Updated April 20, 2021
Hand wraps serve two very important uses for all boxers and MMA fighters.
First, they provide a barrier between your sweaty hands and your gloves. The more sweat you can prevent from entering your boxing gloves, the easier your boxing gloves will be to maintain and the less they will smell. This is why wearing hand wraps is one of the best preventative measures you can take to keep your boxing gloves fresh and clean.
Second, they provide some structural support for your wrist and small bones in your hands. This is especially important if you’re training on a heavy bag and throwing punches repeatedly throughout your training routine.
Hand wraps get very sweaty and very smelly. How do you care for them and wash them properly? Here are our suggestions:
Quick Cleaning After Every Use
Boxing hand wraps will begin to get smelly and nasty the moment you start training with them, and they will get progressively worse the longer you wait to clean them. So do yourself a favor and start these cleaning tips as soon as possible after use.
Warm Water Rinse In Shower Or Sink
First, rinse your boxing hand wraps in either the sink or the shower with lukewarm water. Using a simple hand soap would allow you to clean more thoroughly but it's not necessary. If you do choose to use soap, be sure to rinse your boxing hand wraps thoroughly as any soap residue can cause skin irritation when you put them back on the next time.
Hang Or Lay On Towel And Allow To Air Dry
You never want to put your hand wraps in the dryer because the plastic on the velcro will melt and the fabric may shrink and cause deformities. Instead, you’ll want to air dry your hand wraps. Our favorite way to air dry them is to either hang them over the shower door or shower curtain rod, or lay them flat on a towel and flip them every few hours until they are dry.
Spray With Vapor Fresh® Sports Cleaning Spray
After your hand wraps are completely dry, you can optionally spray them down with a sports cleaning spray. This will help keep any lingering odors at bay in-between your more thorough washings. It’s best to use a natural boxing equipment cleaning spray since the spray will eventually come in direct contact with your skin. We highly recommend Vapor Fresh® Sports Cleaning Spray for this because it's specifically designed to clean and deodorize sports equipment, and it's also fantastic to pump 2-3 sprays into your boxing gloves as well to keep those fresh and clean too.
Thorough Cleaning Every 3-5 Uses
Even with quick rinses after every use, you’ll still need to properly wash your hand wraps every once in awhile. With proper quick rinses, most people can last anywhere from three to five uses before they need to put them in the wash.
Here’s how you should wash your hand wraps in the washing machine:
Velcro The Strap Before Washing
All velcro comes with a “hook” side and a “catch” side. If you do not close the velcro on itself before the wash, the hook side will latch onto and ruin whatever it comes into contact with first, whether that’s your garment bag, other pieces of clothing or even another part of the same hand wrap. Simply unwrap the hand wraps so it’s one long piece and velcro the strap down.
Wash In A Delicate Garments Bag
Regardless of if you wash your hand wraps separately or with the rest of your laundry, you always need to put them in a delicate wash garment bag prior to washing. If not, the hand wraps will become a tangled mess while spinning inside your washing machine. Delicate wash garment bags are very affordable, but you could also use a pillowcase if you’d like.
Use A Free & Clear Detergent Safe For Sports Apparel
Once your hand wraps are unrolled, velcroed on itself and placed in a garment bag, it’s ready for the wash. Be sure to wash on a cold cycle to prevent shrinkage and unnecessary wear-and-tear. It’s also helpful to use a laundry detergent designed to eliminate sweat and odor from sports fabrics, such as Vapor Fresh® Laundry Detergent Powder or Vapor Fresh® Laundry Detergent Pods. This will ensure that the hand wraps are as clean as possible, all without the use of irritating chemicals that will deteriorate the hand wraps and potentially irritate your skin.
Air Dry Only
As mentioned previously, never throw your hand wraps in the dryer. Instead, hang dry them on a shower curtain rod or lay them out on a towel to dry. Don’t roll them up and store them until they are completely dry or else you’ll risk allowing germs to flourish in the lingering moisture.
Hand wraps are your first line of defense from keeping your boxing gloves fresh and clean. But that means they get caught in the crossfire, absorbing tons of sweat and body odors.
Don’t be the smelly one in class. By following these directions, you’ll extend the life of your hand wraps and they will remain fresh and clean for as long as possible. Here’s a follow up video on the intricacies of washing your hand wraps.