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The Absolute Best Way To Prevent Smelly Boxing Gloves

Yellow and black boxing gloves hanging down.

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Without a doubt, one of the items of equipment that ends up with the worst odour is your boxing gloves. Their design means that not only do they retain most of the sweat you lose. But it’s also all but impossible to air them out. So what is the best way to keep them from smelling like that?

There are a number of ways to prevent your best boxing gloves from becoming smelly. While you will always have a degree of odour, you can use baking soda, freezing, bamboo charcoal along with several other methods to maintain your gloves in great condition.

Start By Airing The Gloves Out

One of the most simple and straightforward options available is to simply air out your gloves. When you come home from a session in the gym, don’t just throw your kit bag in the corner.

  1. Take out your gear and allow it to air, preferably in a dry environment like on a windowsill or on a washing line.
  2. Open the boxing gloves out as much as possible and stand them at a 45-degree angle against the window with the open end facing down.

This will allow the air to circulate and get into some of those hard-to-reach places. And the same goes for the washing line. If possible hang the gloves upside down and give them enough time to fully dry out.

Use A Hair Dryer

Using a hairdryer will speed up the entire process when you are busy or perhaps have a second training session. But make sure you set it to its cool setting, as you don’t want to use heat which can damage or harden the leather.

  1. Simply open the glove and point the hairdryer inside. Allowing it to run for 3 – 5 minutes, then checking if it’s still damp
  2. If the boxing glove is still damp, simply repeat the process until they are fully dried.

And while not removing all of the bad odours. Drying them out will help to minimise the bad smells and give you some time until you have to resort to more targeted actions.

Baking Soda Is Cheap And Works

Good old baking soda, not just for those delicious cakes momma makes. It is also a natural deodoriser and great for getting rid of smells. And what you need to do is first make sure the boxing gloves are already dried.

Now make sure that you are using baking soda and not another form of yeast for baking. As while they both do similar things in food, will provide very different results when used here.

  1. Take a few pinches of the soda a sprinkle it lightly into the glove
  2. Allow the boxing gloves to sit for several hours
  3. When ready turn the glove upside down and shake out any excess baking soda.

Bamboo Charcoal Bags Are Awesome

Bamboo charcoal bags are a really nifty invention that allows you to use substances to help remove those nasty odours. Chemical-free and toxin-free, these little beauties don’t hide the smell, but rather remove it.

And the bags serve two purposes in that they also help to remove the excess moisture that builds up inside the glove. And once the gloves are ready, simply put the charcoal bag in the sun to dry out so it can be used again.

  1. Take the bamboo charcoal bag and place it inside the glove
  2. Leave it in there for 2 hours and if the glove is still damp and smells, then leave it for another two hours
  3. When done take bags out, leave them in your kit bag or drying in the sun.

Using Cedar Chips

Cedar chips which are commonly used in barbecues or for animal bedding also act as a great absorber of dampness in the glove. As well as helps to remove bad odours while leaving the glove with a much nicer smell.

Cedar chips spread on the ground that can be used to dry the boxing gloves.
Cedar chips drying on the ground.

So why not also use them to remove some of the latest offerings from your sweat glands from earlier in the evening? I love a good two-for-one deal!

  1. So place a stack of the chips inside a nice clean and dry sock
  2. Tie the sock off at the top and then place it inside the glove
  3. Leave them in there for at least two hours or overnight if you are not in a rush.
  4. When done remove the socks, and the chips and wash those socks.

Try Dryer Sheets

So there is removing and there’s hiding. Sometimes hiding is the best you can do until you find a more permanent solution and dryer sheets fit that bill perfectly.

Apart from being used to remove the charge from your machine-dried clothes. Dryer sheets can also be used in the fight against that dreaded boxing glove pong.

  1. So take a sheet and wipe down the inside of the glove, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies
  2. Even better, you can leave a sheet inside the glove until you need it again, giving them a nice smell for the next time you open your gym bag.

How About Essential Oils

So essential oils are great for making your room smell amazing. But they can also be used to make your gloves a wonderfully scented knockout. So adding a little to water and lightly misting the inside of your boxing gloves is great.

An added bonus is that essential oils are also anti-bacterial. So they can also help in fighting those pesky little buggers hanging around inside making all that smell in the first place.

  1. Take a spray bottle and add approximately 10 drops of oil with a cup of water
  2. Spray the mixture liberally inside the glove and allow it to fully dry out.

Try Freezing Them

Ok, so the first thing you might be thinking is, is that a typo? But no it is not and I do mean freeze them. As one of the great things about freezing cold temperatures is their ability to kill off bacteria.

So once they are fully dried out you can undertake the daring mission. Well, it’s not really that daring, but not all that commonly known either.

  1. So find a nice big freezer bag, or two bags if necessary, place the boxing gloves inside and seal it up
  2. Put the bag into the coldest part of the freezer and leave for 24 hours
  3. When you take them out, don’t try to put them on immediately and hit anyone (just joking)
  4. Leave then to thaw out and get some fresh air.

Give Them A Bath

Don’t be afraid, they won’t drown. Although you won’t be leaving them in there for so long anyway. Despite what some people may think you can actually wash your gloves.

Now it’s not recommended to throw them into a machine. As that would be too rough, too hot and too long. So what we can do is give them a nice soak, kinda like granny’s feet.

  1. Fill a basin or sink with some lukewarm water and add in some dishwasher liquid, making a lather
  2. Place the boxing gloves in and work the inside of them with your hands. Making sure to get into as many corners as possible
  3. Once you are happy, take them out and run some fresh water through
  4. Squeeze out any excess and hang to dry.

Use Some Vinegar

Good old vinegar is like a wonder liquid. You can spread it on food, you can use it to clean your home and even your boxing gloves. And adding to all that, it’s as cheap as chips, so it won’t break the bank. And following this simple and cheap method, you can help to make those gloves as bacteria and smell-free as possible.

White vinegar that can be used to clean boxing gloves thoroughly inside and out.
Some white vinegar in a bottle
  1. Take 50% water and 50% vinegar and add them to a spray bottle
  2. Spray a good amount inside the glove, once again making sure to get into those awkward-to-reach places
  3. Add some anti-bacterial essential oils if the slight smell of vinegar is not your taste
  4. Once done allow the gloves to fully dry out, the odour will be gone while the smell of vinegar won’t really be there
  5. Don’t use the commercial spray which only masks the problem and may end up damaging the leather of your boxing gloves.

Wipe The Gloves Down

Sometimes the simplest of tricks are the best. And if done regularly enough will help to significantly slow down how quickly your boxing gloves will begin to smell.

So as soon as you arrive home don’t just throw the kit bag in the corner. As I want you to wipe them down while they are literally still warm, like buns from the oven.

  1. So take a nice clean hand towel along with some hot sudsy water
  2. Dip the towel in the water then squeeze it out until it is barely just damp
  3. Hold the outside of the glove with one hand and wipe the towel around the inside getting into the small spaces
  4. Repeat this on both boxing gloves until you are happy with your work
  5. Hang the gloves up to dry somewhere out of the sun.

In Conclusion

Your boxing gloves are one of the most important pieces of kit and something you will be using time and time again. So it’s important that you maintain them in good condition, which also includes keeping the smell of sweat to a minimum.

As when you are in the gym or dojo, there is a certain etiquette about maintaining a good level of cleanliness. Both for you and the people with whom you will be training very closely.

And while you can do your best to try to keep the gloves as clean as possible. There will eventually come a time when you will need to give them a good clean and remove those bad odours.

So I hope my run through several ways to prevent those bad smells has helped you out. As there are so many different options available, I am sure you will find something that suits your needs. And help to keep those babies ready for action, looking and smelling good.