If you’ve ever played hockey, then you know the familiar smell that comes with it. No matter how hard you try to avoid it, your gear will eventually start to stink. It’s a combination of sweat and bacteria that can be tough to get rid of once it sets in.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to wash your hockey gear and eliminate that awful odor. Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting out, knowing how to properly clean your equipment is essential for both hygiene and longevity of your gear.
By taking the time to learn the right techniques and investing in some quality cleaning products, you can ensure that your hockey gear stays fresh and functional for years to come.
“Cleaning your hockey gear isn’t complicated, but it does require some effort. With a little extra attention to detail, you can make sure that your gear smells as good as new.”
In this article, we’ll go over the ins and outs of washing hockey gear, from gloves to skates and everything in between. We’ll cover everything you need to know about getting rid of that stubborn hockey stink, including tips on pre-treating your gear, choosing the right detergent, and drying methods.
So if you’re tired of dealing with smelly hockey equipment, read on to find out how to wash your gear like a pro!
Preparation is Key
Washing hockey gear can be a daunting task, but with proper preparation, it doesn’t have to be. Before you start cleaning your equipment, make sure you have the necessary gear and supplies on hand, clear space for cleaning, and allocate enough time to complete the job properly.
Gather All Necessary Gear
The first step in preparing to wash your hockey gear is to gather all the necessary equipment. You will need a large washing machine that can accommodate the bulk of your gear, a dryer, laundry detergent, and fabric softener. It’s important to note that fabric softeners should not be used on certain materials such as protective padding or gloves, so always read the labels carefully before use.
In addition to these items, consider purchasing specialized sports detergents, which are formulated to remove sweat and odors from athletic wear. Hockey Monkey recommends using detergents like WIN Sports Detergent, Defunkify Active Wear Cleaner, Tide SPORT, or HEX Performance Laundry Detergent to clean sports gear thoroughly.
Finally, grab any additional accessories that may help you tackle tough stains or areas where bacteria and odor often accumulate. For instance, white vinegar is an excellent natural alternative to harsh chemicals for eliminating bad smells while being gentle on your equipment.
Clear Space for Cleaning
Once you’ve gathered all the necessary gear, you’ll want to ensure you have adequate space for washing your hockey gear. Ideally, this should be a place with plenty of ventilation where your equipment can air dry quickly and without exposure to direct sunlight. Good options include garages, basements, or utility rooms equipped with a drain and/or ventilation fan(s).
When clearing space for cleaning, pay attention to surfaces’ condition since many disinfectant cleaners re so strong that they may damage painted walls or metal surfaces if used too frequently. You can protect these surfaces by covering them with a tarp while cleaning your gear.
Set Up Cleaning Supplies
Before you start washing hockey gear, ensure all cleaning supplies are easily accessible and organized. This will make the process run much smoother and save time overall. Try to have at least two baskets handy – one for clean equipment and another for dirty items waiting to be washed – as well as a garbage bin and vacuum cleaner nearby.
If you’re using any specialized sports detergents or accessories, such as vinegar and baking soda, have them readily available before starting. Shuffle spray is an excellent product for those who want to take extra measures against bacteria since it kills 99.9% of germs on contact and provides antimicrobial protection up to five days after use. Lastly, having several towels or rags close by while reassembling the gear post-wash can help to prevent dirt transfer back onto the freshly cleaned pieces.
Allocate Time for Cleaning
Last but not least, it’s essential to allocate enough time for washing hockey gear adequately. Washing your gear properly means taking apart each piece into small parts and washing every component individually. Depending on how often you play and the extent of accumulated sweat/dirt, this process can take anywhere from 2-4 hours to complete in full.
To stay on schedule, consider breaking down washing hockey gear into specific steps like: first remove and soak everything in warm water mixed with detergent/ white vinegar for 5-20mn, wash each item individually using cold water, let everything air dry for at least three hours (could vary depending on local humidity), then reassemble carefully putting each specific part where it belongs.
“Cleaning your hockey gear the right way takes time and patience, so be sure to give yourself enough of both,” says Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, a professional NHL player.
Preparation is key when washing hockey gear. Properly gathering all necessary equipment and supplies, clearing space for cleaning, setting up cleaning supplies, and allocating enough time are essential steps that will make the process quicker and more manageable. With these tips in mind, you can ensure your gear stays fresh-smelling and clean year-round, while also maximizing its longevity.
Washing the Jersey and Socks
If you are a passionate hockey player, keeping your gear clean is likely something that is important to you. While some pieces of equipment may need specific care, it’s essential to know how to wash your jersey and socks so that they come out as good as new each time.
The first step in washing any clothes, including your hockey jerseys and socks, is sorting the laundry. It’s crucial to keep light colors separate from dark for the best washing results. Hockey jerseys are typically white or light-colored with darker accents, so they should be washed separately from dark clothing to avoid color-transfer issues.
Hockey is a rough game, and accidents happen. Before throwing your jerseys and socks into the washer, pre-treat any stains with a stain remover or an all-purpose detergent. Apply directly to the affected area and leave it to sit for about 5-10 minutes before rinsing lightly under cold water. This will help lift stains before they have a chance to set in during the wash cycle.
Choosing the Right Detergent
When washing your hockey gear, choose a mild detergent since harsh chemicals can cause damage over time. Consider using one such as Cheer Free & Gentle or Tide Free & Gentle which are formulated without dyes, perfumes, or brighteners. Avoid fabric softener, bleach, and pods as much as possible because they can lead to buildup on the material and decrease its effectiveness over time.
Washing and Drying Techniques
To ensure that your hockey jerseys and socks last as long as possible, use a gentle cycle when washing them, along with cool water. Hot water can cause shrinkage, fading, and damage to the material. Once they have gone through a gentle cycle, air-dry your hockey gear if possible by hanging up jerseys on hangers or laying flat socks out on a towel. This will help them maintain their shape and prevent any stretching.
“It’s important to use a mild detergent to avoid damaging the fabric while washing your hockey jerseys and socks.” -The Hockey Writers
Properly caring for your hockey gear can make all the difference in its lifespan and condition. Hopefully, these tips for washing your hockey jerseys and socks keep you comfortable both when playing the game and off the ice as well!
Cleaning the Shin Guards and Elbow Pads
Hockey is an intense sport that requires a lot of physical activity. It creates sweat, dirt, odor, and stains that build up on your gear over time. To maintain optimum hygiene and safety, it is important to clean hockey gear regularly, especially shin guards and elbow pads.
Removing Dirt and Debris
The first step in cleaning shin guards and elbow pads is removing any visible dirt or debris from them. You can use a damp cloth or soft-bristle brush to gently scrub off any surface dirt. If there are hard-to-reach areas, such as crevices or joints, you can use a toothbrush to remove the dirt effectively. Make sure not to press too hard while scrubbing because it could damage the materials inside the padding.
If your shin guards or elbow pads have excess moisture or white residue buildup on them after every game, it’s recommended to take them apart before cleaning. Taking them apart will let you reach their internals to clean more deeply. Check their manuals beforehand to know how to do this properly.
Using Disinfectant Spray
Disinfectant sprays are perfect for eliminating odor-causing bacteria and killing germs that reside within the fabric of your shin guards and elbow pads. These sprays penetrate deep into the fibers and quickly sanitize the equipment.
You can either buy a disinfectant spray at a local sports store or make one yourself using household ingredients like vinegar and water. Mix one part of distilled white vinegar with three parts of lukewarm water, transfer the solution to a spray bottle, and voila! You have made an excellent homemade disinfectant spray!
“Vinegar is acidic enough to kill most common pathogens like MRSA, Staphylococcus Aureus, and E. coli,” says Dr. Brian Labus, a professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada.
Soaking in Vinegar Solution
If you notice that your shin guards or elbow pads emit an unpleasant smell even after cleaning with disinfectant spray, it’s time to consider soaking these gear pieces in vinegar solution overnight.
Add one cup of distilled white vinegar into enough water to fully submerge the equipment. Let them soak for 12 hours (or more if needed). This process guarantees that all organisms present inside the padding will be killed off, making your shin guards and elbow pads odor-free and fresh once again.
“Vinegar is non-toxic and eco-friendly compared to other chemicals commonly used to kill bacteria,” says Karen Bostrom from Microban Europe.
Drying and Storing
The final step in washing hockey gear involves air-drying and storing away the equipment properly. Once done cleaning, it’s important to let the shin guards and elbow pads completely air dry before using them again. Failure to do so could make germs grow on damp equipment and expose yourself to unwanted pathogens.
You can hang them outside on a clothesline or use a drying rack to avoid exposing them to direct sunlight. It is essential that you store your equipment someplace airy, like a garage or basement closet, instead of locking them up in a bag since dampness might creep in and form mildew and mold over time.
Caring for your shin guards and elbow pads isn’t difficult, but ignoring hygiene practices could create ripe breeding conditions for harmful microbes. A few simple steps taken regularly while washing the gear go a long way in keeping those nasty smells at bay, protecting your health, and improving the longevity of your equipment.
Washing the Gloves and Helmet
Hockey gear, such as gloves and helmets, can accumulate dirt, sweat, and bacteria after a game. It is important to clean them properly to keep them hygienic and in good condition. Here are some effective methods for washing hockey gloves and helmets:
If you prefer hand-washing your hockey gear, fill up a bathtub or sink with warm water and add a few drops of mild detergent. Remove all removable parts from your helmet and soak it in the solution for about 20 minutes. Afterward, gently scrub the surface of the helmet with a soft-bristle brush and rinse thoroughly with clean water.
To wash hockey gloves, turn them inside out and place them in the solution. Scrub the exterior with a brush or cloth and pay extra attention to areas that can harbor bacteria, such as finger crevices and wrist cuffs. Rinse with clean water and hang-dry the gloves upside down to prevent moisture buildup inside.
When using hand-washing techniques, always make sure that the equipment has completely dried before storing them away. This will help prevent mold growth and bad smells.
Using a Helmet Cleaner
If you want an easier cleaning method, consider using a helmet cleaner specifically designed for hockey gear. These cleaners come in sprays or foams and require no water or manual scrubbing.
Simply spray or apply foam generously onto the surface of the helmet and let it sit for a while, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Some products may require wiping off excess residue afterward. Be sure to choose a non-toxic, biodegradable product that won’t damage the material or strip away protective coatings.
You can also use these cleaners on hockey gloves, but be sure to read the label carefully and spot-test a small area before applying it to the entire gear. Avoid getting the product into the breathing holes or any electrical components of your helmet.
“When cleaning sports equipment, always use non-toxic products that won’t harm the user’s health or the environment.” – HealthyChildren.org
No matter which cleaning method you choose, it is important to maintain good hygiene practices when handling hockey gear. Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching the equipment, and avoid sharing it with others to prevent cross-contamination.
Drying the Gear
After washing your hockey gear, it is important to properly dry it. The reason for this is simple: if you store the gear while it’s still wet, bacteria can grow and cause unpleasant odors or even infections. Here are some tips to consider when drying your gear:
The best way to air-dry your hockey gear is by laying it flat on a clean surface and placing it in a well-ventilated area. Ensure that there is enough space between each piece of gear so that they can dry thoroughly. You can use a clothesline or drying rack to hang up smaller items like socks and jerseys.
“Air-drying is preferable over using machines, as hot water and high heat can damage the fibers in your equipment.” -Pure Goalie
To speed up the process, you can also take apart larger pieces of equipment such as your shin guards and helmet and place them in front of a fan or in a breeze outdoors. This helps increase air circulation around the gear, making it dry faster.
Using a Fan
If you don’t have access to outdoor breezes, using a fan can be an effective alternative. Place the fan facing towards the gear at a comfortable distance but ensure that it’s not blowing too hard. High winds can damage fragile parts like straps and laces. A gentle flow of air should suffice.
“A fan or any similar device can work wonders with respect to hastening the drying process all while ensuring that we avoid an overly-tight environment where moisture accumulates.” -KeeperStop.com
You can set a timer for about two hours and rotate the gear every hour so that air reaches all sections evenly. Make sure that you flip over the gear like shoulder pads and elbow pads in between so that both sides can dry.
Avoiding Direct Sunlight
While the sun is an excellent natural drying agent, it’s essential to avoid direct exposure. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can fade colors on your equipment or cause them to become brittle and crack over time. It could also damage padding inside the gear.
“It’s important to stay away from heat sources such as heaters, stoves, radiators and even ceiling lights. This is because the goal here is to dry our equipment naturally while ensuring we do not cause additional harm.” -KeeperStop.com
If you have no choice but to place your gear outside, make sure it’s covered with a sheet or towel to protect it from UV light. Alternatively, you can hang it up in a shaded spot – remember air circulation is still crucial for thorough drying.
Checking for Dryness
The final step in drying your hockey gear is making sure that everything is completely dry before storing it away. Damp patches left hidden in corners will encourage bacteria growth and ruin your efforts. Here are some tips:
- Check each piece of gear individually by touching it with your hands or a towel. If it feels damp, leave it out to air-dry further.
- Sniff-test: smell your equipment. Trust me, this works! If there’s any odor lingering, then it’s probably not properly dried yet.
- If you’re in doubt, use a moisture meter. It’s a tool similar to a thermometer except it measures how much humidity is present in an item. Aim for less than 50% relative humidity for full dryness.
Now that your hockey equipment is clean and properly dried, it’s ready for your next match. Remember to repeat the washing and drying process regularly so that you can stay hygienic on the ice.
Preventing Future Odors and Bacteria
After washing your hockey gear, there are measures you can take to prevent future odors and bacteria from forming. Implementing these practices regularly will ensure that your equipment stays clean and fresh for longer periods.
Regular Cleaning Schedule
One of the most important things you can do to maintain clean hockey gear is to establish a regular cleaning schedule. Ideally, you should aim to wash your equipment at least once every few weeks, depending on how frequently you use it. By keeping up with this habit, you’ll be able to prevent sweat and bacteria from building up over time and causing unpleasant smells.
You can also spot-clean your gear in between washes as needed. Use a damp cloth and some mild soap or disinfectant spray to wipe down the inside and outside of your items, paying special attention to areas like the armpits and groin where odor tends to accumulate.
Using Deodorizing Spray
If you’re looking for an extra layer of protection against funky smells, consider investing in a deodorizing spray designed specifically for sports equipment. These products often contain natural ingredients like tea tree oil or eucalyptus, which have antibacterial properties that help eliminate odor-causing germs.
To use a deodorizing spray, simply apply it liberally all over your gear after each use. Be sure to pay extra attention to areas that tend to get particularly smelly, like your skates or helmet.
Storing Gear Properly
The way you store your hockey gear when it’s not in use can have a big impact on its overall freshness. To prevent mold and mildew from growing on your equipment, make sure you hang everything up to dry thoroughly after each use.
Investing in a dedicated equipment bag or locker can also help keep your gear organized and prevent odor from spreading to other items. If possible, try to store your gear in a well-ventilated area to allow for maximum airflow.
Avoiding Moisture Build-Up
One of the main culprits behind smelly hockey gear is moisture that gets trapped inside your equipment. To avoid this problem, make sure you’re wearing moisture-wicking clothing underneath your pads and jersey to help absorb sweat.
You can also invest in specialty gear like skate towels or blade covers to help keep your skates dry and prevent rust buildup. When drying out your equipment after each use, consider using a fan or dehumidifier to speed up the process and ensure that everything is completely dry before storing it away.
“It’s important to establish good habits when cleaning your hockey gear so that you don’t have to deal with major odors or bacteria outbreaks down the line.” -HockeyMonkey Blog
By following these tips, you’ll be able to keep your hockey gear fresh and clean no matter how frequently you play. Remember to establish a regular cleaning schedule, use deodorizing spray when needed, store your gear properly, and avoid moisture build-up whenever possible. With these practices in place, you’ll be able to enjoy your sport without any unpleasant smells or health risks getting in the way!
Frequently Asked Questions
What materials do I need to wash my hockey gear?
To wash your hockey gear, you’ll need a laundry bag, mild detergent, vinegar, and a bathtub. You can also use a specialized hockey gear cleaning solution. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners, as they can damage the materials.
Can I wash my hockey gear in a washing machine?
While some items like jerseys and socks can be washed in a washing machine, it’s not recommended to wash your full hockey gear in a machine. The agitation can damage the gear, and the padding may not dry properly. It’s best to hand wash and air dry your gear.
How often should I wash my hockey gear?
You should wash your hockey gear regularly to prevent bacteria buildup. Depending on how often you play, you may need to wash it after every use. At a minimum, aim to wash your gear once a month. Sooner if it starts to smell or become visibly dirty.
What is the best way to dry my hockey gear?
Air drying your hockey gear is the best way to ensure it doesn’t get damaged. Hang it up in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside in the sun. Avoid using a dryer, as the heat can damage the materials and cause them to shrink.
Are there any special steps I need to take when washing goalie gear?
Goalie gear needs extra attention when washing, as it is larger and has more padding. You may need to soak it longer and use a specialized cleaning solution. Be sure to also pay extra attention to the straps and buckles, which can get dirty and need extra cleaning.