Best Way To Clean Boxing Gloves – 6 Easy Steps

After a long boxing workout or sparring session, your gloves will be sweaty and smelly. You must clean it right away to prevent bacterial build-up that may soon damage the gloves. In this post, I discussed the best way to clean boxing gloves with easy steps and materials.

Best way to clean boxing glovesOnce your boxing gloves are well-cleaned, the next step is to condition it

What you need:

Antibacterial spray/wipe
Leather conditioner
Clean towels
Odor absorbers (DIY or bought)
Large freezer bag


Step 1. Wipe it

After using your boxing gloves, the first thing you should do is wipe it with an absorbent towel. Never toss your boxing gloves straight to your gear bag without cleaning it first.

  •       You must use a disinfectant spray made for the specific material of your boxing gloves.
  •       If you don’t a cleaning spray, you can use an antibacterial wipe.
  •       Most gyms have these wipes intended for cleaning various workout gloves.
  •       A DIY solution is white vinegar diluted in equal parts of water.
  •       Spray the solution all over the shell of your gloves then wipe it dry.  

Step 2. Clean the insides

After cleaning the glove shell, it’s important to wipe the liner as well. This is where most of the sweat gets trapped so it’s important to disinfect it properly.

  •       Use another antibacterial wipe to remove the smell inside the gloves.
  •       If your boxing gloves tend to smell really bad, I suggest using a sport spray for the liner.
  •       Never use products like Febreze as it only masks the smell and not remove the sweat in your gloves.
  •       Fabric sprays not intended for glove use will make the glove liner stiff and even itchy to the skin.
  •       You can also spray your white vinegar solution inside the boxing gloves to neutralize the smell.
  •       The sour smell will soon wear off so don’t worry if it smells like vinegar initially.
  •       After cleaning the shell and liner, wipe it with a clean and dry cloth to remove the excess moisture.

Step 3. Condition it

Once your boxing gloves are well-cleaned, the next step is to condition it. This is to prevent external material from cracking or rotting. If not conditioned, the leather will soon stiffen and crack.

  •       If the shell of your gloves is made of shell, you must use a leather conditioner that can be used on leather work gloves as well.
  •       If you don’t have a commercial leather conditioner, you can use a small amount of lemon essential oil instead.
  •       Wipe this all over the boxing glove shell using a lint-free cloth.
  •       Always wipe in a circular motion so the oil gets absorbed by the material.
  •       If there’s excess conditioner, wipe it with a clean towel.
  •       Make sure that you condition the back of the hand, the palm, and the finger areas.

Step 4. Use an odor absorber

After that, you need to suck the remaining odor out of your boxing gloves. Remember that cleaning a boxing glove shouldn’t be a mere case of masking the smell. You should remove the scent to ensure that your gear will remain clean. Before you leave your boxing gloves to dry, you must place an odor absorber inside it. Here are your options:

  •       First, stuff the boxing gloves with newspaper so it would absorb the remaining moisture.
  •       The newspaper will also retain the shape of your boxing gloves while drying.
  •       You can also blow-dry the insides of the boxing gloves, but make sure that you use low heat.
  •       To deodorize naturally, sprinkle baking soda inside or use baking soda pouches that are contained inside coffee filters.
  •       Cedar chips also make a good deodorizer. Place some inside a cotton sock and tie it loosely to let the smell reach the gloves.
  •       If you sprinkled baking soda inside the gloves, you would need to vacuum it once dry.
  •       Lastly, you can place activated charcoal bags inside the gloves to suck out moisture and smell at the same time.

Step 5. Let it air-dry

Once you have placed a deodorizer inside your boxing gloves, the next step is to dry it. It’s important to keep the gloves dry so it will not be the harborage of bacteria and the dreaded molds.

  •       Avoid direct heat like sunlight or fire when drying your boxing gloves.
  •       Look for a shade with excellent airflow to dry your gloves naturally.
  •       Place the gloves with the palms facing the ground on a clean mesh screen or grille.
  •       I don’t advise hanging the gloves on the clothesline as it may lose its form.
  •       Never use a high-heat setting on your blow-dryer to dry your boxing gloves.
  •       Allow at least 24 hours for your boxing gloves to aerate and dry properly.

Step 6. Freeze it

Freeze the gloves? You might think that this step is counterintuitive, but it actually helps me when my boxing gloves still have a smell after doing the previous steps. Anyway, you’re free to skip this part if you need to use your gloves immediately. Here’s what you need to do:

  •       Put your boxing gloves inside a large freezer bag, ensuring that there are no tiny holes in it.
  •       Make sure that your gloves are bone-dry before doing this.
  •       Place the boxing gloves inside the freezer for 24 hours
  •       This will freeze and kill the remaining bacteria that’s causing a stinky smell on your gloves.
  •       After 24 hours, take the gloves out and let it thaw naturally.
  •       Don’t put the frozen boxing gloves in direct sunlight.
  •       Let it aerate for a couple of hours before using it again.

Can I wash my boxing gloves?

One question I often receive is whether boxing gloves are washable or not. Considering its very thick material, it may not be wise to wash it fully, especially if you need to use the gloves right away. However, if your gloves are pretty soiled and smelling bad, you may need to bathe it instead of simply cleaning it as I did above:

  •       Fill a bucket with tap water then soak your boxing gloves in it.
  •       In another bucket, mix clean water with a small amount of dish soap or a glove soap.
  •       After giving your boxing gloves a good rinse, transfer it to the soapy bucket.
  •       Squeeze the gloves gently; never wring or twist it.
  •       Repeat the process by refilling the bucket with clean water and soap.
  •       Make sure that you rub the liner to remove any sweat and smell stuck in it.
  •       After washing, squeeze the gloves gently to remove the excess water dripping from it.
  •       Next, place it on a surface where the moisture can drip.
  •       Let the boxing gloves dry for at least 48 hours and avoid direct sunlight or heat.
  •       Never put your boxing gloves in the washer or dryer 

How to prevent bad odor in boxing gloves

Aside from keeping your boxing gloves clean, you should also prevent odor buildup. Remember that the foul smell is due to bacterial buildup because you allowed sweat linger on the material. To prevent the stinky problem, you must do the following:

  • Wear a hand sock. It’s not a good idea to wear boxing gloves in direct contact with your skin. Always wear hand socks so it will absorb most of the moisture. Aside from that, hand socks also act as an additional layer of protection and support for your hands.
  • Stash a deodorizer in it. Make it a habit to place a packet of deodorizer inside each glove before storing it inside your gear bag. It could be commercially available deodorizers or DIY baking soda pouches.
  • Get a back-up pair. One of the common reasons why your boxing gloves become a stinky pair is you use it too often. Sweat accumulates fast and so is the smell. If possible, get another pair so you can clean and aerate the other one properly.
  • Don’t store it dirty. One of the biggest sins is tossing your boxing gloves inside your gear bag full of sweat. The next day, your entire gear bag would be a stinky mess. You should take the time to clean your boxing gloves every single time you use it.

When to replace boxing gloves

Just like any glove, boxing gloves are not meant to last forever. You will need to replace it at some point. The rule of thumb is to replace the gloves every six months of regular use. However, if you’re only using your boxing gloves for weekend workouts, it can last for up to two years or even more.

However, the judge here is the condition of your boxing gloves. Although it’s clean, worn-out gloves with a cracked shell and flattened cushion are best replaced. Such damages mean that your boxing gloves no longer give topnotch protection when worn.

Take note that the lifespan of your boxing gloves can be extended if you clean it regularly and properly. Also, you must invest in a quality pair that can take the beating of your sparring routines


The best way to clean boxing gloves will help stretch the lifespan if your gear. Also, it will remove the stink brought by sweat and bacterial buildup. Remember that cleaning your boxing gloves should be a habit. The steps I discussed above are the simplest ways without using any special tools. You only need an antibacterial spray, clean towels, leather conditioner, and DIY deodorizers to get it done.


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