Are your boxing gloves looking tattered and dull? Miss the days where your gloves looked like they were right out of the box? Cleaning your boxing gloves is not only important to show that you take the sport seriously, but it’s also the best way to avoid unnecessary wear and tear that leads to buying more pairs in the future. So, how to clean boxing gloves properly?
For me, finding the perfect cleaning regime took a long time, but after years of experimentation, I’ve whittled it down to the ideal formula. Now my gloves never come out of my gym bag without looking buffed, shiny and polished.
So, if you’ve been looking for a cleaning method that’s easy yet effective, boy do I have the advice for you. Keep reading to find out everything you could ever want to know about cleaning boxing gloves.
How to Clean Your Boxing Gloves
Cleaning your gloves is a process that’s made up of lots of lifestyle changes. It doesn’t take a lot, but lots of small changes really add up. If you avoid looking after your gloves, you’ll find that they start to smell and even degrade very quickly, so it’s vital to wash them regularly.
Keep ‘Em Dry
One of the most important factors in the glove cleaning process is making sure they dry completely after you use them.
Those hours in the ring or in the gym mean that you’re going to be sweating quite a bit. This excess moisture can build up to make your gloves smelly and dirty, basically making the cleaning process much more difficult. Simply pop your gloves in a temperature controlled room or by a radiator to let them dry over a couple of hours.
Alternatively, if you’ve got a little bit of extra time after your workout, you can use a hairdryer (like one in a gym changing room) or a heater to make sure they are completely dry.
Wipe Your Gloves Every Time
Of course, no matter how effective your cleaning process is, if you don’t clean your gloves regularly and consistently, there’s very little point in cleaning them at all. To get the absolute most of this cleaning advice, then it’s good practice to wipe down your gloves after every single use. Bring a spare cloth to wipe down any grub or grime once you’re finished using your gloves. If you do that, you’ll thank yourself down the line.
Keep Your Gloves Out of Your Bag
Most people shove all of their gear in the same bag. I can’t blame you if you do. For years, I was using the same crummy gym back that was always too small, and it definitely had an unexpected effect on my boxing gloves.
In fact, I was exacerbating how dirty and smelly my gloves were getting by surrounding them with my dirty post-workout clothes. Once I bought a dedicated glove bag the difference was day and night, and now I always recommend using multiple bags to everyone I meet.
Wrap Your Hands
Hand wraps give useful support to your hands whilst you box, but did you know they’re excellent at keeping your gloves clean as well?
With the insulation offered by boxing gloves combined with the heavy workout that a boxing session provides, your hands are a poor man’s sweatbox when you’re in the ring. If you simply take the extra step to wrap your hands before you box, you’ll be able to soak up the vast majority of moisture that you sweat out. This means you’ll be directing all your sweat into your hand wraps and away from the inner materials of your gloves.
That said, don’t forget to wash your hand wraps too! After every use is ideal, but you can usually get away with 2 uses before they get unbearably stinky.
Use Anti-Bacterial Spray to Kill Germs
After 2020, we’ve all become very familiar with using antibacterial spray wherever and whenever we can.
But have you incorporated antibacterial products into your cleaning regime? For years, I wrongly assumed that a bit of soap was enough, but nothing quite does the job like a high percentage antibacterial spray.
With a few quick squirts, leave the spray solution to soak on your gloves for just a few minutes. Don’t immediately wipe it off! The extra 120 seconds you wait for the solution to do its magic will ensure that you’re eliminating all of the germs you can.
The Salt Water Soak Method
Salt is a cheap, natural and powerful antibacterial resource that you can use to really exterminate all the grossness that builds up in the deepest crevices in your gloves.
Rather than washing your gloves with harsh detergent, using a basic salt water solution leaves minimum impact on the integrity of your gloves whilst making them squeaky clean.
- To make a salt water soak, grab a large container to place your gloves in.
- Boil a pot of water to fill the vessel so that the water covers your gloves.
- Then add a cup or two of salt. The amount of salt will depend on how dirty your gloves are, so increase the measurements to your liking.
Just be sure to use a rod or stick to stir in the salt so that you avoid touching the boiling water.
Freeze Your Gloves Overnight
Trust me, this works. Anyone who’s more in the know about science will tell you that the freezer can kill any bacteria lingering in your favorite pair of gloves.
Once you’ve finished your workout and dried out your gloves completely, place your gloves in a freezer bag or grocery bag and seal it. Then simply place the bag on one of your freezer trays and leave it to chill for 24 hours. Obviously this method means you’ll need to defrost them before use, so make sure you’ve got another spare pair if you haven’t got extra time to wait for your frozen gloves to thaw.
The Stuffing Method
Another very cheap way of preventing unnecessary build up of bacteria is by using the stuffing method. Basically, by stuffing your gloves with whatever you have around, you can draw out any excess moisture.
The best materials to avoid over-moisture are ones with high levels of absorption. One that I like to use is my collection of old newspapers that I always manage to accumulate over time. These are great for soaking up any and all moisture in my gloves, and it makes cleaning so much easier later on. You could also buy a few dedicated cloths as well.
How Often Should I Clean My Boxing Gloves?
With all of the information above, you should have the cleanest and tidiest gloves this side of the boxing ring! But there’s no use in cleaning your gloves every blue moon; you need to clean them regularly to make sure that bacteria doesn’t seep into the porous materials of your gloves.
Personally, I wipe my gloves after every time I use them. It doesn’t take a lot to give them a basic wipe down as well as a quick spray from an antibacterial bottle. This basic step will do wonders for your gloves’ overall health, and it will also mean that you don’t need to deep clean your gloves nearly as much.
When it comes to a full wash, I go for once a week, or twice a week depending on how often I train. This really does depend on a few factors like how frequently you get in the ring, how sweaty you are, and how robust and anti-absorbant your gloves are. As a rule of thumb though, a weekly wash will provide a regular cleaning cycle to wash out any build ups of bacteria and other nastiness.
That’s the end of my wisdom when it comes to everything about cleaning boxing gloves. Years in the making, these basic steps that I’ve picked up in changing rooms and on boxing forums are guaranteed to keep your gloves clean and lasting for as long as possible.
Like I said earlier, this advice is important because proper glove maintenance not only makes boxing more enjoyable, but it can actually increase the longevity of your gloves. That means you’ll be able to use your favourite pair of gloves for longer, and not have to worry about replacing them after a short time.
Did you like the article? Are there any hints and tips that you’ve picked up that you’d like to share? If so, leave a comment below and share it to any of your boxing buddies who could use some advice dealing with their pair of manky mittens…
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