Namaste. Let’s talk truth right now. Being engaged in the art of Muay Thai, you understand strength and discipline. When you’re giving it your all every time you step into the gym, you can be sure that sweat will be part of the journey.
What happens when you sweat? If you were thinking about the unpleasant odor that comes along with the grind, you’re absolutely correct.
So, what’s my point? Muay Thai, like most sports, calls for the right equipment. One very crucial part of the Muay Thai get up is the gloves. The way you care for your equipment determines its longevity and performance.
Let’s not forget that your hands are imperative and need protecting. All other gear aside, your body is the original tool of the trade. Tip to the wise, finding the best possible gloves is essential.
The better the quality, the more protection for yourself.
Taking Care of Your Investment
Now that you’ve found your perfect gloves, it’s time to make sure they stay with you for a long time. Typically, a pair of Thai Boxing gloves will last from one to three years, and the goal is to extend the time as much as possible. The best place to begin is with your very inestimable hands.
First, let’s talk about hand wraps. For the good of your gloves, hand wraps are a necessity. The wraps should be cotton with a small percentage of Elastane, which helps to keep the shape intact. Because the wraps go around your fingers, the Elastane allows them to reshape.
They should be hand-washed and hung to dry, if possible, to retain their elasticity. The washer and dryer tend to stretch them out and help them lose their shape. It will also help to flatten them out a bit rather than tossing them somewhere and hoping for the best. If you can wash them after each use, that’s ideal but wash them as often as possible.
Wrapping your hands before you put those gloves on will help to absorb some of that sweat. After all, the first thing sweat comes in contact with is your wraps.
Under your gloves, you might also consider inner gloves. Some of them are light and breathable cotton, and others use a gel for extra hand protection. The gel is a padding that protects your knuckles and the backs of your hands.
The choice is yours to make, and only you can decide what wraps are the best. It’s always wise to remember that, for Muay Thai gloves and wraps, quality is foremost.
That’s just the beginning, and until now, we haven’t done anything with the gloves. Never, under any circumstances, put your gloves in the washer or dryer. The fastest way to destroy your gloves is to use either one of those machines. Leather cannot withstand the heat of the dryer or to be drenched in the washer.
Think of what your leather jacket might look like after a trip to the washer or dryer; it is not a pretty sight. Of course, using common sense when it comes to any of your equipment is always a smart idea.
Your Muay Thai gloves, or any boxing gloves, need to have air to breathe. One helpful tip is to get yourself a mesh sports bag that allows air to flow through. Mesh bags are useful and worth investing in for the life of your gloves. If you aren’t able to purchase a mesh bag, make sure you don’t leave the gloves in your gym bag after use. Standard gym bags are primarily for toting your equipment but are not the place to keep your gear between uses.
The best way to keep your gear in the best condition is to make a habit of cleaning them after each use. If you make cleaning a routine, it will never be an issue. With Muay Thai gloves, there are several ways to clean them carefully.
Always keep one specific rule in mind; ventilation is imperative. Without proper ventilation, your gloves will soon give off the odor of a high school gym locker.
After every use, you need to clean your gloves inside and out. If you leave them for next time, you’ll be creating an incubator for bacteria. Growing and festering bacteria is synonymous with a nasty smell.
Just the thought of sticking your hands into that stench will be reminder enough to make it a ritual to clean them. It makes sense to care for them regularly.
Take a damp, not wet, cloth, and wipe your gloves clean on the outside. Immediately wipe them with a clean cloth; the leather needs to be dry. You’ll need an anti-bacterial wipe or spray for the inside.
Sanitizing after every use is pretty crucial. Ever worn shoes without socks? The same result occurs if you don’t perform some anti-bacterial work with your gloves.
If you want to get fancy and be thorough with the inside of your gloves, there’s another method. You’ll need a spray bottle to combine equal parts of water, baking soda, and vinegar. Mix well and spray the inside and the outside with your solution.
The ingredients will naturally deodorize and kill any bacteria inside and outside of your gloves. Make sure you dry them on the outside relatively fast. Take a clean towel and dry the inside; a paper towel will suffice. Always make sure they dry completely before the next use.
Going the Extra Mile
Now, if you are still worried about odor or bacteria, feel free to use an antibacterial spray or wipe on the inside. You may also spray the inside with a fabric refresher that eliminates odor. Whatever you do to remove odor and bacteria, they have to dry completely. Either hang them up or lie them open in a well-ventilated place.
Just don’t leave them outdoors in the sun to dry because the leather may crack. Remember not to wear them until they’re completely dried.
If you have some time between uses and the gloves will be sedentary for a bit, you can put dry newspaper in each glove to absorb any moisture and keep them dry. Silica packs in each of the gloves is also a great way to keep them dry; those are the little pillow-type packets inside vitamin bottles that say, DO NOT EAT.
Another little tip to keep your gloves smelling good is to put a dryer sheet inside each of the gloves. Another option is using glove dogs in between uses. Glove dogs are flannel material filled with cedar chips that absorb moisture and odors. The price is pretty reasonable for the job they accomplish. The resulting scent is the pleasant aroma of cedar.
Muay Thai is a sport of discipline and commitment. Your body will need to be able to keep up with the hurdles ahead and it deserves respect and protection from harm. Never substitute cost for quality because Muay Thai is about pushing your body to the limit. Cutting corners is not recommended when you’re protecting something that precious. Take the time to care for your equipment, and it will in turn take care of you.