mma glove washing

How To Clean Boxing Gloves

Boxing and MMA equipment is essential for proper training and competition. With split-second decision-making, crisp reflexes, and prolonged endurance, you can’t afford to be wondering if your gloves or gear will hold up. Read on for insider tips to keep your boxing gloves clean and lengthen their life throughout your training.

How Often Should You Clean Fight Gloves?

The more you train, the more often you’ll want to clean your gloves and wraps in order to discourage bacteria build-up and material deterioration.

After your workout, avoid leaving your gear in a damp, sweaty bag. Instead, hang your fight gloves and wraps to dry as soon as you can. Try to clean your gear after every session, but if post-session cleaning isn’t realistic for you, here are the bare minimums:


Training Frequency

Glove Type

Every day

Once a week

2-3 times a month


Wash after every 2-3 sessions; hang dry after every session

Wash after every other session; hang dry

Wash after every session; hang dry

Boxing Gloves

Clean outsides after every session; clean insides after every other session; you’ll likely want 2 pairs to rotate usage

Clean outsides after every session; clean insides after every other session

Wash after every session

MMA Gloves

Clean outsides after every session; clean insides after every other session; you’ll likely want 2 pairs to rotate usage

Clean outsides after every session; clean insides after every other session

Wash after every session

Preparing Your Gloves

Prepping your gloves to be cleaned is essential. Here’s what to do when you’re getting ready to do a deep clean.

Check for Damage or Wear

Check your combat gloves and wraps for damage before you start cleaning. This helps you find and address dings, cracks, and small rips before you gear up for your next training session.

To check for damage, first give a visual check. Look for cracks or splits near the seams. If you spot indentations near the knuckles, it might be time to replace that pair. You’ll also want to take a look at the inside. Using your fingertips, feel along the interior padding for areas that might be wearing away or eroded completely.

Ventilate the Gloves

Make sure your boxing gloves are dry before you clean them. If they’re damp from a recent workout, let them air out until they’re dry to the touch.

While hanging your wraps and gloves to dry, remember to open and unstrap any wristguards and closures to expose seams and speed up drying.

how to wash boxing gloves

How To Clean the Outside of Your Boxing Gloves

To maintain proper hygiene and extend the lifespan of your gloves, you’ll want to thoroughly clean the exterior on a regular basis. Here’s everything you need to know to clean the outside of your boxing gloves.

What You’ll Need

  • Warm water
  • Mild detergent
  • White vinegar (optional)
  • Leather cleaner for leather gloves (optional)
  • Sponge or microfiber cloth

Cleaning Glove Exterior

  1. Fill a bowl with warm (but not hot) water. Mix in your mild detergent and a splash of vinegar if you’re using it. Vinegar cleans and deodorizes, but don’t worry, the smell will dissipate once your gloves are dry.
  2. Dip a cloth or sponge into the soapy water, then wring it out to remove excess moisture. Gently wipe down the exterior of your boxing gloves, including the front, back, and sides.
  3. After wiping down the gloves, rinse the cloth or sponge to remove any detergent. Redampen the cloth with only water and wipe down your gloves once more to remove any soapy residue.

Maintaining Leather Gloves

If you have leather boxing gloves, consider using a leather cleaner or conditioner after you’ve cleaned the gloves. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the product to maintain your gloves' softness.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Bleach, chemical cleaners, ammonia, and peroxide can break down the glove’s materials or strip natural oils from leather gloves.

Instead, use a gentle detergent, mild detergent (like baby shampoo), or a commercial glove cleaner that’s specifically created to clean and deodorize boxing gloves.

How To Clean the Inside of Boxing Gloves

Keeping the inside of your combat gloves clean is essential to preventing bacteria and odor build-up.

What You’ll Need

  • Warm water
  • Mild detergent
  • White vinegar (optional)
  • Sponge or microfiber cloth

Cleaning Glove Interior

  1. Fill a small bowl with warm water – you want the temperature to be lukewarm, never hot. Add the detergent and a splash of vinegar if you’re using it. Vinegar is an excellent cleaner and natural odor-neutralizer.
  2. Dip your cloth or sponge into the water, then gently wipe down the inside of the gloves. Use your fingers or a cotton swab dipped in the soapy water to help you get all the nooks and crannies.
  3. Thoroughly rinse the cloth or sponge to remove any soapy residue, then wet it again with clean water and give the interior of the gloves a final wipe-down to remove any remaining detergent.

Dry Out the Interior

The best way to dry out your boxing gloves is to air dry them in a well-ventilated area. Outdoor drying can be helpful, but you’ll want to avoid direct sun exposure because the heat can fade and damage the fabric.

Can You Put Boxing Gloves in the Washing Machine?

Washing machines create a lot of heat and agitation – two major no-go’s for boxing or MMA gloves. Agitation can cause small dings and tears, weaken seams, and erode fabrics. Hand washing and gentle cleaning measures will ensure a longer life for your gear.

Can You Put Boxing Gloves in the Dryer?

No, the extreme heat and tumbling action dryers produce can tear the surface and seams of your boxing gloves. Over time, those tears can become larger holes that ruin your gloves.

how to wash mma gloves

How To Deodorize Boxing and MMA Gloves

The scent of sweat and hard work can stick to the fabric of your boxing gloves. Keep these deodorizing tips in mind as you perform routine glove maintenance.


Plenty of sprays on the market are created specifically to deal with the odors from sweat. Generally, you’ll only want to use these sprays on the exterior of your gloves, as too much moisture on the interior can cause problems.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a great option to deodorize both the interior and exterior of your boxing gloves. Sprinkle the powder on the inside and outside of dried gloves and let it set anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. The baking soda will absorb any odors and, once wiped or shaken off, will leave your gloves fresher.


While some boxers swear by it, putting your gloves in the freezer is not recommended. Yes, freezing temperatures are great for fighting odors and bacteria, but the temperature changes can damage the construction of your gloves. The freezer also houses moisture and can add unwanted condensation once your gloves are warmed up.

Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets can temporarily fight odors inside your boxing gloves, but they aren’t a long-term solution. If you don’t have time for a deep clean but need the smells gone, try sticking a dryer sheet in each of your gloves for a few hours or overnight to help cover up any smell.

how to clean mma gloves

Glove Maintenance Tips

In the world of combat sports, longevity and effectiveness are vital for performance. Here are a few essential glove maintenance tips to help you get the most out of your fight gloves.

Regular Cleaning

The best way to keep your gloves in pristine condition is to keep bacteria at bay – and routine cleaning is your best bet for this. If possible, clean your gloves after each use, especially if you’re training frequently.

Prevent Odors

Odors are a sign that bacteria are present in and on your gloves. Preventing and addressing them is parallel to lengthening the life of your gloves. Mild detergents and diluted vinegar can help fight bacteria and keep your gloves clean.

Proper Storage

Whenever possible, avoid keeping your gloves and wraps in dark, contained spaces – remove them from your gym bag as soon as you can and store them in well-ventilated open areas. Getting your gloves completely dry is key in fighting the battle against damaging bacteria.

When To Replace Your Boxing Gloves

Replacing your boxing gloves is crucial for safety and performance. Here are some indicators to help you figure out when it’s time to replace your combat gloves:

Visible Damage

Cracks, tears, and holes on your gloves are signs that your gloves need to be replaced. Damaged gloves can compromise hand protection and safety during training or competition.

Worn Padding

The padding inside your gloves might compress or flatten over time. If you can feel your knuckles hitting the glove's surface more than usual, it’s a sign that the padding has worn out, and it’s time for new gloves.

Persistent Odors

If your gloves emit an odor, even after regular cleanings, it might mean a buildup of bacteria or mildew is hiding inside the material. If this is the case, consider replacing your gloves to maintain good hygiene.

Loss of Elasticity

If the wrist straps, closures, or elastic components lose their elasticity and stop feeling secure and comfortable, it can affect the glove’s ability to protect your hand. Replace ill-fitting gloves to ensure proper protection.

Fading or Peeling

The outside of your MMA gloves may fade or start to peel after frequent and long-term use. This doesn’t necessarily affect the functionality of the gloves, but it could indicate that the materials are beginning to wear down.

Manufacturer’s Recommendations

Check out the manufacturer’s guidelines for your gloves. Some gloves are designed to last longer than others, and the manufacturer’s instructions might tell you how long to wear your pair before replacing them.

Your fight gloves are protective equipment, and maintaining them is paramount for hygiene, safety, and a maximized lifespan.