How to Clean Boxing Gloves?

If you’ve ever trained boxing, then you know how irritating the smell of sweat-soaked gloves can be.

Boxing gloves are part of a boxer’s gear that needs special attention, especially in areas of cleaning and maintenance.

For those who don’t know, dirty gloves left unattended to can breed bacteria and will eventually smell awful.

Interestingly, there are ways you can save yourself from the embarrassment of smelly gloves and join the trend of people with proper maintenance techniques to preserve their gloves from oozing out the bad odor.

In this guide, you will learn what it takes to maintain your boxing gloves the right way and show you how best to wash, clean, and deodorize your gloves as at when needed.

How to Keep Your Gloves Clean and Odor-Free

Here are some preventive measures to keep your gloves from been infected with bacteria and germs and stop them from becoming smelly.

Use an anti-bacterial spray to kill germs

To quickly freshen up your gloves, you can use an anti-bacterial spray to kill the germs in your gloves.

To make your gloves last longer and stay fresh, the anti-bacteria spray contains chemicals to dry up the interior of your gloves and gives it a sweet-smelling fragrance even when you forget to dry or air the gloves.

Here are the processes to clean your gloves with anti-bacteria sprays

  • Loosen up the hand gloves
  • Spray the anti-bacteria spray inside of the gloves
  • Allow it to dry up before hanging or replacing it in your bag.

Note: The anti-bacteria spray should be used less often.

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If you are already having a problem with your boxing gloves i.e., the gloves are already stinky, and the foulness from it might soon be unbearable, you can apply a deodorant/disinfectant that is specially made for such glove stench.

To be on a safer side with the type of disinfectant or deodorant to use, go for ones with organic essential oils rather than ones with harsh chemicals that can injure your skin and also damage your gloves.

Using a disinfectant will absorb the gloves moisture and kill most of the odor-causing bacteria and fungi and helps your gloves to come back alive at least by reducing the bad smell or eliminating the odor and replacing it with aromatic fragrance.

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Let them dry completely

Because germs need moistures to survive, your gloves need to be kept dry after every use. Keeping away germs and bacteria from breeding on your gloves will require that you completely dry out the gear after every training. Doing so will keep them fresh and will not make them stink.

Here’s how to keep them dry:

  • Keep the fan on your gloves or air the gloves in a well-ventilated position.
  • Keep them in the sun

Wipe your gloves after every use


As soon as you stopped training for the day, wipe the inside of your gloves clean with a dry towel or an absorbent cloth. An absorbent material is one of the easiest ways to keeping your hand gloves fresh and odor-free. Make sure to clean right into the glove fingers and thumb compartment to remove as much moisture as possible.

If you don’t have a paper towel or an absorbent cloth by your side, you can opt to use a hairdryer. Set the dryer at high cool to blow into the gloves for a couple of minutes.

Also, you will need a damp cloth to wipe the exterior of the glove because sweat can also cause stains on the leather. If when you get home from training and you forget to clean your gloves, these preliminary actions you did can sustain the lifespan of your gloves for a very long time and also keeps it fresh and clean

You can also stuff the inside of your gloves with newspapers and leave them there for about 2-5 hours to absorb any residual moisture. This is ideal when you don’t have a hairdryer or an absorbent cloth nearby.

Do not put your gloves in your bag

Don’t keep your gloves right inside the bag after use. This is very common for many people that right after training, they place the gloves right inside their training bag. This is very wrong because your bag does not allow enough air to get inside the gloves, and therefore it can turn to a place where bacteria can breed and grow. Take the gloves home to dry, and after drying them, you can place them in a bag.

If you keep leaving your gloves in the bag and you keep doing this at every training, you will, in the end, turn your gloves to a smelly and stinky gear in no time.

Wear Handwraps

Besides the fact that your hand wraps are meant to support your hands, it also helps to soak up your sweat while you train. Hand wraps are like a sponge and can easily absorb the moisture from padding inside your gloves.

Since the wraps quickly absorb the sweat, you will notice that it stinks immediately, usually within a few days of use. If you don’t wash your hand wraps every time you use it, the odor from it will quickly sink into your gloves.

This is why you need to go along with the recommended usage of the hand wraps to wash after every usage or at most after two training sessions.

Use apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another effective method to keep your gloves from safe and clean. It is one of the easiest ways to clean and freshen your boxing gloves. To use it correctly on your gloves

  • Pour about a tablespoon of the solution into your hand
  • Thoroughly rub the solution inside the gloves
  • Keep the gloves to dry overnight
  • Get a fresh smelling boxing gloves

Why Do Your Gloves Stink

Training to be a better Muay Thai fighter or a boxer can take a tow on your body, especially when you train every day.

You need all the strength and the alertness to be a better fighter, and these are all the things you do (training for strength and endurance) during your training hour to sharpen your skills and build confidence.

The stench that oozes out of your gloves over time can be very disturbing. The reason is that your glove is a perfect breeding ground for bacterial to grow since you are sweating a lot at each of your boxing sessions because the moisture from your body can promote the smelly bacterial growth.

If you have not been drying your gloves after every training, the gloves will stink to hell in no time. At times, the odor from your gloves can be so bad it gets the attention of people around you, and if they are not complaining about your smelly gloves, they probably are just too nice to embarrass you.

Do Not Use Methods

These cleaning measures are not recommended for your newly purchased gloves as they might likely get damaged easily with this process of maintenance. So if you are going to try them out, we recommend to use carefully and not in excess.

Washing Machine and Dryer

Do not use a washing machine to clean your boxing gloves. At least not when you will need it the next day. The problem with washing machine on your gloves is that your gloves will get soaked with much moisture and might take ages for it to get dried up completely. Besides, before the gloves dry up, some bacteria would have found an ideal breeding place inside the gloves and cause the gloves to start smelling if not completely dried up.

Silica Gel

Using silica gel can, at times, damage the gloves. While silica gel can reduce the incidence of mold within your gloves, however, the humidity level cause by the gel can be so low that it causes the leather to dry and crack. The thing is that it is challenging to determine how long to keep the gel inside the gloves to preserve it rather than to destroy it.

The Freezing Myth

One strange practice recommended by some people is to keep your boxing gloves in a freezer.

This practice is often believed to kill bacteria and fungi that cause glove stench. However, after much research on the freezing method, it is observed that although freezing may kill some of the bacteria when done at a very low temperature, but it will not kill all the germs but keep some of them in a dormant state.

This means that the bacteria stop breeding in the freezer. As soon as the gloves are taken out of the fridge and are warmed up, the bacteria become active again.

The Sun

This is a widespread practice, and it is handy in keeping the gloves dry and fresh after every training. However, the downside to doing this is that the more exposure the gloves is to the sun, the more damage it gets. When you overexpose your boxing gloves to the sun, it will crack the exterior part of the glove faster.

The saltwater soak

Soaking your gloves in the saline solution overnight can effectively kill the bacteria and get rid of the bad smell from the gloves. The solution can easily be applied to any gloves that are made with materials that won’t react negatively to what the solution is made from. If your boxing gloves are made of materials that respond to saltwater, the solution will quickly destroy the gloves. So it is advisable, always to check and do some research before soaking your gloves in saltwater.


How to keep boxing gloves clean?

Keeping your gloves smelling fresh and clean is very easy if you follow the methods outlined above. You can increase the lifespan of your gloves with proper and regular maintenance and cleaning.

Also to add more to what is listed above, you can as well consider these few tips

  • Make sure that your gloves are always by your side or somewhere well ventilated after every use
  • Make sure your gloves are not stuck inside the gym bag after every use because whenever you work out, the sweat from your body give rooms for the bacteria to grow especially when left in a non-ventilated bag
  • After every workout in the gym, make sure to sun or air the gloves immediately to stop the bacteria from breeding inside the gloves.

Can I put boxing gloves in the washing machine?

Except you don’t need the gloves anymore for your workout, you can do whatever you want with it.

But if you still in love with your gloves and you are ready to keep it safe from damage, avoid using the watching machine to clean it. It will, in the end, rip your gloves to pieces.


Your boxing gloves are a vital part of your training gear, especially if you are training to be a good boxer, Muay Thai Fighter, kickboxer, and many other martial arts. You don’t need to sweat it too much to get your gloves into good shape.

Making sure that you air or dry the gloves regularly will save you many embarrassing moments of foully smells coming from your stinking gloves.

Also, make sure your gloves are regularly cleaned and looking fresh so that it can last longer than expected. The methods above are easy enough, and it just requires your determination to follow through with regular maintenance at every training session.