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How To Clean Boxing, Muay Thai, And MMA Gloves?

Boxing gloves are one of the best ways to protect your hands during high-intensity heavy bag sessions. Knuckle protection is very important as it lengthens the ring warrior’s career and keeps him away from injuries.

Unfortunately, when you train every single day, gloves get stinky due to sweating. Regular cleaning can make your gloves last longer. Clean equipment turns your training sessions into a wonderful experience.

how to clean boxing gloves

There are a few important steps to cleaning your gloves, and we will guide you through them. The most important thing is drying after every training session – this is the first line of defense against bacteria and odor.

How Should I Take Care Of My Gloves?

There are three important steps – cleaning and sanitizing your gloves, drying your gloves out, and making them smell nice. But we will add a fourth rule – do not miss any of these steps, please! We bet OCD fighters will enjoy this thread.

take care of your gloves

Follow our guidelines and start taking care of your gloves like a professional. Make your gloves a part of your training sessions for a long time!

Step 1: Clean And Sanitize

First of all, be responsible. The glove is like a pet, you have the responsibility. For example, if you forget to feed your cat, she will start meowing and won’t let you sleep.

Gloves can’t talk, but you’ll have to buy a new pair after few months, which affects your budget and the quality of your training sessions.

1.1. Take Your Gloves Out Of Your Gym Bag As Soon As You Enter Your Home

This is non-negotiable because the bacteria and sweat from your hands will transfer to the inside of your gloves quicker. Do not let them feed off your sweat and flourish.

take your gloves out of your gym bag

Airflow is very important. It lets your gloves breathe, especially if the temperature is 10 degrees or less. Very cold days are excellent because it is more difficult to neutralize the unpleasant odor at high temperatures.

When you get your gloves out of the training rucksack immediately, you will decrease the chances of creating odor by at least 50%. The more air they get, the better. We also recommend that you transport them outside of your bag, if possible. A car is a great solution.

1.2. Wipe Your Gloves Out

A cloth or a towel should be a good friend of yours. We recommend you to keep a small towel at home. You could put it near the entrance to your home to remind you of your obligations.

Just wrap your hand around the cloth or towel, stick your left or right hand into the glove and move your hand around. Repeat the same process on your other glove. You don’t need more than 30 seconds per glove. Anyone can find that time, even the busiest man on the planet.

1.3. Clean The Inside Of Your Glove

Now it is time to disinfect and sanitize the area inside of your gloves and to stop the bacteria growth once and for all.

We kindly recommend you to try half-and-half vinegar (malt, cedar, balsamic, and apple cider should be the most powerful ones) and water solution.

disinfect and sanitize your gloves

Please buy one spray bottle and put your solution inside of it, then spray the inner part of the glove. Tea tree oil improves anti-fungal action, so you can put few drops in the solution (this step is optional).

Harsh-cleaning spray is not good. It damages your glove (the glove becomes stiffer and uncomfortable) and affects your skin. Do not use products that only mask the odor, your goal is to destroy bacteria.

1.4. Clean The Outside Of Your Glove

Spray the same solution from the previous step to the outer part of your glove to counter bacteria development.

Wait for around 10-15 seconds until the solution works, then take a clean cloth or towel and gently wipe the outside of your glove. This removes dirt and sweat and keeps your gloves extra clean.

1.5. Glove Conditioning (Optional But Recommended)

This depends on the material, but gloves are usually made of leather. You can extend the life of your gloves by creating a regular conditioning regiment. Purchase a leather conditioner (finding one online is fine). Lexol, Trinova, and Bickmore are good options, but please, feel free to choose according to your taste.

glove conditioning

Just put a small amount of conditioner and a few drops of tea tree oil on the outer part of the glove, then work it into the leather using circular motions. When you finish, wait for one to two minutes and wipe them with a clean towel. Do this at least once per week so that your gloves will last longer.

Step 2: How To Dry Your Gloves

This is one of the best ways to protect your gloves from bacteria. Just eliminate the moisture and sweat inside of your gloves. Drying is very easy, and your gloves will last longer.

2.1. Air Drying

Our recommendation is to put your gloves in the shade, especially on a warm day, and let them dry out completely after sanitizing process. If you sanitize gloves and forget to dry them out, it’s not a fatal error, but it might lead to some negative effects.

Just open your gloves by folding the wrist straps back, and turn them upside down. Make sure your wrist straps are attached to something as the glove mustn’t close.

Optionally, you can hang gloves near the fan or next to the window. You have a clothespin in your home, don’t you?

Air drying is way more important than sanitizing. Even if you forget to clean and disinfect your gloves, you mustn’t forget to let the air battle against bacteria.

2.2. Put Newspaper Inside Of Your Glove

If you live with fans of the classic era, this is a fabulous solution for you. Our grandparents got used to buying newspapers and they don’t want to change their habits. Old newspapers are great for gloves for one reason – absorbing excess moisture.

Roll a few sheets of your old newspapers into a loose ball. You will need two of them, one for each glove. Stuff one ball of paper into each glove and check after few hours. Fill your other glove too. Check after 4-8 hours. If there’s too much moisture, just replace it with another paper ball.

Repeat this process 2-3 times. Note: you can do it once per week or once in two weeks.

2.3. Blow Dryer Does The Job

This is an excellent idea when you train two times per day and there’s no time for air drying. But we must warn you – too much heat could damage your gloves, so please, pay attention to dryer settings.

It is very simple. Open your glove, put the nozzle inside of it and turn the blow dryer on. When it is dry, repeat the same process with your other boxing/MMA piece of equipment.

2.4. Gloves In The Sun – NO WAY!

Listen, the sun can dry your gloves out, but it is can also be harmful. Extreme heat damages the glove and affects stiffness. Your gloves will not last for long, so please, be wise.

Leave your gloves in the shade, forget about direct sunlight. If you need a quick-drying session, leave them in the sun for about 20 minutes on a warm day (but don’t forget about them).

Normal temperature (15-25 Celsius) is less harmful. Yet, too much direct sunlight is not a good idea due to ultraviolet rays.

Step 3: Dealing With Odor – How Can I Make My Gloves Smell Better?

One final step refers to dealing with bad smells. You can clean like a pro, but long-term use will surely lead to odor at some point. Here are some ideas to deal with it.

3.1. Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of the easiest-to-afford deodorizers. Make sure your gloves are dry, and put a few pinches of baking soda on the inside of your boxing/MMA gloves and let them deal with bad smells for 6-8 hours.

baking soda for boxing gloves

Removing the baking soda is also easy – bang the gloves out or use a vacuum cleaner.

3.2. Dry Sheet

A dry sheet of toilet paper is a very good option after you finish the cleaning process. All you have to do is wipe the inside of your favorite weapon with a clean sheet.

It is one of the cheapest options on the market – the majority of people buy toilet paper when they go shopping.

3.3. Essential Oils

Now it is time to go one step further. This will not only neutralize odor but will allow you to feel the scent of a different part of the world. Your gloves will smell like some of the most exotic areas of the world.

essential oils to make gloves smell good

Oils’ anti-fungal and anti-bacterial features will keep your gloves clean, plus everybody around you will notice the difference. The new smell of your glove will draw attention.

We recommend you add few drops of your favorite essential oil to one cup of water, then put it into a spray bottle. Spray each glove a few times. Lemongrass and eucalyptus oils are excellent if you’d like to stand out. Yet, if you’re a fan of light scents, peppermint and rosemary will do the job for you.

3.4. Another Optional Solution – Cedar Chips

This is an old-school trick. You have a pair of old socks, don’t you? Please fill your socks with cedar chips (or shaved pine) and tie off the ends of each sock. Put one sock into each glove and you’ll find that this is another lovely option to neutralize the bad smell and deal with bacteria.


It is not particularly hard to keep your gloves clean. Everybody can take them out of the bag upon arriving home. You need less than one minute to take them to the balcony or other suitable area of your house.

We showed you how to clean your gloves and protect them from heat, mold, moisture, and bacteria. We hope our tutorial will enhance the life of your gloves. Follow our recommendations and your gloves could last for years to come.