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How To Clean Boxing Gloves: 9 Methods to Try

12th October

For more details on the best way to eliminate boxing glove odours, read the following blog…

A few sessions of sparring or rounds in the ring is all it takes for boxing gloves to get smelly. With some costing over £300, boxing gloves can be an expensive piece of equipment when being used for a hobby. They must be maintained properly otherwise they can quickly deteriorate, and nobody wants to unnecessarily spend money on another pair.

Luckily, with minimal effort it is possible to clean and maintain your boxing gloves to make them last. Read on to discover the various methods for cleaning your boxing gloves and preventing nasty smells.

Why Do Boxing Gloves Smell?

Before we give you the best methods for cleaning your boxing gloves, it is important to understand why they smell and need to be cleaned.

Let’s talk sweat…

Boxing is a very high intensity, fast-paced, physical sport. It results in high levels of sweat being produced.

It is not the sweat itself that smells but rather the protein, salts and lipids found in sweat being broken down by bacteria.

When the bacteria breakdown the sweat they produce a by-product that has a very distinctive smell – body odour!

Whilst body odour is not dangerous and does not cause any health problems, it can be very embarrassing and lowers self-esteem.

Fresh sweat is odourless, stale sweat is not.

By taking preventative measures, your gloves can remain sweat and odour free for good.

Check out the following methods for how to clean your boxing gloves…

Kit Fresh

A probiotic deodoriser such as Envii Kit Fresh is the perfect solution for clean and odour free boxing gloves. Kit Fresh uses anaerobic bacteria and enzymes to eliminate the bad bacteria that breakdown sweat. By removing the bad bacteria there is nothing left to break down the sweat smell and it can simply be wiped away. Kit Fresh can be used on all boxing gloves, whether old or new, to prevent and eliminate smells.

How to use:

  • 1) After use, give your boxing gloves a light mist inside and out, leaving them to sit for 5-10mins.
  • 2) Follow by wiping the gloves to clean away any sweat.
  • 3) Finally, spray the gloves again with Kit Fresh inside and out. This time, leaving them to dry naturally.

Tea Bags

Tea bags are a common method used. By putting a couple of tea bags into your boxing gloves, odours are removed by supposedly drying out bacteria. In theory, this makes sense because bacteria need moisture to survive.

However, when you’re constantly sweating into your boxing gloves, moisture will always be present. Not forgetting that teabags can only absorb so much moisture, this method would not be effective on long standing deep set sweat and odours embedded into the boxing glove materials.


Similarly, newspaper can be used to absorb moisture in the gloves and dry out bacteria. But let’s face it, how often do most people have newspaper lying around? Is it worth buying it regularly just to stuff in your boxing gloves? The choice is yours.

However, it’s also important to note that newspapers are notorious for their ink running into other materials and leaving a print when left for too long.

Lemon Peels

Lemons also can be used to tackle boxing glove smells. It’s as simple as peeling a lemon carefully and leaving the peel in the boxing gloves overnight. The potent smell of the lemon along with the natural oils are supposed to work by masking the smell of the odour.

Unfortunately, the problem with this method is that it doesn’t remove the source of the problem (bad bacteria). Which means that you would only be adding the smell of lemon to an odour.

Baking Soda

Much like tea bags and newspaper, baking soda works to dry out the inside of the boxing gloves and prevent smells. However, this doesn’t do enough to eliminate the odour causing bacteria as mentioned in previous methods.

It’s also a messy method with the potential to ruin the interior material overtime from the baking soda particles. And you can imagine how uncomfortable it might be using the boxing gloves with traces of baking soda still present.

Anti-Bacterial Spray

There are some anti-bacterial products on the market that can eliminate the bad bacteria that cause the bad smell. Simply spray your gloves after using to eliminate bacteria before it has a chance to break sweat down.

However, by using an anti-bacterial cleaner on your gloves, you will only kill existing bad bacteria. It will not protect your gloves from new stench causing bacteria.

Freezer Method

Another method is putting your boxing gloves in the freezer. Most strains for bacteria are usually only active at temperatures above 5°C. Just below this, bacteria become dormant and at freezing temperatures bacteria are killed off. Putting your boxing gloves in a plastic bag in the freezer overnight will kill the bad bacteria in your gloves before they can produce bad smells.

However, use this method with caution.

Depending on the material of your boxing gloves, this can be very detrimental. The cold temperatures can cause leather and plastic to crack over time. Not only does this ruin the appearance of your gloves, these cracks also provide the perfect home for bad bacteria to live in.

Saltwater Method

The saltwater method is another well-known way to clean your gloves. The saltwater acts as a saline solution to kill any bacteria in your gloves.

However, as with the freezer method, this method can cause damage to boxing gloves. Since you would have to submerge your gloves in water for a few hours. Not only can this result in the cracking of materials, but if not dried properly, this method will have simply make the problem worse.

Activated Charcoal & Cedar Chips

Products containing activated charcoal and cedar ships are another option. These are designed to deodorise boxing gloves by absorbing moisture and leaving nothing for the bad bacteria to feed on.

These products might work on new gloves that only have a small amount of sweat after each use. However, they can only absorb so much moisture before the stale smell of sweat returns, making them useless to long existing odours in boxing gloves.

Additional Tips
  • Allow your gloves to dry completely before putting them back in your kit bag. Avoid drying them in direct sunlight or near a radiator. This can cause them to crack.
  • Wear hands wraps to reduce the amount of sweat left on your gloves but be sure to wash hand wraps after every use.
  • Clean your boxing gloves as soon as possible. Keep some wipes and some Kit Fresh in your gym bag so that you can prevent smells straight away.
  • Never put your gloves in the washing machine or tumble dryer as this will destroy them.

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About the author


Chief Executive Officer

If eating was an Olympic sport, Olly would hold the gold medal. He once fit 15 giant marshmallows in his mouth, consumes exactly 4,000 calories a day and even admits that 90% of his dreams involve food. At Envii, he specialises in all things e-commerce, spending time devising ways to improve sustainability and delivering exceptional service. All whilst eating, of course.

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