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How to Clean Smelly Work Gloves and Disinfect Them?

Fact checked by Andrew Carnegie

how to clean smelly work gloves

The upcoming summer promises smelly work gloves to everyone. The bright side is that you won’t need any special agents to get rid of the odor.

Besides, you can use the help of UV light, dryer sheets, and even the freezer to remove the odor. This article will explain it all. Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to clean smelly work gloves.

What You Need


You can eliminate the smell with simple household items. Quickly gather the following to proceed:

  • Mild soap
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Soft bristle brush

Note that baking soda and white vinegar won’t kill all germs and bacteria, so you should also prepare a disinfectant. Don’t use alcohol to clean smelly gloves.

Over 70% concentrated alcohol is harsh for most fabrics. It will dry out, stiffen, and eventually deteriorate your favorite gloves.

Steps to Wash Smelly Work Gloves

Step 1. Absorb the excess moisture with baking soda

Make two baking soda sachets, tighten them carefully, and place them inside the gloves. Let them sit for one to two hours, and any lingering sweat will go away. You can skip this step if the gloves are already dry.

Step 2. Wash the gloves with mild soap

Mix a decent amount of mild soap with water. Then, soak the work gloves in soapy water to clean them. If the gloves are grimy, you can use a soft bristle brush to scrub off the dirt. When all the grime comes off, rinse the gloves thoroughly.

You can also wash the gloves while they are still on your hands. Follow this video

Step 3. Wash the gloves with vinegar solution


You should use white vinegar instead of rice vinegar or apple cider. It is to prevent colors from transferring to the gloves. Mix one part vinegar with one part water and soak the gloves in the solution for five minutes. Rinse the gloves with water before moving to the next step.

Step 4. Dry


Gently squeeze the gloves to get rid of the excess water and place them in a sunlight area. You should turn them inside out once the outside is dry.

Step 5. Apply disinfectant


Finally, apply the disinfectant on the gloves, massage, and rub the fingers and palms for at least 20 seconds.

You can wash workout gloves using the same procedure to remove their odor. If you work out more than three times a week, consider purchasing antibacterial workout gloves to keep your hands safe from harmful pathogens.

Three More Ways to Get Rid of the Awful Smell

With the five steps mentioned above, the odor will go away. But washing your work gloves too regularly will do more harm than good. If they develop a smell but are not dirty, you can use these methods.

1. UV light

Turn your work gloves inside out and place them under the sun. The UV rays will kill the bacteria that makes your hands smell after wearing gloves. However, the UV light might damage delicate fabrics like leather and thin rubber, causing them to become brittle and crack. So, only leave the gloves outside for a short period.

2. Freezer


Place the smelly gloves in a zip lock bag, tighten it carefully so water vapor won’t creep in, and put them in the freezer overnight. The bacteria can’t survive the cold. You will wake up with fresh gloves that are ready to work.

3. Dryer sheet

Dryer sheets aren’t cleaners but they can absorb moisture and give the gloves a light, fresh scent. Slip one to two sheets in your gloves and leave them overnight. They will appear nice and clean the next morning.

Tips to keep your work gloves fresh and odor-free

  • Don’t toss wet work gloves in your bag: Bacteria tend to grow in airtight and moist spaces. So, never toss wet work gloves directly into your bag. Instead, let them air dry before storing. You can also place dryer sheets in your bag to avoid odor.
  • Wash your hands before and after wearing gloves: You should wash, dry, and sanitize your hands before and after wearing gloves. Doing so will get rid of smelly hands from gloves.
  • Sanitize the gloves regularly: Sanitize the gloves with a disinfectant wipe or spray regularly to ensure bacteria don’t grow. Remember to apply the disinfectant on both the inside and outside.


Do you know that wearing smelly gloves can lead to hand rashes, blisters, and even infection? Germs trapped in dirty gloves develop quickly and easily transfer to your hands. So, proceed to wash your gloves as soon as you can.

Don’t forget to save our tips on how to clean smelly work gloves so they will never smell bad again. If you think this tutorial can benefit a friend, share it! We hope to see you soon!

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