Dominate The Competition

How To Clean Boxing Gloves (And How To Maintain Them)

Elite Striking Gear is reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small commission.
Written By: Richard Magallanes
Last Updated: April 11, 2021

Do you not know how to clean boxing gloves? Or do you want to find out if you've been doing it right all along? Wherever you are, you should read this. 

You know this already: You can’t train hard, and you can’t fight well without a clean pair of boxing gloves.

And not only does the inside padding need to be washed, but so do your wraps (which are essentially part of your gear).

But, if you don't know how to clean boxing gloves with cleaning agents and products that will help keep them in top shape year after year, then chances are you've been wasting more time than money!

This is especially true if you are just getting started. Whether you have budget boxing gloves or expensive professional boxing gloves...

Ensuring you maintain your gloves properly will allow your gloves to last longer.

This article is all about washing the insides of your boxing gloves properly.

TL;DR: How To Clean Boxing Gloves In 8 Easy Steps

To prevent your boxing gloves from giving out a terrible smell, you only have to follow a simple list of dos and don'ts.

  1. Use hand wraps before you start trading.
  2. Please don't put them in your bag after you're finished.
  3. Use glove deodorizer and disinfectant spray immediately afterward.
  4. Let them dry completely before re-use.
  5. Use baking soda.
  6. Soak your gloves in water and soap.
  7. Stuff your gloves with anti-bacterial globe dogs.
  8. Use apple cider vinegar.

Prevent Bacteria Build-Up And Maintain Your Gloves First.

Prevention is better than cure.

You must have heard that more than a million times.

As cliche as it might sound, it's very accurate.

If you prevent bacteria from getting into your gloves, it won't smell. The gloves do not have any chance of smelling if bacteria don't reach inside. 

Getting to know some of the best preventive measures that you should apply in your glove usage will come in handy, from using hand wraps to allowing them to dry completely after each use. 

1. Use Hand Wraps Before You Start Training

Man wrapping his hands. One of the best ways on how to clean boxing gloves.

Hand wraps don't have some antiseptic quality about them, but they can make the difference between a smelling glove after your boxing training session and a decent one. 

More reason to get hand wraps is that they are not expensive, and whatever price you get them for is worthy of preventing a smelly pair of gloves. 

Using a quality hand wrap means that your sweaty palms' moisture doesn't directly affect your boxing gloves.

The glove will absorb the moisture.

When you're done working, your gloves should still smell fresh.

Note that using hand wraps is not an almighty formula to prevent your gloves from smelling.

There are other steps to take. So, it would be best if you read on. 

2. Don't Put Them In Your Gym Bag After You're Finished

Picture of a gym bag. Don't put your boxing gloves in your bag.

This sounds like curbing a bad habit.

And it is.

If you're used to throwing your gloves in your bag, which seems normal, you need to start undoing it now.

Even after using hand wraps, leaving your gloves in the bag can lead to a build-up of bacteria that causes a bad smell —Your boxing glove won't be the only thing coming off contact with your sweaty body. 

According to a study on microbes, as temperature increases, the activity and growth of bacteria increase.

Although bacteria can thrive in extremely cold or hot temperatures, a warm place is the most suitable, and your bag fits the description perfectly. 

Don't let your gym bag be the breeding ground for bacteria. Always air your boxing gloves after training sessions.  

You've taken proactive measures to ensure that your training gloves are free from bacteria and horrible smells.

Hence, clean.

Now you can also do something to make sure that whatever remains that can cause your gloves to be unclean is suppressed.

Unlike the name suggests, Glove deodorizers actually work to remove moisture from your gloves.

This doesn't come as a surprise because the active ingredient in the deodorizer is silica, and silica works best to absorb moisture from its immediate environment.

The effectiveness of silica gel might vary depending on quality.

Some products say that 1g of active silica absorbs 1g of sweat while others pit 1g of silica against 2g of sweat. 

On the other hand, the anti-bacterial spray will deactivate the organism causing the awful smell in your gloves.

The disinfectant you use should be mild enough not to cause any damage to the boxing gloves.

3. Let Them Dry Completely Before Re-Use 

Picture of some old gloves. Leave your gloves out to dry before re-using them.

Even after using hand wraps, avoiding the bag, and spraying disinfectant and deodorizer, you need to make sure that your gloves are completely dry before you reuse them.

Regardless of what you do, moisture is a comfortable place for bacteria, and you always need to get rid of it.

To make sure that your gloves are completely dry, you can:

  1. Dry then outside on a particularly breezy day
  2. Store them indoors, in an area that is well ventilated. 

The Best Methods To Clean Your Boxing Gloves

Cleaning your boxing glove is anything from preventing foul odor to removing stains that accumulate from use. There are four great steps you can take, each one independent of the other, to maintain and keep your gloves clean.

1. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda helps you remove the odor from your boxing gloves, especially when there is no deodorizer to use.

Also, baking soda can get the smell out and keep your gloves fresh without getting the boxing gloves wet. A wet and smelly glove can be the ultimate disaster.

2. Soak Your Gloves In Water And Soap

Rather than throwing your gloves in the washing machine, you should consider soaking them in water and soap.

This way, you have control over the washing. You can clean the insides of your gloves without deforming them. 

While soaking is a better option than a washing machine, don't scrub the exterior of your boxing gloves. You can easily damage the leather exterior.

3. Stuff Your Gloves With Anti-Bacterial Glove Dogs

Antibacterial glove dogs naturally control the order and moisture that attempt to violate your boxing gloves.

They are bags filled with cedar chips that absorb all the bad smells and bacteria.

4. Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Also, apple cider is great for getting rid of the stink in your boxing gloves.

You only need to apply to the gloves and allow the gloves to dry properly. To apply apple cider vinegar to your gloves, you should try using one tablespoon of vinegar.

Pour the vinegar into your hands and rub the inside of your gloves with it.

Allow the gloves to dry properly.

If the process is effective, there shouldn't be any smell in your gloves when the gloves are dry. 

Methods You Should Avoid When Cleaning Your Boxing Gloves

Don't Use Your Washing Machine

Washing your gloves using a washing machine is likely to cause damage.

Boxing gloves have a defined shape, and the washing machines don't know that.

The washing machine whirls around and can damage the gloves manufacturers' intended design and reduce its performance and aesthetics. 

Don't Freeze Your Gloves

As an alternative to using baking soda, many people might want to throw their gloves in the freezer.

However, if the idea is that the bacteria in the boxing gloves will die, you're just wasting your time. 

While this won't damage your gloves, you could spend the time waiting for the bacteria to do something else.

Don't Leave Them Out In The Sun

Although airing your pair of boxing gloves is a great idea, you shouldn't leave them in the sun. Extended time in the sun can damage the leather or other material that makes up your glove. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Put Boxing Gloves In The Washing Machine?

Putting your gloves in the washing machine is detrimental to the shape of your gloves.

The washing can be very brutal with your gloves.

When you're done washing, you might not like what the glove looks like.

Rather than use a washing machine, soak the inside of the gloves with soap and water, then you can find any suitable material to clean the inside.

It would be best if you dried them totally before wearing them again. 

How Do I Clean The Inside Of My Boxing Gloves?

You could be cleaning the inside of your glove to remove stains or get rid of bad odor. Whichever one you're doing, some of the things you can do are:

  1. Use glove dogs to remove odor and moisture.
  2. Use baking soda to remove the odor. 
  3. Apply apple cider vinegar 
  4. Clean the exterior of your glove with the appropriate method for the material.

How Do You Get The Smell Out Of Boxing Gloves?

Certain substances act as agents against bad smells. If you apply them to your boxing gloves' inner compartment, the gloves will begin to smell fresh in no time.

  1. Apple cider vinegar
  2. Baking soda.
  3. Stuffing with glove dogs
  4. Applying disinfectant and deodorizers

How Do You Clean Smelly Gloves?

If your gloves are smelly, a simple process will do. You can try this:

  1. Apply any suitable deodorizing agent to the gloves. 
  2. Clean the exterior material of the gloves, especially to avoid damaging them. E.g., apply a soft, slightly damp cloth.
  3. Wash the inside with soap and water
  4. And lastly, leave it out to dry while avoiding the harshness of the sun.


The major issue with how to clean boxing gloves is the stink from within them after heavy use.

And there are preventive measures to make sure that the gloves don't stink in the first place.

However, you don't have to worry about a glove that is oozing with a bad smell anymore.

There are several ways which we have mentioned to get rid of it.

Since bad smell from bacteria activity is a major concern, washing your boxing gloves is not a big deal except considering them away in the washing machine.

And no matter how careful you are about it, washing machines weren't designed to clean your boxing gloves. 

Want to join A Community of Elite Strikers?

Join our Elite Striking Dojo for free and and share your knowledge with other like-minded fighters.