how to clean MMA gloves

How To Clean MMA Gloves: The Best 7 ways to Keep Your Gloves Clean and Odor Free

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Anyone who’s been training MMA for some time will know how bad gloves can smell. 

It only takes a few hard sessions for gloves to go from brand new, to pretty repulsive. 

While it may seem too late to fix, fortunately, there are a few methods you can do to reduce the stench. 

While the gloves will likely never smell like roses, we can definitely make them more hygienic and a bit more pleasant to wear. 

With that in mind, we’re going to break down how to clean MMA gloves, discussing the various methods that you can utilize. 

Let’s get to it.


Before we start looking at ways you can clean your MMA gloves, I just wanted to mention that it’s important to check the gloves care label, or the brand’s website for cleaning instructions. 

Most MMA gloves only have a small label stating where they were made, so you’ll likely need to look on the brand’s website for any cleaning recommendations. 

This is because gloves are made from different materials, so some of the methods below may not be advisable, depending on which gloves you have. 

Take Preventative Action

The best way to stop a build up of smell in MMA gloves is to take preventative action. With that in mind, I’ll discuss some good practices you can implement that will keep your gloves in better condition. This should hopefully mean that they need to be cleaned less often. 

Air Your Gloves Out 

The best MMA gloves will often use moisture-wicking material, which should help to reduce the amount of sweat absorbed into the gloves. While this will help, it is not 100% effective, and the gloves are bound to soak up sweat each time you train. 

When I first started training and didn’t really know what I was doing, I would sometimes leave my gloves in my gym bag when I got home. This was a massive mistake, as they would absolutely stink and still be damp when I next go them out. 

With that in mind, it’s important to empty your gym bag after each session and leave your gloves out to dry off and air out. If you can leave them next to an open window, even better.

This is true for all MMA gear, so definitely don’t leave your sweaty gear in your bag to fester overnight. Fortunately, most MMA gloves have a pretty open design, with the palm being exposed, which massively helps when airing them out. 

Wipe & Dry You Gloves After Each Training Session

Wifing down and manually drying your gloves is also going to massively help reduce the smell of gloves and keep them cleaner over time. 

I’ll admit, I don’t do this after every training session, but I will do it if it was a particularly long, or intense session, usually after sparring practice. 

Use a cloth to wipe down and dry out the exterior of the glove. While this won’t stop the gloves from smelling, it will keep them clean and help to prevent the leather material from cracking.

Following that, use a dry towel and wipe down the interior of the gloves, aiming to soak up as much sweat as possible onto the towel. 

How to Clean MMA Gloves

Alright, so your gloves are dirty and stink like crap. 

Fear not!

Below are a few handy ways you can clean your MMA Gloves. 

1. Glove Deodorizers

These things are magic. I was pretty apprehensive about them at first, thinking them some kind of gimmick but they work surprisingly well and often find myself sticking them in my gloves. 

They help to absorb the moisture inside of the gloves, that moisture being sweat. Stick these in after a hard session and it massively helps to prevent the gloves building up a nasty stench. 

I use Meister glove deodorizers that work really well, and you can get them in various scents. I usually leave mine in overnight and there is a noticeable difference between leaving them to air dry, compared to when I use the deodorizers. 

Depending on the size of your MMA gloves, the deodorizer can be a bit big, however, they work absolutely fine and I’d recommend getting yourself some if you’re training regularly. Plus, they fit boxing gloves as well, which is also handy.

You can check out a review of the Meister Glove Deodorizers in the video below. 

2. Odor Spray/ Eliminator

There are several order sprays/ eliminators out there that work really well on MMA gloves. The one that I would recommend is the Evri Oder Eliminator. While it’s most commonly used on shoes and trainers, it’s suitable for most sportswear that can build up a smell. 

The Evri spray is suitable for all materials, including leather, which of course is ideal for MMA gloves. You can spray both the inside and the outside of the gloves, which will break down the source of the smell i.e. the built-up sweat absorbed into the gloves. 

Just be sure to let the gloves dry out before using them again. 

There are a ton of other brands out there, but this is the one I was recommended and it seems to work very well. 

3. Washing Machine

This one I’m a bit questionable on, and haven’t done it myself. That said, I know many people that have stuck their gloves in the washing machine with varying success. 

Again, I’d recommend checking whether or not it’s recommended with the gloves manufacturer (it likely wont be) and would only use this as a last course of action if you really can’t put up with the dirty gloves any longer. 

Washing machines completely soak the gloves, and it can be a bit of a pain to get them dry again. Plus, leather doesn’t do well when soaked in water, so again, this should really be a last ditch effort to get them clean. 

If it’s between throwing the gloves away or risking them in the washer, then I’d risk the washing machine any day. Just be sure to make it a quick wash on a delicate setting, which should give the gloves the best chance of survival.

4. Silica Gel

If you’ve ever ordered clothes online, you’ll recognize these handy little packets. While I’m no scientist and don’t fully understand how it works, the silica gel essentially absorbs moisture. 

This in turn helps to prevent odor from building up inside of the gloves. Just pop a packet inside each glove and leave it in overnight. By the morning, they should have worked their magic and you should be left with dry, odorless gloves. 

While it does work, it can be annoying having to constantly buy these packets and I much prefer the other options I discussed above.

You can check out the video below to see a bit more about how they work. 

Other Homemade Solutions for Cleaning MMA Gloves

Alright, we’ve taken a look at some great options that you can buy online. While these are will work, there are some cheaper, homemade solutions that you can utilize to clean your gloves. 

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Not only is apple cider vinegar good for cut health, but it also makes a neat cleaning agent as well. This is because Apple cider vinegar possesses antibacterial properties, making it a great homemade solution for cleaning MMA gloves. 

6. Stick them in the Freezer

Moving onto one of the weirdest ways you can clean MMA gloves, by putting them in the freezer, as you do. 

The low temperature of the freezer will technically freeze the bacteria inside of the gloves. Much like putting the gloves in the washing machine, I would use this as a last resort if the gloves are persistently smelly, even after trying some of the above methods. 

7. Baking Soda

Another good way to disinfect the gloves is to use baking soda. 

If you are going to use this method, do not place the baking soda inside the clothes directly onto the inner lining. Grab a cloth, towel, or some other fabric and sprinkle the baking soda into the middle. 

Fold up the cloth so that the baking soda is in the middle and isn’t going to fall out. You can even use an elastic band or something similar to keep the cloth together. 

Place this inside the gloves overnight and they should be smelling much better by the morning.  

Time for a New Pair?

At the end of the day, MMA gloves aren’t going to last forever, and sometimes they’re just too far gone to repair and clean. 

If yours are on their last legs, it could be time to bite the bullet and get a new pair. We’ve got plenty of reviews and buyer guides on gloves here on MMA Buzz for you to check out. 

That said, I’m currently using the Fairtex FGV15 MMA gloves, which are incredible. You can check out my full Fairtex MMA gloves review here for a full breakdown. Or perhaps check out our article on what MMA gloves the pros use for a bit of inspiration.

Final Thoughts

While not the most interesting of topics to read about, the truth of the matter is that MMA is sweaty, dirty work. 

Given the frequent close proximity to others, keeping yourself and your kits hygiene up to scratch is important. Plus, no one wants to roll or spar with the guy in smelly gear. 

With that in mind, I hope you’ve got a better idea of how to clean MMA gloves. If you have any questions or any other solutions you’ve found that work, please feel free to get in touch in the comment section below. 

Thanks for stopping by!

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