Your gloves will probably start to smell long before the padding wears down, and once they start to smell, there isn’t much that can be done. It’s essential to do what you can to prevent having to replace a perfectly functional set of gloves, and learn the best way to clean boxing gloves.
Here are some frequently asked questions and tips on how to clean boxing gloves and how to wash hand wraps and prolong their life with proper care.
Can Boxing Gloves Be Washed in the Washing Machine?
No, boxing gloves cannot be washed. Of course, it’s inevitable that the inside will become damp with sweat, which is what leads to odor. Keep reading and we’ll tell you what to do for the best way to clean boxing gloves.
How Do You Clean and Sanitize Boxing Gloves?
Though you can’t throw your boxing gloves in the washing machine, there are three (3) main steps you can take to keep them fresh.
1. Use Fresh Wraps Every Time
Whether you choose to use traditional hand wraps or quick wraps, always use a fresh pair when you work out. It’s best practice to wash your wraps after every use. If you don’t, at least wash them fully every 3 - 5 uses, and in between washes, consider rinsing or disinfecting them as added protection against bacteria growth.
2. Use Disinfectant/Deodorizer Spray
Many boxers use disinfectant or deodorizer spray inside their gloves after every workout. There are deodorizers and disinfectants on the market made specifically for boxing gloves, but just a quick spritz of any disinfectant should be enough to knock out any budding bacteria that may be lurking. Additionally, you can sprinkle a pinch of baking soda into each glove letting them sit overnight. Just remember to shake out any remaining baking soda before hitting the bag again.
Here are a few disinfectant/deodorizers to try:
Or, make your own with 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water:
3. Use Glove Dogs for Storage
After a workout, always leave your gloves in the open rather than keeping them stuffed away in your gym bag so they can air out. A pair of glove dogs, like these from our Care Kit, can do wonders for eliminating any lingering odors. Glove dogs are breathable pouches filled with cedar chips that absorb moisture inside your boxing gloves when stored.
Here are a few popular glove dog brands and options:
FightCamp Trainer Shanie Smash recommends using cedar or lavender sachet bags to store her gloves.
How Do You Care For Boxing Hand Wraps?
Boxing hand wraps are the first line of defense for keeping your gloves smelling fresh. Taking good care of your boxing wraps will ensure that your gloves also stay clean.
You should have a few pairs of hand wraps available so that you can wash a used pair after every workout. As soon as they get wet with sweat, they are prone to bacteria growth and bad odor. This will transfer to your gloves.
FightCamp Trainer Shanie Smash knows that clean hand wraps are the key to fresh hands and gloves.
“I wash them every single time I wear them. I use my wraps hundreds of times; they won’t smell if you take care of them,” says Shanie.
How Often Should You Wash Your Boxing Wraps?
Both traditional hand wraps and quick wraps can be thrown in the washing machine.
If you have quick wraps, secure the Velcro so it won’t attach to other fabric
For both traditional wraps and quick wraps, use a garment bag - if you don’t have one, we recommend washing them by hand
Use a gentle cycle with cool water (Alternatively, Shanie washes hers with hot water to kill bacteria and throw some white rice vinegar to help naturally eliminate odors.)
Most boxing hand wraps can also be put in the dryer on a low heat setting. As long as you don’t use high heat, the elastic and Velcro should be safe, but many boxers choose to air dry them instead.
FightCamp team member Cassie prefers to use quick wraps, and switched from air drying to machine drying for convenience.
“I wash them once a week with dark colors and I put them in a lingerie bag so that the Velcro doesn't snag the other stuff. I used to lay them out in the sun to dry but now I put them in the dryer,” she says.
How Often Should You Replace Boxing Wraps and Gloves?
Once the elastic or Velcro wears out or they develop any rips and tears, it’s time to replace your wraps. That’s why we recommend having multiple pairs at any given time, so you are never without sufficient protective gear.
Heavy bag boxing gloves can last 1-2 years, depending on the quality of the glove and how hard you are training. If you start to feel more impact on your knuckles, you should consider replacing them to avoid hand injury. Of course, if they start to smell, that’s another sign it’s time for an upgrade.
Caring for your gloves and knowing how to wash boxing wraps will keep them fresher and lasting longer. It’s easy to add some simple cleaning steps to your post-workout routine. It’s a small time investment to protect your most important pieces of boxing equipment!
How To Use Boxing Hand Wraps: For Beginners
Best Punching (Heavy) Bag Boxing Gloves
How to Choose the Best Boxing Gloves for Beginners
Step-By-Step Hand Wrapping (Traditional Boxing Wraps)
Step-By-Step: How To Put On Boxing Quick Wraps