There’s nothing better than getting your first pair of boxing gloves! Maybe you love the color, the design, and you’re loving your new Muay Thai or Kickboxing regimen.

Then, a couple of months into your program, you start noticing… your hands smell extremely funky after you finish your class.

You take a sniff of your gloves and… OH MY, they smell like a critter crawled inside them and died.

Hands Smell After Using Boxing Gloves
Oh my, my fingers smell like death after class… does anyone else notice? (Answer: YES)

Stop Smelly Gloves Before They Start

If your gloves have gotten to the point where they smell like death, there’s little that can be done to bring them back. The odor can be reduced, or masked, but once the bacterial colony and odours inside establish, the smell’s there. We hate waste, but, sorry, the gloves are done and it’s time they are tossed out.

The key is to be proactive and maintain your gloves from day one. Here are our suggestions to keep your gloves clean and fresh for years to come.

Wash Your Hands

Start with clean hands, washed with soap and water, to minimize the amount of bacterial you put in your gloves.

Use Freshly Cleaned Handwraps

Always use freshly cleaned handwraps when you use your gloves. Handwraps should be handwashed in a sink the first couple of times (they bleed dyes heavily and can ruin the rest of your wash), and then machine-washed inside a laundry bag, and hung dry. Do NOT re-roll up sweaty handwraps and store them in your gym bag or else your handwraps will colonize your gloves with nasty bacteria!

Clean Inside and Out

Disinfectant products like Odor-Aid (our favorite, plus they’re Canadian), Disinfectant wipes, or even homemade sprays with teatree oil or other disinfectants should be used after class. Spray the interior and exterior of the gloves and wipe with a clean cloth. We keep a teatree oil/distilled water spray and towels at the gym for you to use for both our thai pads, belly pads, and your own gear.

odour aid spray
Odour Aid is a Canadian-made product and we love it!

Moisture Wicking Inserts – Teabags or Cedar Chip Glove Fresheners

Our hands sweat a ton while punching and kicking, and the moisture that gets trapped in the deep crevasses, if allowed to remain damp, create that “wet towel” smell. After cleaning your gloves, be sure to either insert teabags or cedar chip glove fresheners¬†or boot bananas to wick the moisture out. We keep a box of green teabags at our front desk so feel free to take a pair if you need. The teabags or the cedar chips do not need to be changed every time, they can often last for many months of re-use.

green tea bags
Green Tea Bags inserted into your glove help wick moisture out, preventing bacteria and odour from the start.
bootbanana boxing gloves
Cute! Boot Banana from the UK


Store In The Open

Don’t leave the gloves in your zipped up gym bag, or in your car trunk. Put them out in the open where air can move and help with the drying process.

Strategies to Avoid

Putting them in the freezer – the freezer is not cold enough to actually “kill” bacteria, so don’t bother.

Washing them in the laundry – Gets them too wet, and damages the leather or vinyl.

Leaving them in the sun for extended periods of time – Can damage the exterior and doesn’t effectively wick the moisture from the inside of the glove. Short periods outside in the sun is fine.

Febreeze or other odour neutralizers – Are fine, but lack the actual disinfectant agents we want to kill bacteria.

Your Partners Thank You!

There’s nothing worse than holding pads (or even worse, sparring) with someone with smelly gear. So, practice good gear hygiene and both you and your partner’s noses will thank you. And, when you get more gear (shinguards, headgear, etc.) the same care goes a long way. Training should be challenging and difficult, but not because of odour!