Boxing punch in black and white with one white glove and a black glove

How to Clean Boxing Gloves

Taking Care Of Your Gear: How to Clean Boxing Gloves

Boxing gloves are the most important tool in your boxing arsenal and it is important to keep them clean and well-maintained for optimum performance. This article will take you through a few of the different ways you can tend to your boxing gloves and have them looking brand new in no time.

How to Clean Boxing Gloves With Specialist Materials

The best way to clean boxing gloves is to care for them with materials specifically designed for cleaning them. This will help you get the best finish and protection and keep your gloves free from germs that can accumulate.

Odour Removers

The primary problem with boxing gloves is the sweaty stink that comes from having your hands trapped inside for long periods of time, getting hotter with more and more exercise. Odour removers help to eliminate the smell and keep your gloves fresh and ready to use.

  • Glove Deodorizers  – glove deodorizers can be put into your gloves after a workout or sparring session. They are stuffed with materials like moso bamboo charcoal that can draw out moisture, leaving them dry, fresh and sweat-free. Deodorizers can also be sprays like Kit Fresh

  • Odour Remover Sprays – Any number of sprays can work from especially made sports sprays like Inol to Lysol Spray and Febreze Sports Fabric. Just remember not to use normal Febreze

  • Disinfectant Wipes – These won’t get the bacteria caused by sweat out of your boxing gloves completely but they do provide a good surface cleanse on the outer layers of the inside and outside of your gloves.

Leather Boxing Gloves

Some gloves are made out of leather so it’s important to know how to properly care for the material to avoid damage and keep them in optimum condition.

The best shot is a leather conditioner like mink oil. This helps to moisturise the leather to avoid cracking. You could also use Leather Honey leather conditioner as this cleans the dirt on the inside of your boxing gloves and makes the leather soft and supple, increasing comfort for your workout and sparring sessions.

You can also use products like Vaseline and olive oil which can clean and smooth out leather, repairing scratches and keeping it soft. Lanolin does the job as well, leaving you with no shortage of options.

Cleaning Hacks For Your Boxing Gloves

Like with every other thing that’s ever needed to be cleaned, there are a few good cleaning hacks for when you haven’t got specific equipment that do just as good a job.


Wiping your gloves with a saltwater solution is a good way to lift germs and bacteria. You have to be careful though as some materials can get damaged in saltwater so make sure your boxing gloves are okay to use with this solution.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is everyone’s best friend when it comes to cleaning hacks. Rub a tablespoon’s worth of the vinegar into your gloves then leave out overnight to air. Sometimes, if the sweat is really bad, you may need a bit more vinegar.

Freezing Your Gloves

Freezing can kill bacteria growing in your gloves. To avoid having to defrost your gloves after freezing, put them in an airtight plastic bag. This will also stop moisture from soaking into your gloves and potentially damaging them.

Tea Bags and Newspapers

This method for cleaning boxing gloves is a popular one. Tea bags and newspapers can dry out moisture which lessens the smell of sweat. This is not a long-term solver of the odour problem by far but it is good for short-term surface use. Be careful that newspaper ink doesn’t bleed out and stain the material.

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Boxing Gloves

There are a few methods you should avoid when cleaning your boxing gloves to avoid damaging them.

Most importantly, boxing gloves aren’t machine washable so remember to never put them in for a washing machine cycle. The water and detergent will be absorbed by the gloves and cause wear and tear and shorten their lifespan. This is why wiping down comes better recommended as there’s less excess of water to soak into the gloves and ruin them.

You can put your hand wraps in the washing machine though so take advantage of this to achieve the best possible odour-free cleanliness in your gloves.

Another way to preserve your gloves and increase their longevity aside from avoiding heavy water washes is to look after them before and after washes as well. After washing, you should always let them air out and dry to avoid cracking and when you take them off to wash, don’t yank them hard or pull them off with your teeth. This can cause wear and tear, cracking the leather and pulling at the seams. If this happens, all the cleaning in the world won’t be able to fix it.

Looking after your boxing gloves is the most important part of being a boxer as they are the most important item in your kit. Making sure you know how to clean them properly keeps them smelling fresh and improves their lifespan. This saves you money and makes your workout and sparring sessions more comfortable and enjoyable. Remember that these tips can also apply to cleaning shin guards, affording your kit even more protection.

If you own a pair of Cleto Reyes Boxing Gloves and are thinking about cleaning them, they require a certain type of cleaning to ensure you don’t damage the gloves, see our Cleto Reyes Gloves Cleaning guide.

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