A new pair of boxing gloves can smell pretty great, but keeping your boxing gear fresh can be a real challenge.
Boxing is hard work, and all of the blood, sweat, and tears we put into our training can end up all over our training and sparring gear. Our sparring partners’ and opponents’ can sometimes end up in the mix, too. And cleaning up afterwards without adding to the wear and tear that our boxing gear endures during the average training session or fight can be a delicate balance.
But developing a good cleaning and care routine for your boxing gear is worth the effort. Keeping your boxing gear as clean as possible is an investment in your wellbeing and your comfort as a boxer. It helps to protect your health and your training partners’ health. It’ll keep you all smelling a little better, too!
Here are six steps that will keep your boxing gear fresh — and keep you and your gear in great shape.
1. Practice good hygiene.
We’ve talked about the importance of practicing good martial arts hygiene in this blog before. Keeping yourself and your gear clean is an important way to protect you and your training partners’ health, and to show respect. One of the great side benefits of this practice, though, is that it can also keep your training gear smelling fresher. If you’re managing the buildup of odor-causing bacteria on your body, you’re also managing the amount of odor-causing bacteria that will end up on your gear during training and competition. Even something as simple as washing your hands before you wrap them and put on your gloves will keep your boxing gear fresher.
2. Invest in your own boxing gear.
Many boxing and martial arts gym will have a few pairs of communal boxing gloves and training gear on hand to allow beginners to take a trial class or two without having to buy an entire set of gear. Once a new boxer has decided to commit to training, though, they’re usually eager to buy their own. There are a number of reasons to invest in your own boxing gear. It’s important to have gear that is the right size and weight. As you develop your own style and preferences as a boxer, it’s also valuable to have gear that meets your specific needs. But there’s another benefit to having your own gear: when you’re the only person using and sweating on your gloves, shoes, and protective equipment, it is much easier to keep your boxing gear fresh and clean.
3. Get a good gear bag.
The inside of an old school gym bag is not the freshest place in the world. Boxing gear that’s packed away in one — especially sweaty post-training boxing gear — can get stinky very quickly in that dark, closed space. Luckily, most good martial arts gear bags are designed with air circulation in mind. The ProForce® Transformer™ backpack, for example, features a vented front panel allows air to flow in and out of the bag. Investing in a well ventilated gear bag will go a long way toward keeping your boxing gear fresh as you transport it to and from the gym. It’s especially helpful if you’re not going straight home after training and your sweaty boxing gear will need to sit in the bag for a little while.
4. Air out your boxing gear ASAP.
Even the best designed martial arts gear bag can only do so much, though. Once you are home, you will want to get your boxing gear out of your bag and into a temperate and dry space away from direct heat sources to air dry as soon as you can. Allowing your boxing gear to breathe and to fully dry will cut down on the bacterial buildup that leads to odor, and keep your boxing gear fresh.
5. Clean your boxing gear.
Once your boxing gear is dry, it’s time to clean it. Boxing gloves and harder protective gear like head guards can be wiped down or washed in mild detergent. Handwraps, clothing, and soft protective gear like compression sleeves can be handwashed or put in the laundry (cold wash and/or delicate cycle recommended). Mouthguards can be brushed. Even bags can be wiped down or washed! All of the above steps will play a vital role in keeping your boxing gear fresh.
For more information on this topic, check out our blog posts “Boxing Glove Maintenance: How To Clean and Take Care of Your Boxing Gear” and “How to Clean and Care For Your Martial Arts Gear.”
6. Try an air freshener or deodorizer.
Once your gear is cleaned, dried, and ready to pack again, you can toss a deodorizer into the bag, or even pack a pair into your gloves, to make your boxing gear smell even better. Sneaker balls, dryer sheets, or small bags of cedar chips are all great options for keeping your boxing gear fresh.