Simple Guide On How To Clean Smelly Gym Gloves

Going to the gym for a workout? Nothing is worse than reaching out into your gym bag and pulling out a stinky, super-ripe pair of gloves. Workout gloves can start to smell real fast, and sometimes the stench doesn’t go out even after washing them

Man with gym gloves holding dumbbells

Even after wearing them a couple of times, you will notice that they start to smell. And you may already know how to get sweat smell out of your clothes, but is it the same with gloves? Washing and cleaning your gloves doesn’t have to be a chore – here’s how to clean smelly gym gloves in easy steps. It will be a walk in the park!

Why do your workout gloves smell?

Before we tell you how to wash smelly weightlifting gloves, many of you might be wondering – Why do gloves smell so bad in the first place? Well, the answer is simple – bacteria. When we work out extensively, with full vigour, we sweat and our gloves stink as a result.

The trapped bacteria break down fatty acids, carbs, proteins, and leave behind stinky chemicals such as urea and ammonia. What’s more, the bacteria also cause rashes and infections.

Most of the people don’t take care of their gloves in the beginning and once the stink sets in, there is nothing they can do about it. You have to take a few precautionary measures from day one. Making sure that you regularly wash and disinfect your gloves will not only have them smelling fresh and clean but will also keep your skin away from trouble. 

Woman washing black cloth

How to clean your smelly workout gloves

Workout gloves give you a better grip and keep your hands from getting calluses. More often than not, when we are done working out, we put the gloves inside the gym bag and forget to wash them along with our workout clothes.

Most of us think that gloves are small and don’t get sweaty unless we are drenching. If you think this, you can’t be more wrong. The damp, moist, and dark environment inside your bag is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. That’s why you have to wash them thoroughly.

However, the way you wash your gloves depends on how much you use them, what material they are made of, etc. If you use the gloves only for a light workout, you don’t have to wash them every day with detergent. You can simply run them in clean water and dry them in the sunlight. However, if your gloves undergo extensive usage, you will have to wash them properly. Let’s see how! 

How to clean your smelly gym gloves by hand

Let’s start by gathering what you’re going to need and then we’ll move on to the steps that you need to follow!

Things you will need

  • Warm water
  • Bucket
  • Soap
  • Baking soda

A jar of baking soda on a wooden surface, a handy ingredient to remove limescale from the toilet

DIY Steps

  1. The first step is to soak the gloves in warm water. Take a small bucket and fill it until you’re sure that they will be totally covered. 
  2. Add a mild detergent to it and mix it well with the water. You can use an anti-bacterial hand wash instead of a detergent if you want. Make sure that the water is warm, and not boiling hot as it can harm the gloves. Add 1 tbsp. of baking soda as well.
  3. Submerge the gloves into this solution.
  4. With your fingers, massage each glove gently. Ensure that you clean all parts of the glove thoroughly. If there is any grime, scrub it off with your fingers. 
  5. Once you have sufficiently cleaned the gloves from outside, flip them inside out. Then, clean them in the same way as mentioned above. 
  6. Wash the gloves with clean, cool water and get the detergent out.
  7. If the gloves still smell – which is very likely – soak them in soapy water for an hour or so. Take them out and wash them. Repeat as many times as necessary
  8. After rinsing the gloves, hang them somewhere so that they can dry in the air. Don’t put them in a dryer since they can get damaged by the excessive heat. If there are no other options and you have to put them in a dryer, make sure that your gloves are dryer-safe
  9. If your gloves have elastic wristbands or are of thick material, you should dry them inside out. Once the gloves are dry, flip them the right way around and they will be as good as new!
  10. Voila! Your gloves are clean and germ-free!

How to clean your smelly gym gloves in the washing machine

While washing gloves by hand is good for the gloves, we know that not everyone has the time to wash gloves by hand. If that is the case, you can easily wash the gloves in the washer

Things you will need

  • Warm Water
  • Washing Machine
  • Soap
  • Baking Soda

Washing machine with a basket of clothes on it in front of a wooden wall

DIY Steps

  1. Throw your weightlifting gloves into your washer. Add soap along with baking soda. Ensure that your machine is running on a gentle setting. Plus, fasten the velcro straps of your gloves securely so that they don’t attach to any other clothes you are washing along with them.
  2. Keep the temperature low – preferably at 30 degrees – to preserve the shape of your gloves. Don’t wash them in the machine without reading the manufacturer’s label carefully. Make sure that they are machine washable.
  3. To dry the gloves, simply let them air dry or place them inside out on your radiator and let them dry. Voila! Your gloves are clean and you can wear gloves anytime you want!

Cleaning leather gloves

Leather has a naturally musky smell. When you use gloves like these, you will see that they are more prone to smelly mould and bacteria. Therefore, it is very important for you to remove all the sweat with a towel before you place your MMA gloves in your bag.

Mma gloves on desk

  1. If there is any dust, dirt, etc. on the training gloves, remove it with a damp cloth.
  2. Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 1 part water and apply it to the glove with a clean cloth. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer and keeps your gloves clean. 
  3. Use a leather cleaner or a commercial odour remover to deodorize them.
  4. Wipe the outside part with paper towels and turn the pair of gloves inside out. Let them dry in the air.
  5. Treat the leather gloves with a leather conditioner to protect them and keep them from shrinking.

Tips for keeping your gloves clean

Would you like some extra tips? There you go!

1. Wear hand wraps

If you don’t wear wraps, you are foregoing important hand protection. Plus, your gloves will absorb all the sweat from your hands as well. Look for some wraps online or in your local store and get in the habit of wearing them. 

2. Don’t throw your gloves in the bag

After finishing your training session, don’t simply throw the gloves in the bag. Make sure that you let them thoroughly dry before you keep them in a plastic bag. Better yet, disinfect the gloves before you let them air dry to keep the bad smell out of them. 

Want a little tip? Don’t ever spray your sweaty gloves with perfume, deodorant, aftershave, etc. as this will make everything worse! You can keep cedar chips or lavender sachets in your bag as they help absorb bad smells. Also, before you work out, wash your hands thoroughly and dry them. Afterwards, sanitize your gloves with a disinfectant or an anti-bacterial spray and let them dry. 

Woman wearing gym gloves on exercise bike

Wearing workout gloves not only increases your grip strength but also keeps your hands protected and free from calluses. However, they start to stink after a rigorous workout session. It is a good idea to clean boxing gloves and workout ones every once in a while. This keeps them stench free and keeps them in good condition so that you don’t have to replace them often. You can take help from the ins and outs of how to clean your smelly gloves by hand and washing machine in this article.

Here’s to clean, fresh-smelling gloves folks!

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