It’s a swamp in there, but it doesn’t have to be.
Whether you do boxing/kickboxing, lacrosse, or hockey, you’ll need gloves to protect the fragile, important limbs that we call hands. Think about it: punch or hit anything hard with your hand, and your knuckles will shatter into a thousand pieces.
But to provide all that protection, gloves must be closed off from outside air. Sure, there might be a vented, mesh panel here or there, but it’s not quite enough to air it out. So what to do, especially if your gloves have already become smelly, festering, stinkholes?
Plenty–even if you can’t wash your gloves for fear of damaging the leather. The key is that moist, dark environments breed bacteria; if you clean the insides and dry out the moisture, your gloves will be fine. Some gloves might be too far gone, especially if you’ve let it rot for months, but it’s worth a shot.
Read on for more cleaning tips. These tricks work for anything that:
- Is used a lot, and hence exposed to sweat.
- Is closed off from outside air.
This applies not just for athletic gloves, but also to shoes and sneakers.
The old standby for boxers on a budget, it’s easy to imagine Rocky Balboa shoving his old-school, horsehair-padded Everlasts with copies of The Philadelphia Inquirer. But it works, and you don’t even need old newspaper to do it. Essentially, the newspaper soaks up sweat and other moisture inside, leaving it nice and dry.
Try it for yourself. Ball up some old newspaper, and shove it into your gloves, making sure to get some into the thumbs, the palms, and the cuffs. Don’t forget to change the newspaper after a day or so.
Keep in mind that deodorizing sprays, if a bit pricey, are probably the best way to clean out dirty gloves; after all, that’s what they were designed for.
The best two sprays I’ve found are Odor Aid and Febreze Sport. Odor-Aid, in particular, has a really strong, but sweet scent, like cologne, or Banana Boat’s manly suntan lotion: masculine, clean, and fresh.
With either spray, all you have to do is squirt the insides thoroughly, wipe down with a paper towel, and leave to dry. One note: Febreze sport is actually not designed for leather products; however, the insides of boxing gloves aren’t leather but rather nylon.
Note: for those on a budget, use a little bit of a disinfectant (Dettol works quite well) and water on a paper towel.
Like deodorizing sprays, baby wipes are specially formatted to, well, clean. The fact that they’re baby wipes also means that they’re gentle, so they won’t do any lasting damage or fray your gloves with their harsh properties.
Another old boxer’s standby, glove dogs are essentially pieces of cloth filled with fragrances, like potpourri, or more commonly, cedar chips. It’s really easy to find glove dogs online, but even easier to make your own.
Simply load up a pair of clean socks with cedar chips, tie off the openings, and shove them into your gloves. You can also use something more porous, like cheesecloth, but why spend the money if you already have a pair of old socks lying around? Just make sure you wash the damn things first, else you’ll just make the smell worse.
So there you have it. Clean your gloves, because you owe it to your classmates, teammates, and housemates. You also owe it to the guy you are beating up on, believe it or not; after all, it’s bad enough that they have to take your punches. But your germs as well?
Now that’s just cruel.