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[EXPLAINED] How To Clean And Maintain Punching Bags

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Punching bags are an essential tool in any fighter’s training routine.

They aren’t cheap, so keeping your punching bag clean and well-conditioned is going to be important if you want it to last you a while.

In this post, you’ll discover:

  1. Why you should clean and condition your punching bag
  2. How to clean your punching bag the right way
  3. How long punching bags last in general
  4. Why punching bags break and how to prevent it
  5. How to repair your punching bag if it breaks
  6. How to protect your punching bag if it’s kept outside

So without further delay, let’s get into it.

ALSO READ: [BUYERS GUIDE] Punching Bags | All You Need To Know

Why You Should Clean Your Punching Bag

Just like your boxing gloves or hand wraps, punching bags pick up sweat and bacteria that causes bad smells and potentially nasty skin infections. Cleaning your punching bag after every training session helps to reduce your risk of infections and keeps your bag’s outer layer fresher for longer.

If you have a leather punching bag, you’ll also need to treat it with a leather conditioner.

This prevents cracking and aging due to moisture absorption which can significantly shorten the life of your bag.

How To Clean Your Punching Bag

Most punching bags used for training are either made of leather or synthetic leather.

I’ll include the additional steps for leather punching bags below.

Here’s how to clean your punching bag to increase its lifespan:

  1. Use a slightly damp rag or cloth with a mild soap solution after every session to wipe down your punching bag (Important: Avoid using too much water as this would damage the outer)
  2. Rinse your cloth and wipe the excess soap off to prevent it from soaking in
  3. Use a dry cloth to wipe any extra moisture off the bag that might damage the outer layer

It’s as simple as that!

No need to worry about cleaning the chains or straps holding your bag up, you don’t use those while training.

ALSO READ: [BUYERS GUIDE] Boxing Gloves | Find Your Perfect Boxing Gloves

How To Maintain A Leather Punching Bag

If you’ve got a leather punching bag you’ll need to treat it with leather conditioner every month or two, depending on how often you use it.

This helps to keep the leather soft and flexible, and protecting it from moisture so it lasts longer.

Here’s how to treat your leather punching bag to prevent cracking and breaking:

  1. Allow the leather surface of your punching bag to dry properly after you’ve cleaned it before applying treatment
  2. Use a clean dry cloth or rag to wipe a small amount of Lexol Leather Conditioner on all areas of your bag (avoid using too much – a little goes a long way)
    Lexol Leather Conditioner

    Treat your leather boxing gloves with Lexol Leather Conditioner. It helps to keep the leather supple and flexible to avoid aging and cracking.

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  3. Allow the treatment to absorb into the leather for 5 – 10 min
  4. Finally, use a clean dry cloth to wipe away any excess leather conditioner

Only apply this treatment when you’re done training for the day.

Letting your punching bag sit overnight before using it again will allow the conditioner to really soak in and do its thing.

How Long Do Punching Bags Last?

A good quality punching bag should last you 5 – 10 years depending on how often you use it. You can make your punching bag last longer by regularly cleaning and treating the outer material, and redistributing the filling to avoid hard spots that might cause the shape of your punching bag to change over time.

If your filling as dropped to the bottom of your punching bag, you can take it down and redistribute the filling by hanging it upside down or putting it on the ground and beating the filling back into place.

Or simply open the bag up and place more filling into the top, assuming you like training with hard compressed filling.

ALSO READ: [BUYERS GUIDE] Hand Wraps | Find Your Perfect Hand Wraps

Can Punching Bags Break?

The most likely places for your punching bag to break are either where the straps or chains attach to it due to its weight and the force of your striking, or tears will form along the side where you regularly punch or kick your bag. In some cases, these breaks can be fixed quite successfully.

As with anything else in life, prevention is better than cure.

Always ensure you’re taking good care of your punching bag and it’ll keep going for years to come.

Prevent Your Punching Bag From Breaking

Here’s how to prevent your punching bag from breaking:

  1. Inspect your bag regularly for small tears and patch them
  2. Ensure your bag filling is properly distributed
  3. Remove all buttons and zippers from old clothing used as filling to avoid damaging the outer material
  4. Always wipe away excess moisture from the outer material after training
  5. Regularly treat leather outers to avoid cracking due to moisture damage and aging

If you take good care of your punching bag, there’s no reason it can’t last you a lifetime.

ALSO READ: [EXPLAINED] How To Clean And Maintain Boxing Gloves

Why Do Some Punching Bags Have Tape?

Tape is a common way to repair torn punching bags, like a Band-Aid for humans. The most common tape used to repair punching bags is strong and durable duct tape. When done correctly, tape can extend the lifespan of your punching bag by a good few years before you need a new one.

Unfortunately, some tears will be too large to repair with tape and you’ll have no choice but to replace your bag.

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But by inspecting your bag regularly for damage, you can often catch and repair small rips before they get a chance to spread.

How To Repair A Punching Bag With Duct Tap

What you’ll need:

  • Scissors
  • Duct tape
  • Soapy water
  • Rags
  • Athletic tape (optional)

Here’s how to repair tears in your punching bag:

Step #1 – Cut away any frayed strands of material or stuffing

Before you attempt any repairs, always make sure the area is neat and there are no stray strands of material that might prevent your duct tape from sticking correctly.

Push any escaping filling back into the bag to avoid losing it’s structure.

Make sure you’re happy with the shape of the area you’re repairing before fixing it, or you’ll struggle to form it correctly afterward.

Step #2 – Use soapy water to remove dirt and debris

For tape to work correctly, the surface needs to be properly cleaned.

Mix a small amount of soap with some water.

Using a rag, clean the area around the tear where you’ll be placing the tape.

Note: If you’re repairing a leather punching bag, you can use a leather cleaner to avoid water damage.

Step #3 – Rinse and dry the area properly

Make sure you’ve removed all the soap from the area using a damp cloth.

Then use a new rag to completely dry the area you’re repairing.

You might have to leave the bag for a few hours to dry properly before applying the duct tape.

Step #4 – First tape along the length of the hole

Use two strips of duct tape along the length of the tear first.

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Ensure the strips of tape extend at least 2 – 3 inches past the hole you’re repairing on either side, and on the ends to prevent the tear from expanding.

Also make sure the strips of tape overlap in the middle, strengthening the hold on both sides.

Step #5 – Then tape along the width of the hole

Use small pieces of duct tape along the width of the hole, overlapping the tape running along the length with about 0.5 – 1 inch extra on each side for additional support.

Each of the small pieces should also overlap to further strengthen the repair.

Step #6 – Add more strength and make your repair look good

You can add further strength to your repair by adding an additional layer of athletic tape across the width of the hole.

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This might sound strange, but the intense stickiness of athletic tape is great for repairing your punching bag. Choose a color to go with your punching bag and disguise your repairs.

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If you choose the right color, you can even disquise your repair quite nicely.

ALSO READ: [EXPLAINED] How To Clean And Maintain Hand Wraps

Can Punching Bags Be Left Outside?

You can leave your punching bag outside if you cover it with a punching bag cover. Keeping your bag covered when you’re not training is important, even if it’s not raining. Direct sunlight on your punching bag will damage the leather or synthetic outer, significantly reducing it’s lifespan.

Punching bag covers are a really affordable way of preserving your expensive equipment.

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Can Punching Bags Get Wet?

It’s best not to let your punching bag get too wet. A little sweat while training, and water while cleaning is fine.

Excessive moisture will damage the leather or synthetic leather outer material of your punching bag.

Always wipe your bag down after training, and keep it out of the rain.

ALSO READ: [BUYERS GUIDE] Punching Bags | All You Need To Know