Can you wash boxing headgear?

The value of headgear for protection when boxing is immense. This part of your boxing equipment covers your head and protects against impact, as well as lowering the risk of cuts and lacerations to your face. Even though there have been some concerns over the tendency of headgear to increase the aiming target for professional fighters, we feel it can provide great value for your use. With the right headgear, you could stay safer when boxing. But what type of headgear is best suited for you? Can you wash boxing headgear? Will some cleaning agents cause harm to your boxing helmet? We take a deeper look into headgear and how to keep the boxing helmet clean.

How to clean and maintain your boxing headgear

Clean boxing gear will be healthier and safer to use, reducing the risk of infections that could arise out of a buildup of grime and dirt. With the right maintenance, your gear will be safer too! Headgear will be relatively easier to clean than boxing gloves, thanks to the more accessible design. However, thanks to the thick padding and potentially vulnerable exterior, you need to follow a strict maintenance regime to ensure value for money service from your gear.

You should clean your boxing helmet as often as you can. You do not have to clean your headgear thoroughly every day, with a simple wipe down working on most days. However, you will need to clean it 2-3 times every fortnight. If you use your headgear very frequently, this can even be twice a week. You will need to dry out your headgear after every use, and could benefit from hanging it in front of your fan for some hours after your workout.

Depending on the surface material and the type of padding, some headgear will be machine wash friendly. We recommend a gentle spin cycle to avoid aggravating your helmet and affecting its rigidity, which is crucial to quality protection. If you do not want to risk this, you could consider a simple home remedy to help you out. A vinegar solution will work better than a damp cloth in breaking down any odors that might still linger.

You could also invest in an antimicrobial spray, but need to find one that will be safe for leather gear. For regular maintenance, you may invest in antibacterial wipes to help you keep your helmet clean and germ free after use. This should not substitute for comprehensive cleaning of your boxing headgear.

Here are a few common mistakes to avoid for leather headgear

  • Putting your headgear out to dry in direct sunlight
  • Using a hairdryer to speed up the process
  • Drying your headgear near a fire
  • Using chemical detergents
  • Machine-washing your headgear

How to find the best headgear for your needs

Even with some competitions doing away with headgear, it is still widely considered as the best protection for your head against hits when sparring and in the ring. If you do not have the expertise to hold your guard and defend against hits, you will end up taking a lot of impact to the head without a boxing helmet. Even the best fighters will still take a few hits, and this is just part of the game. But you can protect yourself with the right headgear, both from superficial injuries and potentially damage causing impact. So, what should an ideal headgear for your needs offer?

Type of headgear

Headgear is generally broken down into competition and sparring categories. Standard competition headgear features the least padding on offer, allowing it to be lighter and smaller. Masters competition headgear is bulkier, as it is designed for a special category of older fighters. Sparring headgear is heavier than competition headgear because of the thicker padding which is designed to absorb more impact. Sparring headgear is versatile due to the coverage options on offer, as we will explore below.

Headgear coverage

The level of coverage of your headgear will correlate with the type of protection offered. The most basic option is the open design, which offers protection around the top and sides of your head. Some boxing helmets feature a cheek guard, which works to cover your cheeks and block out impact from certain side hits. Headgear with a face bar will offer protection for your cheeks and nasal bridge as well. Options featuring a chin bar will protect the bottom of your face. Face saver headgear, which combines all this aspects, offers the highest level of coverage.

Headgear fit

When buying headgear, make sure that it fits snugly. Your headgear should not shift on your head when you try it on, but it should not be too tight either. If you are buying boxing headgear online, remember to look into the sizing chart offered and measure your head to know which option will be an ideal fit.

Headgear fasteners

Your headgear will be fastened around the chin, over your head or at the back of the helmet. Chin strap fasteners usually feature a hook and loop closure with a slider for an adjustable fit. This type of fastener can become loose over time, with only the belt-buckle style fastener guaranteeing a secure fit over time. Fasteners over your head and around the helmet could feature either a hook and loop or lace system. Laces allow for a very secure fit, which will be easily adjusted to accommodate other people who could intend to use your gear.

Final word

So, can you wash boxing headgear? You need to clean and maintain all headgear for boxing to ensure they remain fresh, clean and germ free. While some headgear are compatible with a machine wash cycle, most options will not be suited for this type of cleaning. We do not recommend going against your headgear manufacturer’s cleaning suggestions because you could compromise the quality of protection offered, which beats the point of having headgear. You can still wipe down your gloves with wipes, and may wash them out with a home remedy such as a vinegar solution. Remember to aerate your gear after using it to make sure it dries out well before storing it as well.