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How to Clean Boxing & MMA Gear

February 4, 2019

Boxing is a popular combat sport in which athletes throw punches at each other with padded gloves. Not only is it considered an Olympic sport, but it has its own World Championships that take place every year. A good work out, it helps to improve hand-eye coordination, cardiovascular health, as well as muscle strength.

Similarly, mixed martial arts, or MMA, is a combat sport in which two competitors compete against each other in a ring or a cage. What is the difference between the two sports? Boxing uses a variety of punches while MMA incorporates an array of martial arts.

They both have something in common, though—they allow players to work up a sweat. While that’s a good thing in terms of workout, it can lead to body odors and stenches. For this reason, it is important that you always clean your boxing and MMA gear on a regular basis. At the end of the day, no one wants to be associated with the certain distinguishing aroma. 

Wondering how to clean your equipment? If so, you’re in the right place. On this page, we will be going over a few methods on how you can clean your boxing and MMA gear.

How to Clean Boxing & MMA Gloves

Gloves play a large role in both sports—boxing in particular. After all, you’re using them to throw punches at your opponents. Understandably, they can get quite sweaty, especially if you’ve been moving around the whole time. The fact that they’re thick and padded only means that they tend to retain odor. What’s the best way to wash them? Can you simply toss it in the machine?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. As convenient as that sounds, it would cause the leather to dry and crack. Don’t worry, though—there are other ways that you can clean your gloves. Let’s take a look at some of them. 

Soaking Your Boxing Gloves in Salt Water

You’d be surprised, but you can actually sanitize your gloves by soaking it in salt water. How it works is that the saline will break down the bacteria that is in the glove. Ultimately, what you want to do is mix a saline solution in a tub or a container. From there, add your gloves and allow them to soak in the solution. Ideally, you’ll want to leave them overnight—this will give the saline plenty of time to do its job. The next morning, take them out of the container and allow them to dry.

Freezing Your MMA Gloves

Another great way to clean your gloves is to put them in the freezer overnight. This might sound a little weird, but the low temperature will actually kill off most of the bacteria. What you want to do is place each of the gloves into a plastic bag; this will seal them off from the rest of the items in your freezer. If necessary, you can keep them up to two days in the freezer. When you take them out, they might be a little wet. Prior to using them, you’ll want to let them air dry for one to two days.

Using an Anti-Bacterial Spray

This is probably the most straightforward method. By using an anti-bacterial spray, you will effectively kill off most of the bacteria in your gloves. As an added bonus, it will also get rid of any odor that might be present. Seeing as how they will be wet afterward, you’ll want to place them in an open area for a while so that they can air dry.

Using Apple Vinegar Cedar

You’ve probably heard this before but apple cider vinegar can be a great cleaning agent. To get started, pour a little bit of the vinegar to a moist cloth. With it, rub the inside and outside of the gloves thoroughly—this will not only kill bacteria, but remove odor as well. When you’re done, lay them out and allow them to air dry overnight. Depending on how dirty your gloves are, you might have to apply the vinegar more than once.

Using Cedar Chips

Cedar chips can also be used to draw bacteria and moisture out of the gloves. For this method, you’ll want to fill clean cotton socks with a handful of chips—the same ones that you’d use for animal bedding or smoking food. If you want, you can also use Glove Dogs—cotton flannel shells that are specially designed for this purpose.

Washing Machine Instructions for Boxing Shorts

Boxing/MMA shorts are typically made out of satin, a material that is both lightweight and breathable. However, it’s not uncommon for some to be made out of cotton or nylon. Prior to washing your shorts, always double check the care label for cleaning instructions.

Machine Washing Instructions

For the most parts, though, you can put them in the washing machine. As a general rule, you’ll want to wash them in warm water as that is more effective in removing stains. Add some gentle detergent (we recommend ACTIVE detergent) and put the machine on a delicate cycle. To prevent the colors from fading, turn the shorts inside out. This will also prevent the embroideries from peeling off. If you want, you can also put them in a mesh laundry bag.

Hand Washing Instructions

If you want, you can also hand wash your shorts. Before you do, though, it’s recommended that you first soak them for a few minutes. From there, you can wash them gently with a gentle cleaner such as ACTIVE detergent. By lightly scrubbing the material, you should be able to get rid of most of the dirt and gunk. When you’re done, wring them out. However, you want to be gentle as to not damage the fabric.

Lay them out in an open area; they should dry relatively quickly. Avoid putting it under direct sunlight as that can cause discoloration. It is also a good idea to skip the dryer as that can damage the fabric over time.

How to Deodorize Boxing & MMA Pads

To clean the pads, it’s recommended that you wipe them down with anti-bacterial wipes. If necessary, you can also apply a deodorizing spray; this will remove any odor that is present. Avoid putting them in the washing machine as it might get damaged in the wash cycle.

Pro-tip: It’s important to air them out before putting them in a bag. This will help to prevent odors from developing.

How to Wash MMA Compression Gear

Boxers and mixed martial artists often wear compression layers, which prevent blood from pooling. They also improve overall circulation. As you can imagine, though, they can get soiled quickly during a match.

Fortunately, they are fairly easy to watch. Generally speaking, you can just toss them into a washing machine. Add a bit of ACTIVE detergent and put the washer on a gentle cycle. While it’s optional, we recommend that you put the compression gear into a laundry bag as that will prevent the fabric from being stretched and damaged. Once it’s done washing, you can hang them to dry. Avoid putting them in the dryer as the heat can cause them to shrink over time.

The Best Way to Clean & Sanitize Boxing/MMA Headgear

It’s not uncommon for headgear to develop an odor, especially if you’ve used it for a while. If yours is made out of leather, you’ll want to avoid putting it in the laundry as that can cause it to crack. Instead, clean the surface with a few anti-bacterial wipes. Afterward, you can wipe it dry with a paper towel.

Given that your headgear is not made out of leather, you might be able to put it in the washing machine. Add a bit of gentle cleaner such as ACTIVE detergent and set it to a delicate cycle. Put your headgear in a mesh laundry bag and place it in the machine. As far as drying goes, you’ll want to let it air dry. Do not put it in the dryer as that can damage the fabric.

Note: Always double check the care instructions for your headgear before putting it in the washing machine.

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