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I keep my boxing gloves (Ringside Apex, some sort of synthetic material) in a wicker basket near my training equipment at the house. Long story short, my cat used the basket instead of her litter box and peed on the gloves. I searched around and found some answers on maintenance, but nothing on cleaning gloves to this extent.

As pointed out in the comments, there is a similar question addressing leather equipment, but I'm specifically looking for non-leather/synthetic cleaning instruction.

Is there anyway to clean the gloves thoroughly enough to get the smell out without damaging the gloves?

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I answered a similar question on leather products here:

How to wash leather shin guard?

You can apply the same formula to vinyl/PU synthetic material. If anything, leather is much more fragile to wash than vinyl/PU, so with leather you have to make sure you dry it immediately. Submerging leather in soapy water is generally only done if the foam inside is soiled (and you can't remove the leather shell in order to wash separately). And with leather, you really have to be careful to dry it well afterward.

For vinyl/PU, you can submerge with impunity! Just squish it out dry and then hang up to air dry afterward. Unlike leather, vinyl/PU material is fine with water. If you let it air dry, it won't get moldy. And vinyl/PU won't crack and degrade with exposure to water like leather products can.

If it's been in contact with animal feces or urine, after submerging in soapy water and rinsing it out with clean water, submerge it again in a diluted bleach solution. Leave it in there for 5 minutes. Then rinse again several times in clean water. Squish it out inside of dry towel. Then hang up to air dry.

As always with diluted bleach, test on a small area first. And follow the instructions for dilution on the bottle.

If your gear permits removing the outer shell, remove it and wash the shell and foam insulation separately. Usually the foam is glued to the inside, however.

One final thought: There are alternatives to bleach, but bleach is best. Diluted hydrogen peroxide is another thing you can try. And while vinegar is often recommended as a way to cut down on odors, it's not a very good disinfectant.

Hope that helps.

  • FWIW, I did a chat with Ringside's support to see if they had any cleaning instructions or do/don'ts and they were far less informative than Steve: they stated they don't have deep cleaning instructions and the advice given was "wipe down and try dryer sheets or pet odor remover", which was kind of disappointing for manufacturer support. – Soulis Sep 19 at 19:38
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    Not sure why they suggested using dryer sheets. They won't do anything to clean your gear. And yes, you do need to do at least a surface cleaning (soap and water) after they come in contact with other people, to avoid transmitting fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Especially if there's blood or saliva on them. Same with your gi and belts, for those in martial arts. – Steve Weigand Sep 19 at 19:47
  • +1 for the wipe down tip. I always wipe them down after a workout just for the stray sweat alone, even though the closest these pair gloves come to people is mitt work. – Soulis Sep 19 at 19:59
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    As for the dryer sheet, I guess it's to try and cover the smell, but in a smell fight between cat pee and dryer sheets, my money would be on the cat pee. – Soulis Sep 19 at 19:59

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