If you’ve joined the boxing community and are on your way to becoming a pro, you might notice something unusual going on with your gloves. Over time, gloves that aren’t maintained properly start to develop an odor.
In order to avoid being put in a position where you’re in training with strange smells wafting up from your hands, you’ll want to learn how to properly maintain your boxing and kickboxing gloves.
Keep your gloves smelling fresh with the following tips and tricks!
Wear your hand wraps
Hand wraps can help protect your hands and wrists from injuries, but they also help keep your gloves clean by absorbing all the sweat from your hands (similar to how socks absorb sweat to keep your shoes from smelling).
If your gloves soak up that sweat instead, the smell is much harder to get rid. With hand wraps, all you have to do is remove the wraps and throw them in the washing machine. It is important to wear a clean pair of wraps each time you put your gloves on.
Wash your hands
Even before you put your gloves on, you should wash your hands. Our hands naturally carry all sorts of bacteria, and some bacteria grow in moist environments. If you sweat while wearing your gloves (which you will!) all that bacteria transfers into your gloves. As the bacteria begin to flourish inside your sweaty gloves, things start getting smelly.
Washing your hands with soap and water is best, but hand sanitizer also works in a pinch.
Air them out
After each practice, allow your gloves to air out. If you typically shove them into your gym locker or leave them in the backseat of your car, they aren’t getting enough airflow to properly air out. Leaving them in an airy location helps them dry out faster and also prevents bacteria from starting to grow inside of them. It is also recommended to undo the velcro and fold it back so that your gloves can be as open as possible.
Wipe them down
Even if you’re washing your hands and allowing your gloves to dry out between practices, there is still a possibility that bacteria are beginning to fester in your gloves. Wiping your gloves down with antibacterial wipes or spraying them down with a sports spray can help keep them smelling clean. Every so often, you can also gently wipe the outside of your gloves down with water.
Some gyms will even keep wipes or spray readily available. You can also make your own spray that consists of half water, half apple cider vinegar. This homemade solution helps sanitize and disinfect the inside of your gloves.
If absolutely needed, you can also completely soak your gloves in a mixture of water and dish soap. If you go this route, make sure to squeeze as much water out of them as possible before hanging your gloves outside so they can dry completely. Be careful though. Sometimes this cleaning method alters the shapes of gloves. If you want to make your gloves last as long as possible, save this method as a last resource.
The above tips are all about how to prevent smells, but if your gloves are already starting to smell, you’ll need to find a way to reduce the smells. A quick tip is to place dryer sheets into your gloves, but this will only cover up smells instead of eliminating them.
In order to eliminate smells, you need to grab something that can absorb moisture and odor. Baking soda is known for killing odors and it can be sprinkled into your glove. Make sure that your glove is as dry as possible before sprinkling the powder in (otherwise, it will stick to the fabric of your gloves). After the powder sits for a few hours, hold your gloves upside down and clap them together. This will get all the powder out.
Bags of cedar chips can also help absorb moisture and reduce odor. Simply place the chips in some sort of breathable material (such as a sock), and then place them in your gloves.
Replace if needed
No matter how much work you put into keeping your gloves smelling fresh, eventually they’ll need to be replaced. Gloves wear out and get old, just like shoes do.
If your gloves are starting to look worn and constantly stink, it’s time to throw your old pair away and buy a new pair. It’s recommended that you replace your gloves every 6-12 months.