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How to Keep Your Boxing Gloves from Smelling


By Bryanna Fissori 

Take a minute to enjoy that fresh smell of new boxing gloves. Without proper care, it will not last long. With some conscious effort, you may be able to keep your boxing gloves from smelling. Here are some tips to avoid being the “stinky glove person.”

Wash Your Hands

It sounds simple enough, and possibly even irrelevant given that you are about to get super sweaty. Hands carry a lot of bacteria, and though it may not seem like a big deal now when that bacteria is introduced to the awesome environment of a hot and sweaty glove, they flourish in odorific ways. Keeping a travel size bottle of hand sanitizer is a quick way to help keep your gloves boxing gloves from smelling as a precaution before you even put them on. 

Wear Wraps

Before we even get to gloves, let’s address wraps. If you think you are too tough for wraps, we assure you are not. Not only do wraps provide crucial protection for the hand and wrist, they also serve sanitary purposes. Think about a pair of shoes that is repeatedly worn without socks. Ewww… That smell is hard to get rid of and the same can be said of gloves worn without wraps. 

Like feet, hands also sweat and profusely so during any intense boxing class. Wraps help to soak up a lot of that sweat and are much easier to wash than gloves. They can easily be thrown in the washing machine with the rest of your workout clothes. If using traditional cloth wraps, in order to keep them from getting tangled you can purchase small mesh bags that allow the wraps to get fully cleaned without strangling the rest of your clothes. 

Glove Care

Once your gloves get stinky it is hard to go back, so pay heed to the warning. Air your gloves out before they are past the point of no return. 

The moisture in the gloves is the biggest contributor to smell because it provides a great environment for bacteria to breed. Ensuring that gloves are fully dried out between workouts is crucial. The keys to achieving dry gloves without too much time consumption is to take them out of your gym bag as soon as humanly possible. If you can avoid even putting them back in your gym bag, that is even better chance that you can keep your boxing gloves from smelling.  

Folding the Velcro back so that the glove is as open as possible will also be very helpful. Hanging them up in an open area with a lot of airflow is also ideal. You may even stuff them with newspaper to help soak up the sweat. 

Tricks of the Trade

There are some tricks that may help reduce smell and keep those gloves fresh and clean. They take a little more of a conscious effort, but if you have high-quality gloves that you aren’t looking to replace any time soon, you may want to take notes.

Vinegar and Water Spay

First of all, the fun smelling stuff like Fabreeze or body spray may seem like a great idea in the moment, but it does not address the underlying bacteria and it may cause the fabric of the glove to harden and crack. Using a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar has been used for decades to get rid of smell and bacteria. Either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar would be appropriate. Put the mixture in a spray bottle so that it is easily available for multiple uses. Spray your magic potion on both the inside and outside of the glove. Wipe it down and air it out. Vinegar is also a great additive to your laundry when washing stinky gym clothes. 

Baking Soda

Known universally for its odor-killing power, a sprinkle of baking soda in you DRY gloves should help alleviate some of the remaining odor. Let the powder sit for a couple of hours and then remove by holding the gloves with the open side down and clapping them together. 

Dryer Sheets

They will not do anything to assist in the drying process, but they will make your dry gloves smell fresh and clean. You may wipe out the glove with a dryer sheet or just leave one in each glove. This method of odor mitigation can be paired with any of the other tips we have given to help keep your boxing gloves from smelling. 

Cedar Chips

Take a pair of clean socks and stuff them with cedar chips like the kind that can be used for smoking food or for animal bedding. Tie the socks at the end and stuff one in each glove. Not only do they smell great but they help soak up moisture and bacteria. 

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