Stinky and smelly boxing gloves do not feel so foreign to a recreational or a pro athlete. After several boxing rounds of heavy bag workouts or multiple training sessions these things can start to dirty up in no time!
In the ring, boxing gloves are a solid armor, but the idea of cleaning boxing gloves comes with a bitter afterthought. Simply put, trying to clean boxing gloves challenges the norm of regular washing. So, cleaning them is a fundamentally different ballgame.
For those who don’t know, machine wash or regular hand washing won’t do the trick and I strongly advise against it, if you want your gloves to last. If you want to preserve the investment on your boxing gloves, you cannot afford to machine wash them. Learn how to clean your boxing gloves the right way by getting the products below (they are dirt cheap) and make sure to wash, clean, and deodorize your gloves each and every time that they need it.
Fortunately, below I have pointed out the best solutions for cleaning/washing your boxing gloves to make them sweat, blood, bacteria, and odor-free. Because as we all know heavy bag gloves can get ****** nasty!
How To Clean Your Boxing Gloves
Having to live with the odor is a possibility for some, as many of us are forced to experience firsthand. However, for the rest of us civilized folk, eliminating this odor is a must, but how?
Well in all honesty, it’s not that hard, you just need to make sure that you are getting a cleaner anti-bacterial spray, as well as a boxing gloves deodorizer to keep them clean and smell free.
Below are some of the best products to clean boxing gloves, and as soon as you start using them, the faster you realize just how much you were missing out before!
Best products to clean boxing gloves
1. Anti-Bacterial Spray ( this stuff is an absolute must for cleaning! )
I use the best Anti-Bacterial Spray on my gloves. It’s cheap and works like a charm.
You can find the stuff that i use on amazon by clicking here.
If you hands sweat like mine do then this stuff is absolutely a must have!
This stuff is some of the best disinfecting sprays out there on the market for athletes!
I use this stuff for not just for my boxing gloves but literally all of my sports gear. Keeps them clean, looking new, smelling new, and staying new.
Not only does it manage to eliminate tons of strands of bacteria and viruses, but it also deodorizes, clearing up the nasty odors leftover from a hard training session.
Now, a big worry with products like these with boxing gloves is skin irritation, and it makes sense – constant contact with the skin on regular use would expose the harshness of a lot of disinfectants.
But not with this one; designed for sports equipment, the creators had safety and comfort in mind when they formulated this product. So, it should be no problem for you, even if you wear your gloves 1-2x a day and use this spray religiously!
2. Vapor Fresh Natural Cleaning and Deodorizing Spray
Another non-irritating, natural, and safe spray to freshen up all sorts of workout gear, except this product, doesn’t specialize in disinfecting but deodorizing. I recommend the product above but this is the runner up. This is more of a make your gloves temporarily smell good rather than actually disinfect them like the product above does.
You can check it out on amazon by clicking here.
This spray, while versatile, might lend itself to be more useful in the prevention side of things, and not trying to tackle disinfecting jobs like the first product we took a look at. Still, Vapor Fresh’s Spray will be able to handle bigger odors than the more passive options (such as the next deodorizer on this list), giving it it’s own niche of sorts.
Plus, it does have some cleaning agents, which the next item on this list lacks, which gives is a strong advantage in killing two birds with one stone. This is a great choice if you want to have a 2 in 1 solution cleaning and deodorizing but I personally would recommend that you get the first product above for cleaning and disinfection and then the first deodorizer product below, (Meister Deodorizers), for deodorizing.
Best Products to Deodorize Boxing Gloves
If you are looking for some more options on deodorizing your gloves, here are a few extra products that have proven their worth in preventing our gloves from becoming synonymous with the scent of death.
You should note, however, that deodorizing and sanitizing fill different roles in odor prevention, the former is better for keeping the smell away, where the latter aims more at the elimination of bacteria that break down the sweat in the first place.
1. Meister Boxing Glove Deodorizers – (best for getting the smell out)
Looking to prevent, and not act reactively? Meister’s Glove Deodorizers are the best solution to the issue of sweat buildup and odor. These things freaking rock.
I’ve been using these things for years. You can check them out on amazon by clicking here.
Created to get rid of sweat, and thereby prevent the bacterial breakdown that causes the odor in the first place through the absorbent fillings. They conveniently stick into your boxing gloves and hang together with a strap, making them easy to keep track of. Overall, the design is quite slick.
On top of absorbing sweat, these glove deodorizers come in a selection of scents, giving you some room to customize the pleasant aroma of your now non-nasty gloves. You get to choose from Lavender, Cedar, Cologne, or Fresh Linen, if you want to smell like a woman’s bathroom, a recently butchered tree, a nightclub (at that sweet spot before everyone is sweaty and it smells bad), and laundry (which makes sense).
Nevertheless, the scent choices are a great addition that does add some flavor to the product. I wouldn’t, however, use this as a substitute for a disinfectant, because the glove deodorizers likely won’t able to handle a really bad case of stink on their own, serving as a better day-to-day product. This is why I recommend this product in conjunction with the Anti-Bacterial Spray
2. Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, Fridge-N-Freezer Pack – Oldie But Proven
I still use this stuff occasionally. It’s a proven method and it works. You can check out the stuff that I get on amazon by clicking here.
Coming in with a product that’s a little more folksy than the rest, baking soda has consistently proven itself for its versatility and uses in a several categories, one of them including making your boxing gloves’ stench bearable.
Arm & Hammer’s Fridge-N-Freezer Pack is designed as a sort of passive deodorizer, meant to be opened, then left to do its business without any user intervention – similarly to the earlier glove deodorizers.
The design is unique, it is a box with back and front panels that are to be torn off, exposing the baking soda underneath that absorbs the humidity and stench. Likely too large for your boxing gloves, it would still be perfect for a gym back or trunk or wherever your gloves are stored.
This might be great for preventing sweat from accumulating in more than just your gloves, but your wraps, shoes, and any other gear hanging out in your gym bag.
Use Hand Wraps to Keep Your Boxing Gloves Clean & Odor-Free
As hinted at earlier, keeping your hand wraps clean is an essential aspect of the cleanliness and lack of odors in your boxing gloves. If you are not wearing hand wraps when you are wearing your boxing gloves, then what exactly are you doing. No matter what gloves you are training in whether it be, training gloves, MMA heavy bag gloves, gloves designed for kickboxing, and definitely competition gloves, always, always, make sure to wear hand wraps when you throw on your set of gloves.
- Due to the direct contact with the gloves, and the sweat-absorbing nature of hand wraps, it can become a serious issue to the sanitary state of your gloves if you let them go unwashed for too long.
- Keeping your wraps clean is easier said than done, you might say, using the laundry machine may rough them up too much, hand washing is slow and inefficient, and other chemical options only go so far. I hear you, but below are a few tips for effectively cleaning your boxing hand wraps, thereby, making sure your gloves stay odor-free!
- Use a mesh laundry bag when washing! While the washing machine can be rough on your wraps, protective bags are a lifesaver and immediately get rid of the issue. Some other alternatives include a lingerie bag, pillowcase, and even a sock! Really, anything that prevents the tumbling of the machine to fray the wraps should work great.
- Another option is soaking your wraps in a soapy solution, washing them out, and then hanging them up to dry (or tossing them in the drying machine for a shorter cycle)
- If you want to extend the amount of time between washes, and generally just keep your wraps more odor-free, avoid keeping them packed in tight, hot spaces. Like your boxing gloves, you’ll want to keep them in a larger space where they can dry and bacteria doesn’t get the chance to breakdown leftover sweat
- Not so much a cleaning tip, but a sanitary tip – don’t hesitate to throw out old hand wraps, there comes a time when any more washing is pointless, and the best solution is to buy a replacement
Best Boxing Glove Hand Wraps to Keep Your Boxing Gloves Clean
What’s better than cleaning up old, fraying hand wraps that have a lingering odor? Owning brand new, high-quality hand wraps that will last you a long time!
What’s better, is that the higher quality your boxing glove hand wraps are, the better they can resist the daily wear and tear of use, and likely the odors that come with all the new nooks and crannies for bacteria to rest to smell your gloves and eventually eat away at your gloves.
1. Hayabusa Hand Wraps – These are the Best for the money
You can check them out on amazon by clicking here.
Offering a fantastic stretch, and comfortable fit, these Hayabusa hand wraps feature a Mexican-style design, which is found to be preferable to many who try the style out for the first time. They are on the thinner side, due to their design, but offer more breathability and comfort as a tradeoff, with aesthetics to match.
Overall, consider picking up these wraps if you want to look good while your hands feel good.
You can check these out amazon by clicking here.
Another Mexican-style design, the Pro Impact hand wraps fill a hole as an inexpensive, yet high-quality option. They are priced slightly lower than the two other hand wraps on this list, yet, by all accounts, don’t suffer from poor design – these aren’t flimsy pieces of gauze you’re buying.
You can check them out on amazon by clicking here
An alternative to the other styles that we’ve seen so far, these hand wraps are a bit more standard in their thicker construction, likely offering a little more cushion at around the same price as the Hayabusa’s.
As with the rest of these hand wraps, each product has tons of high reviews, and you can be confident that you are getting what you pay for.
What causes boxing gloves to smell bad?
After a good workout, your hands are bound to get sweaty, and all that sweat accumulates in the glove, even if you were to try to wipe it out, the sweat might be absorbed somewhat by the leather.
The sweat then is broken down by odor-emitting bacteria. Not only is a leftover pocket of sweat perfect for said bacteria, but the heat certainly doesn’t help. This might explain why boxing gloves, and many other pieces of workout gear and clothing, end up with such a foul smell over time, boxing gloves especially.
Of course, this stink can be eliminated, but once the bacteria is in place, and your gloves already smell terrible, the endeavor will become much harder. This is why you need to keep your boxing gloves as clean as you can whenever you can.
Tips for Cleaning Your Boxing Gloves
1) Clean your hand wraps
The first, and most obvious tip, is keeping the thing that actually has contact with the glove clean – your hand wraps.
Think about it, if you never really clean your wraps, then every time you wear them with gloves, you are just reintroducing old bacteria and sweat into the mix, making it much more likely that your gloves are going to stink.
We will get in-depth on this tip later on because it is so vital.
2) Wipe and dry out moisture
Secondly, avoid letting sweat stick around in your gloves for too long. After a long session, don’t just toss your gloves in your bag, or what have you, but wipe down the insides, and try to absorb as much of that stench-bringing sweat as possible.
Keeping your sweaty gloves in an enclosed, hot space is just going to exacerbate the problem. So, after wiping down the insides, try to set them out to dry as fast as possible, never just keeping them packed in a gym bag till the next session, otherwise, your gloves will never lose their stink.
3) Wash your boxing gloves
Another obvious, yet often unheeded, tip is to wash them. Constant sprays and deodorizing is not enough to keep your boxing gloves fresh, at least in the long term. Occasionally, sit down and spend a few minutes washing them thoroughly with water and soap, then after, give them time to dry off.
4) Use cleaning products when necessary
Finally, a somewhat redundant, but necessary tip, is to use at least one of the products (or a substitute) discussed in this article.
Keeping them dry and occasionally washing them might not be enough for daily use, utilizing a maintenance cleaner for times when you don’t want to full-on wash them is a great way to keep your gloves smelling fresh.
Precautionary Boxing Glove Washing & Cleaning Measures:
The best way to keep your boxing gloves nice and fresh is to prevent them from getting smelly in the first place. Make sense, right? The less sweat, bacteria, and oder your gloves accumulate, the longer your gloves will survive. So, follow the pointers given below to prevent your gloves from getting bad and smelly.
- Do not try out wet gloves. Allow the gloves to dry out completely before using them again in the ring. If you don’t do so, you will involuntarily commit yourself to grievances.
- Make sure to wash your hands with some hand sanitizer before training. This simple move will keep pre-existing bacteria from your hands away from the boxing gloves.
- You can try wearing wraps under your boxing gloves. The wraps will absorb most of the sweat. In this manner, you can prevent your boxing gloves from getting stinky.
- Don’t lock your gloves in the training bag immediately after use. You can dry them in sunlight or place them in a plastic bag after use. This will prevent the bacteria from breeding in your favorite boxing gloves.
- Clean your boxing gloves as early as possible. The longer they stay messy, the worse they get. Therefore, keep some paper towels or wipes handy to clean them on the go to prevent smelly bad odor right away.
- Avoid washing machine at all costs. You will end up with a personal pity party if you ignore this golden advice. At best, the washing machine will destroy the gloves. So, don’t take this easy route.
- Before trying out anything new, be fully aware of the materials used in the making of the gloves. For instance, some materials may respond well to certain cleaning solutions, while others may not. If you are confused, contact the product manufacturer to clear your doubts.
- Don’t keep your boxing gloves in the sun for too long. Too much of sun exposure can cause more harm than good, especially if you own boxing gloves made from leather. Ideally, you should not leave them in the sun for more than thirty minutes.
So you now you’ve got yourself a clean pair of top notch boxing gloves that you can put to work. It’s time to get yourself a top of the line punching bag. You can find the best stand alone punching bags here.
Final Words on Cleaning Your Boxing Gloves
In review, we looked over the following:
- Best boxing gloves cleaning products
- Best boxing gloves deodorizing products
- Why boxing gloves smell over time
- Tips for cleaning and washing your boxing gloves
- How to keep your hand wraps clean and odor-free
- Best boxing hand-wraps to keep your boxing gloves clean and odor free
- what not to do when washing and cleaning your boxing gloves
Whether you are shopping for new hand wraps or heavy bag glove cleaning solutions, keeping your boxing gloves clean and odor-free is a must, and shouldn’t be ignored. And with so many choices out there for how you want to go about keeping your gloves clean, there really is no excuse for ensuring that they stay odor-free and fresh (even if they’ll just get sweaty again your next workout).
Remember, you will never be able to kill or defeat your opponent with the bad smell of your stinking gloves. But, they will definitely get you disgusting looks. So, keep your gloves nice and clean at all times so that they don’t smell like your old socks. If you follow the precautionary measures and the cleaning techniques outlined above, your boxing gloves won’t smell like it’s housing a small dead animal inside of it.
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Hi there! I'm Kaden, Founder & Main Writer here at SmartMMA. I've been training boxing, MMA, BJJ and other martial arts since 2004. I love every aspect of it as well as helping others learn more about training martial arts effectively.