Taking care of your training gear is a nuisance, but… wait, you do take care of gear, right? Okay, we know that many of you finish your training day, tear off the gear, toss it in the bag and forget it. We understand - you worked hard and it’s oh so satisfying to pull off the equipment and simply stash it until next time. Well, if you love the smell of mildew and like replacing your gear often, by all means keep up this unsanitary practice.
Care for your fight gear doesn’t need to be an arduous chore. For starters, remember the saying, “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” While you may not want to keep your gear outside, do try to keep it outside - of your gym bag - as much as possible. Wipe everything down and air it out. If you do nothing else, at least give used gear an old fashioned Ben Franklin “air bath” so that sweat can dry completely and not give bacteria an ideal place to live. Moisture can also damage the foam padding in your equipment, so the longer your gloves are allowed to sit in the sauna that is your gym bag the shorter you can expect the padding to last.
On the other hand, leather is natural skin and, like your own skin, thrives with moisture. But that doesn’t mean keeping it wet. No, in fact, water will only evaporate and end up drying the leather more, causing discoloration and potential cracking. When it comes to genuine leather, distressed is distinguished and shows off all your hard work, but “distressed” is a short distance to “destroyed.” So while there’s no botox treatment for your gloves, as your leather gear starts developing creases and wrinkles it’s not a bad idea to apply a little leather lotion now and then to keep it supple, repel water and prolong its life.
For your boxing glove interiors, ideally you’ll want to clean the insides periodically with antibacterial wipes to eliminate bad smells and prevent fungal development. Same goes for your head gear and any other leather gear. Don’t use the wipes on the outside though, unless the gear is artificial leather, as the alcohol will dry out leather. There are glove dogs (fabric pouches filled with cedar chips or the like) you can buy or possibly make yourself, that can help draw moisture from the interior of the gloves. If Martha Stewart was a boxer she’d probably stuff in sachets of lavender, but for a tough mug like you, you'll want to forego the use of any perfumed products!
Hand wraps are challenging to deal with due to their length and unruly nature. Don’t bother respooling them post-training, simply wrap them up loosely, or better yet, get yourself a gym bag with a mesh outer pocket and toss them in there. But don’t abandon them in your bag. We recommend rinsing and hanging them up to dry thoroughly at home and launder them after every one or two (or three) uses. Wraps easily tangle with everything so use a lingerie bag to keep them contained. Be aware that wraps can sometimes bleed color so for at least the first couple washes only put them in with dark colors or else you could simply hand wash. Dry your wraps on low heat inside the lingerie bag or simply hang them to dry once again.
Clothing and towels should be washed as soon as possible after a workout. If you’re particularly fastidious you might give workout clothing a quick pre-wash as soon as you get home. And don’t forget the gym bag. Every once in a while you’ll want to empty the thing out and give it a good spring cleaning. By the way, if you’re carrying snacks in your gym bag make sure they’re sealed air tight, because, well… yuck!
Your training gear won’t last forever. It takes a beating, and you should know, you’re the brute that beats it up! Yep, seams will burst, leather will crack, foam will break and bacteria will flourish, but you can extend the life of your gloves and wraps and such by simply taking a little care. And it begins the moment your gym day ends.