It’s no secret that hockey gear can develop quite the stench after a few sweaty games. But what’s the best way to clean it? Can you toss everything in the washing machine or should certain pieces be hand-washed? These are important questions for any hockey player or parent of a player who wants to keep their gear in top condition.
In this article, we’ll explore the dos and don’ts of cleaning hockey gear so you can get rid of those odors without damaging your equipment. From removing bacteria to getting rid of stubborn stains, we’ll cover everything you need to know about keeping your gear fresh and in good shape.
“Hockey players are notorious for their smell,” says former NHL goalie Kelly Hrudey. “But proper care of your gear can make a big difference.”
So let’s dive in and see how you can wash your hockey gear effectively and efficiently. With a little know-how, you can eliminate the odor and grime while still keeping your equipment in great condition. You’ll be back on the ice feeling confident and smelling fresh before you know it!
Understanding the Basics of Hockey Gear Wash
The Importance of Cleaning Hockey GearHockey is a contact sport that requires a lot of physical exertion. The hockey gear worn by players not only serves as a protective layer but also absorbs sweat and odors during games. This buildup of sweat and bacteria can result in unpleasant smells, skin irritation, and even infections. Therefore, it’s essential to clean your hockey gear regularly to maintain hygiene, prolong the lifespan of your gear, and ensure peak performance on the ice.
The Anatomy of Hockey GearBefore discussing how to wash hockey gear, it’s important to understand its anatomy. A typical set of hockey gear consists of various pieces, including helmets, gloves, shoulder pads, elbow pads, shin guards, skates, pants, jerseys, socks, and sometimes neck guards or visors. Each piece is designed with specific materials and construction methods that require different washing techniques.
The Different Types of Hockey GearDifferent types of hockey gear have different cleaning requirements. For example, goalie equipment often contains additional padding and specialized fabrics for protection and added mobility. These unique features make goalie gear more difficult to clean and requires special attention. Similarly, certain parts of player gear such as gloves and skates may be prone to odor buildup due to their enclosed design. As such, these items may need extra care when cleaning. To ensure you’re caring for your hockey gear properly, follow the manufacturer’s recommended washing instructions. Most hockey gear will include tags indicating how to care for them. Some items, such as plastic protectors, should never go through the laundry since they can melt or warp. Knowing how to care for each item correctly will help keep your gear in excellent condition for years to come.
Avoid using bleach or fabric softener when washing hockey gear. Bleach can damage the materials and weaken the overall integrity of the gear. Fabric softener can leave a residue that negates the moisture-wicking properties of certain fabrics, leading to more sweat buildup.
Instead, opt for mild and gentle detergents or specialized hockey gear cleaners available in the market. These products are designed with specific purposes and can clean your gear thoroughly while not damaging it in any way. Always make sure to rinse out all detergent after washing to prevent irritation from chemical residues.
“Not cleaning your hockey gear is like fungus farming on your skin.” -Michael Landsberg
To ensure proper air circulation during cleaning, place your gear in an open space with plenty of natural light and ventilation. This will help reduce odor by allowing moisture to evaporate quickly rather than settling in fabrics or padding.
Keeping your hockey gear clean is crucial for maintaining hygiene, avoiding equipment damage, preventing health issues, and ensuring peak performance. Understanding the anatomy of each piece of gear and their different cleaning requirements can help you care for them properly. Follow this guide along with manufacturer guidelines, avoid harsh chemicals, use gentle detergents, and always rinse out all residual soap. Regularly cleaning your hockey gear can make it last longer and keep you smelling fresher and cleaner on the ice.
Dos of Washing Hockey Gear
Separate Your Gear
If you want your hockey gear to last longer, it is advisable to separate them before washing. This helps to prevent the accumulation of bacteria and fungi that could cause an unpleasant odor. You can start by separating the jerseys, socks, shin guards, elbow pads, helmets, gloves, and pants.
It’s good practice to throw in some disinfectant or vinegar (about half a cup) in the laundry so that it helps eliminate any smells from the items being washed, and more importantly, make sure all Velcro straps are done up tight so they don’t catch on anything else during the wash cycle.
“Don’t wait too long to clean your gear. The smell will only get worse with time.” -Sharif Khan
Use Cold Water
Hockey geasr contains durable materials built to withstand the intense impacts of playing ice-hockey, but it cannot handle very high temperatures when washing. Using hot water while washing could damage the adhesives used in making several pieces of equipment such as goaltending leg pads; soaking foam padding in hot water could also ruin it over time. That’s why using cold water has been recommended for loads containing different sorts of hockey gears; this tip ensures that there’s no harm caused to the equipment.
“The hotter the water, the harder it is on your clothes. If possible, use cold water” -Julie Edelman
Use a Gentle Detergent
Cleaning is essential after each game or at least, every other. Use a gentle detergent brand specifically created to cater to cleaning hockey garments that contain fabrics like spandex. It would be best if you forego harsh detergents or softeners that contain salts, enzymes or chemicals like bleach which could degrade the fabrics of your gear.
A perfect alternative to using detergents is to add a cup of baking soda. Baking soda introduces an alkaline substance into stains and helps disintegrate it for easier removal; it also fights against lingering scents in the clothing.
“Using harsh soaps can damage your gear over time” -HockeyShot
Air Dry Your Gear
To complete the washing routine, drying should be done properly with extra care. Once you’re done washing hockey gear, consider leaving them out under normal air conditions instead of resorting to machines. Sunlight exposure will not only dry your clothes naturally but also inhibit bacteria growth by disinfecting them from harmful germs.
Ultraviolet rays emitted during sunlight have anti-bacterial properties that can keep any microbe populations in check without any added costs while infiltrating any smells. However, do not expose colored items directly to sunlight as direct sun rays can cause discoloration on things like jerseys, team socks braided straps etc..
“Air drying keeps colors looking better, It’s more environmentally friendly, and much less stressful on your clothes.” -Molly MaidIn conclusion, maintaining hygiene while playing hockey can be challenging, but that’s where knowing how to clean hockey gear comes in handy. It will give you peace of mind and help extend the lifespan of your equipment, leading to fewer replacements. Hence, Proper practice of washing hockey gears after games needs to be incorporated into routines to prevent foul odors, prolong the lastingness of each piece of equipment.
Don’ts of Washing Hockey Gear
Hockey gear can get pretty smelly after a hard game or practice, so it’s important to know how to properly clean and maintain your equipment. While washing your hockey gear might seem like a straightforward task, there are a few things you should avoid doing to ensure that you don’t damage the gear or make it even smellier.
Don’t Use Hot Water
One mistake many people make when washing their hockey gear is using hot water. While it may seem like hot water would be better at getting rid of germs and bacteria on your gear, it can actually do more harm than good. Hot water can cause some materials to shrink or crack, which can shorten the lifespan of your equipment.
Instead, stick with cool or lukewarm water when washing your gear. This temperature will still effectively clean your gear without causing any damage to its materials.
Don’t Use Fabric Softeners
Fabric softeners may keep your clothes feeling soft and smelling fresh, but they’re not suitable for use on your hockey gear. The chemicals in fabric softeners can break down the fibers in your gear and cause it to lose its protective properties over time.
Additionally, fabric softeners can leave behind a residue that can trap bacteria and lead to even worse odors. Instead, consider using a mild detergent specifically designed for sports equipment or skip the fabric softener altogether.
Don’t Wash Your Gear Too Often
While it’s essential to wash your hockey gear regularly, it’s also possible to go overboard. Over-washing can put unnecessary wear and tear on your equipment and reduce its effectiveness over time.
A general rule of thumb is to aim for washing your hockey gear once a month during the season or after particularly sweaty games. If you’re worried about your gear getting too smelly, try using odor-absorbing products like activated charcoal bags or spray.
Don’t Use Bleach
Bleach is another common ingredient that many people use in their laundry routine. However, it’s generally not suitable for washing hockey gear. Bleach can break down materials and cause them to become brittle over time, reducing the effectiveness of your equipment.
If you need to brighten up your gear, consider using baking soda instead. Baking soda is a natural whitening agent that won’t damage your equipment. Additionally, always check the care instructions on your gear to see if there are any specific cleaning recommendations to follow.
“It’s important to remember that hockey gear can be delicate, and treating it gently will help extend its lifespan and keep it smelling fresh,” says Richard Knurr, marketing director at Bauer Hockey.
Taking care of your hockey gear properly is essential for both performance and hygiene reasons. Avoid these common mistakes to ensure that your gear stays in top condition season after season. By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy a fresher and longer-lasting set of equipment that will provide excellent protection every time you hit the ice.
How Often Should You Wash Hockey Gear?
After Every Use
Hockey gear, including jerseys, shoulder pads, shin guards, gloves, and skates should be washed after every use to prevent the buildup of bacteria and unpleasant odors. If you don’t have time to wash everything, at least hang them out to dry before storing them.
The dampness that accumulates on hockey gear after a game or practice can lead to moisture-related issues like mold and mildew if not dried properly. This is especially true for goalie equipment that tends to take longer to dry out. Air drying is best and keeping your gear in an open area will allow air to circulate and help prevent bacterial growth.
Every Two to Three Weeks
If you only play once or twice a week, washing your hockey gear thoroughly after each session might not be necessary. In this case, you could get away with washing your gear every two to three weeks instead. But it’s important to note that waiting too long between cleanings can cause musty smells and infections like athlete’s foot and ringworm to develop.
This prevention of infection needs more attention because locker rooms and hockey rinks are ripe breeding grounds for these bacterial pathogens. So, while reducing the frequency of laundry seems beneficial to your schedule, it increases the possibility of getting skin-based diseases caused by fungi and bacteria.
If Your Gear Has an Odor
A common sign that your gear needs to be cleaned is when it has developed a noticeable smell. If someone notices your odor during play or requests that you remove your gear early after a match, then cleaning would be appropriate. Certain materials used in protective wear do not release sweat or microorganisms easily, so they settle into the fabric creating unwanted smells – which may vary from mild to pungent.
It’s natural for hockey gear to smell after intense games or practices, but if the odor lingers even when it has been dried out, a thorough cleaning is necessary. In addition, keeping your gear in a well-ventilated area and placing baking soda sachets can help absorb odors between washing cycles.
- You can add white vinegar to the wash cycle: According to Consumer Reports, adding 1/2 to 1 cup of distilled white vinegar during the rinse cycle neutralizes the toxins that cause smells and serves as a softener too.
- Fabrics should not be heavily soiled with sweat and practice fields; thus, make sure you let them air-dry before washing them. If sweats have set into fabrics, fabrics may crack, stretch, or become discolored.
- Baking soda works wonders on sports gear: Using baking soda between washings can also reduce unpleasant smells on helmets, gloves, and equipment bags. Simply sprinkle baking soda onto affected areas, allow it to sit for an hour, and remove any excess powder before using again.
“No matter how much we train, practicing good hygiene habits is still extremely important,” says Dr. Jen Welter, certified athletic trainer and former NFL coach. “Bacteria grows quickly in moist environments, which means sports padding and other protective gear needs to be washed frequently.”
Knowing how often to wash hockey gear comes down to regular usage patterns, proper airing of sweaty clothes and accessories, and storage. When storing hockey gear, always keep items away from heating sources and direct sunlight, which produces bacteria and fungi growth.
Alternative Methods for Cleaning Hockey Gear
Hockey gear can become incredibly smelly and unsanitary after continuous use. While washing it in a traditional laundry machine is not recommended, there are alternative methods to cleaning your equipment.
Using a Disinfectant Spray
A great way to keep hockey gear clean between washes is by using a disinfectant spray such as Lysol or Clorox. These sprays kill bacteria and germs that cause odors without damaging the equipment material. Simply spray your gear down after each game or practice and let it air dry before storing it away.
“Disinfectants are great tools for keeping sports equipment sanitary.” -Katie Marks-Cogan, MD
Using a Gear Deodorizer
If your main issue with your equipment is its smell, consider using a gear deodorizer like StinkBOSS. This device uses heat and ozone technology to eliminate odor-causing bacteria from inside your gear. Place your gloves, shin guards, and any other gear in the device and let it run for a few hours. Your equipment will come out smelling fresh and clean.
“Ozone generators have been scientifically proven to be effective in eliminating odors from sports equipment.” -StinkBOSS official website
Freezing Your Gear
To kill off bacteria and prevent musty odors, try placing your hockey gear in the freezer overnight. The extreme cold helps to freeze and kill off bacteria without causing damage to the equipment. Once you take your gear out of the freezer, allow it to thaw at room temperature before using it again.
“Freezing items helps control bacterial growth because it slows down metabolism, inhibiting the ability of bacterial colonies to grow significantly.” -Julie Albrecht, PhD
Baking Soda and Vinegar Soak
You can also try soaking your hockey gear in a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to kill bacteria and remove odors. Fill up a large container with warm water, add a cup of white vinegar and half a cup of baking soda, then place your gear inside the solution. Let it soak for an hour or two before removing it from the mixture and letting it air dry.
“Baking soda is great at absorbing odor-causing bacteria while vinegar is known for its antibacterial properties.” -Good Housekeeping
- Remember to always check the manufacturer’s instructions before using any cleaning method on your gear.
- Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals that could damage the equipment material.
- If you choose to use a washing machine, set it to a delicate cycle and use mild detergent.
- Allow your gear to thoroughly air dry after cleaning before storing it away.
By utilizing these alternative methods, you can keep your hockey gear clean, fresh, and sanitary without the risk of damage from traditional washing methods.
Tips for Maintaining Hockey Gear
Air Out Your Gear
After each game or practice, it’s crucial to lay out your equipment in a well-ventilated area. This allows for proper drying and prevents the growth of bacteria that can cause unpleasant odors and potentially lead to infections.
A great way to air out your gear is to use a drying rack specifically designed for hockey equipment. These racks have hooks for hanging up your gloves, pads, and jersey so that they can dry completely.
“The bacteria found on hockey equipment can cause serious skin infections if not cleaned properly.” -Dr. Andrew Gregory
Store Your Gear Properly
When you’re not using your equipment, it’s important to store it correctly. Storing equipment improperly can shorten its lifespan and make it less effective during games and practices.
The best way to store your hockey gear is by purchasing a locker bag. Locker bags are large enough to fit all of your gear and allow you to keep everything organized. Additionally, their breathable material will prevent your gear from getting musty while being stored.
“Storing your equipment in a damp environment makes it more susceptible to mold and other types of fungal growth.” -Steven Horwitz, M.D.
Use a Gear Bag
Transporting your hockey gear to and from games and practices can be challenging without a dedicated gear bag. Most hockey players own a specialized bag designed to make carrying their gear easier and more efficient.
Choose a bag with durable straps, separate compartments for different pieces of equipment, and ventilation to prevent moisture buildup. A good quality gear bag can last for years and help ensure your safety on the ice by keeping your equipment in top condition.
“Carrying your hockey gear unprotected can lead to rips and tears in your equipment, which can ultimately be dangerous.” -Mason Franzese
Replace Worn-Out Gear
It’s essential to replace any worn-out equipment as soon as possible. Old or damaged gear may not provide adequate protection during games and practices, leading to serious injuries.
The lifespan of hockey gear varies depending on how often it’s used, but most equipment should be replaced every two to three years at a minimum. Some pieces of equipment, such as helmets, may need to be replaced more frequently if they are subjected to severe impacts.
“Hockey players who use outdated or poor-fitting equipment are at higher risk for injury.” -Dr. Stuart McGillIn conclusion, proper maintenance of hockey gear is critical for player safety and longevity of equipment. Airing out your gear after each use, storing it properly, using a dedicated gear bag, and replacing old equipment regularly are all steps you can take to ensure that you stay safe on the ice. Always remember to consult with experts if you’re unsure about what type of gear will work best for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you wash hockey gloves?
Yes, you can wash hockey gloves. To do this, you should first remove any excess dirt or debris, then use a gentle soap and warm water to hand wash the gloves. Avoid using any harsh detergents or bleach, and allow the gloves to air dry completely before using them again.
Can you wash hockey pants?
Yes, you can wash hockey pants. To do this, you should first remove any pads and then turn the pants inside out. Use a gentle detergent and cold water to wash the pants in a washing machine, and then hang them to dry. Do not use high heat to dry the pants, as this can damage the fabric and padding.
Can you wash hockey shin pads?
Yes, you can wash hockey shin pads. To do this, you should first remove any excess dirt or debris, then use a gentle soap and warm water to hand wash the pads. Avoid using any harsh detergents or bleach, and allow the pads to air dry completely before using them again.
Can you wash a hockey helmet?
Yes, you can wash a hockey helmet. To do this, you should first remove any removable parts, such as the chin strap or ear pads. Use a gentle soap and warm water to hand wash the helmet, then rinse it thoroughly and allow it to air dry completely before using it again.
Can you wash hockey jerseys?
Yes, you can wash hockey jerseys. To do this, turn the jersey inside out and use a gentle detergent and cold water to wash the jersey in a washing machine. Avoid using any harsh detergents or bleach, and hang the jersey to air dry. Do not use high heat to dry the jersey, as this can damage the fabric and logos.