train. And if you aren’t sweating, then your probably aren’t training hard enough, but there are several things within your control that could be causing your gloves to smell particularly bad.

Are you using dirty hand wraps? Think of hand wraps like socks. You wouldn’t keep reusing dirty socks day after day, would you? Buy several pairs of hand wraps and wash them easily in hot soapy water or the washing machine after you have used them.

Besides from offering physical protection, hand wraps also act as the first line of defense against sweat by absorbing lots of the sweat from your hands so that it doesn’t even reach your gloves. So make sure you wear them! Imagine wearing shoes without socks…

Are you leaving your gloves in your gym bag after you train? Bacteria thrives dark, warm, moist environments. So, hang your gloves up in a well ventilated, dry place after working out to keep them fresh and smelling like roses.


What do I need to clean my boxing gloves? 🧼

You can easily clean your gloves with just two typical household items:

  • A dry cloth or kitchen roll
  • Disinfectant / anti-bacterial spray like Febreze or Game Over Sport, a spray designed specifically for cleaning sweaty sports gear.


What is the process of cleaning my gloves? 🙋

Ok, so how do I actually clean the boxing gloves? Fortunately it’s very simple and quick:

  1. Ensure you wipe as much sweat as possible off the gloves after training
  2. Once home, hang them in a dry, well-ventilated space until completely dry. Don’t dry them in direct sun as this can cause fading and cracking of the glove. Make sure the laces or Velcro of the gloves are wide open.
  3. Once dry, spray anti-bacterial spray onto a soft cloth and wipe the gloves all over, inside and out. Make sure to wipe all parts of the glove, getting right down into the fingers. If you don’t have any anti-bac spray, a 50:50 water:vinegar mixture will also do the trick.
  4. Store in a dry, well-ventilated place. Keeping your gloves as dry as possible as much as possible is the key.
  5. If you want to go the extra mile, you can put glove dogs (which are basically deodorizing pouches that soak up moisture) in your gloves when you aren’t using them. Or you could also put a drier sheet in each of your gloves to help with the smell.

What if my gloves are genuine leather?

The key difference when it comes to cleaning leather vs synthetic leather gloves is that with the former, you should try to avoid using a disinfectant spray that contains alcohol as the alcohol can damage the leather.

If you really want to take care of your leather gloves, after wiping them with alcohol-free spray, you can then apply some leather gel to the outside of the gloves. This will make the leather soften and shine like the interior of classic Aston Martin.

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How often should I clean my boxing gloves? 4️⃣

Roughly every 4 to 5 uses is enough, but there is no harm in doing it more often than that. Particularly if you’re a heavy sweater! But, let’s be real, cleaning gloves (indeed cleaning most things) is a bore so just do it when you can and don’t stress about it too much.

Can I put my gloves in the washing machine?

Yes, but I would only recommend this as a last resort if your gloves really smell awful as this may damage them. And definitely don’t do this with leather gloves.

If you are going to chuck them in the washing machine, here’s what to do:

  • Put socks inside the gloves to ensure they keep their shape 
  • Choose a short cycle, 1:30 hours or less and a temperature of no more than 40C to avoid damaging the gloves. 
  • Don’t dry them in the tumble drier. Hang them to dry somewhere warm, like an airing cupboard.
  • Job done.


12th Round 🔔

There you have it. You’re all set to ensure you remain smell-free and popular in the gym. I know that after the exertion and excitement of training, cleaning your gear is the last thing you want to do, but trust me, you’ll be thankful you did.

Happy fighting! 🥊🥊

“If you work hard in training, the fight is easy.” -Manny Pacquiao