Boxing gloves can be an expensive piece of sports equipment when being used for a hobby and with some fetching over £300, if gloves are not maintained properly they can quickly deteriorate and will lead to you needing to spend more money. However, with very minimal effort you can maintain your boxing gloves appearance and prolong their lifespan.
In this article we are going to discuss the various methods for cleaning and preserving your boxing gloves to ensure you are not ‘that guy’ who’s gloves could clear the gym with their smell.
Why Do Boxing Gloves Smell?
Before we give you the best methods for cleaning your gloves, it is important to understand why they need cleaning and why they might smell.
Boxing is a very high intensity, fast paced, physical sport that will result in high levels of sweat being produced. It is not the sweat itself that smells but 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, BO or body odour! Whilst body odour is not dangerous and does not cause any health problems, it can be very embarrassing for some people and can lower self esteem.
Fresh sweat is odourless, stale sweat is not. By taking preventative measures, your gloves can remain sweat free forevermore.
There are a large number of anti-bacterial products on the market that are easy to use and will eliminate the bad bacteria that cause the bad smell. Simply spray your gloves after using to eliminate bacteria before it has chance to break sweat down.
However, by using an anti-bacterial cleaner on your gloves, you will only be killing the bacteria that is currently there, not protecting them from new bacteria.
One method that is mentioned a lot online is the freezer method. Depending on the strain of bacteria in your gloves, they are usually only active above temperatures of 5°C, a couple of degrees below this they will enter a state of dormancy and a couple of degrees lower again will result in the bacteria being killed. By putting your gloves in a plastic bag and then putting them in the freezer overnight, the cold temperature will kill the bad bacteria in your gloves before they can produce any bad smells.
However, depending on the material of your boxing gloves, this can be very detrimental to the gloves. The cold temperatures can cause leather and plastic to crack overtime. These cracks then provide the perfect home for bacteria to live in, not to mention they ruin the appearance of your gloves!
The saltwater method is another well-known way to clean things and kill bacteria. The saltwater acts as a saline solution to kill any bacteria in your gloves.
However as with the freezer method, this method can cause more damage as you will have submerged your gloves in water for a few hours. Non- only can this result in the cracking of materials, but if not dried properly, this method will have simply made the problem worse.
Activated Charcoal & Cedar Chips
There are products available on the market containing either activated charcoal or cedar chips that are designed to deodorise boxing gloves. The idea behind these products is to absorb any moisture from the gloves so that there is nothing for the bacteria to feed on. These products can work on new gloves when and on gloves that only have a small amount of sweat after each use. However, they can only absorb so much sweat before they are full and once they are full, they will start to give off the stale sweat smell. These deodorising pouches can only be used on new gloves as they have no effect on stale sweat smells.
Envii Kit Fresh uses anaerobic bacteria and enzymes to eliminate the bad bacteria that breakdown sweat. By eliminating the bad bacteria, there is nothing to break down the sweat smell and it can simply be wiped away. Kit Fresh can be used on old or new gloves to prevent new smells or eliminate old. Give the gives a light misting inside and out after use and leave them to sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the bacteria to start working. After this time, gives the gloves a wipe to clean away any sweat. Finally, spray the gloves inside and leave the Kit Fresh to dry naturally.
- Allow your gloves to dry completely before putting them back in your kit bag. Avoid drying them in direct sunlight or near a radiator as 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 them 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.