If there’s one thing all hockey players can agree on, the equipment can smell really bad. In no time, your new gear acquires a funk that’s hard to get rid of. But, there are a lot of tips and methods out there that don’t really work.
The first and most important step to cleaning ice hockey equipment is to dry it out. Immediately after a practice or game, wash all clothing items.
For skates and helmets, it’s best to wipe them dry and place them in a well-ventilated area.
Pads and pants should hang and be allowed to dry.
You should wash the equipment periodically and, for this, you can use your bathtub and do it manually. But, you can also use a washing machine or a dishwasher. Just keep in mind that there are some precautions you need to take.
Hockey equipment stinks up due to bacteria that come from sweat. Since most hockey equipment is padded, it can accumulate moisture and cause the bacteria to grow, so keep your stuff clean isn’t only about the smell. It’s about health. So, let’s find out more about how to clean hockey equipment.
How to clean hockey equipment at home by hand
Like we said above, the most critical aspect of cleaning hockey equipment is preventing moisture buildup. After practice or a game, take all your stuff out of the bag. Open your skates as much as possible and wipe down any moisture you can find in the boot, holder, and blade.
You can use a disinfectant spray in between washes, but ensure that there’s no excess liquid as well. The same applies to the helmet. One tip is to remove the cage or facemask and chin cup and set those out to dry, too.
When it comes to shoulder and shin pads and pants, the best way to avoid stink is to hang them out to dry immediately. Also, be sure to have a well-ventilated area, as these items can hold a lot of moisture.
Don’t forget to clean your bag as well. You can use disinfectant and a dry towel.
Then, there’s washing. While you don’t have to wash your items after every use, you should do so frequently, as this helps get rid of the bacteria that causes bad odor.
There are no set guidelines for washing frequency. But, according to Fresh Gear and the National Athletic Trainers Association, you should wash your gear every six weeks or 15-20 uses.
You can wash your gear with regular soap in the sink. But, you might be wondering what happens when it’s too big. Read on to find out other methods for when your gear is too big for the sink.
How to wash hockey gear in your bathtub?
At first, this method might seem complicated. But, washing your hockey equipment in your bathtub is one of the easiest ways to do so.
Before dunking in all the gear, you need to prepare it. You can use this method for shoulder and elbow pads, shin guards, pants, and gloves. Be sure to remove all liners and untie all straps.
Fill the bathtub halfway with warm (not hot) water and a quarter of a cup of detergent. According to Pure Hockey, you can also add another quarter of a cup of vinegar, but you mustn’t use any bleaching agents. These can seriously damage your gear.
Swirl the detergent around until it’s dissolved. Then, dunk all your gear into the tub, making sure that the water covers it all, and let rest for 30 minutes.
Once time is up, drain the water from the tub. Here’s a vital step when cleaning your hockey gear in your tub.
Detergents can be persistent and generate a lot of foam. So, you must rinse off any excess detergent with running water at room temperature. This can take a while, but it’s best to do so. Otherwise, the detergent might foam up when you’re playing. Once you’re done, you should hang all your gear to dry.
But, let’s face it, this method can take some time. So, let’s discuss washing your hockey gear in the washing machine.
How to wash hockey gear using a washing machine
The best thing about using a washing machine is that you can clean most of your equipment. You can put the following items in them:
- Base layers
- Elbow and shoulder pads
With the washing machine, the inverse applies to washing by hand. You should tighten all the straps and attach all the Velcro. One loose belt can snag and damage your gear.
Also, the best washing machine to clean your gear is a front-loading model, as it doesn’t have a cylinder in the middle, which can bend and warp the padding.
Ideally, you should use the “Delicate” cycle and cold water. However, don’t overfill it, as it’s best to do it by batches.
Using the washing machine is quicker, but it might be too aggressive on some gear. So, try not to use it as frequently as the bathtub method.
If a washing machine isn’t for you, you might have heard of another method: the dishwasher. That’s right.
How to wash hockey gear in the dishwasher
In theory, this makes perfect sense. It doesn’t have an aggressive spin cycle like the washing machine, and it’s easier to load the gear. But, there are some precautions you need to consider.
First of all, don’t fit larger pieces like the shin pads, as they simply might not fit. Second, if you’re going to use the dishwasher, ideally, it’s for gloves and shoulder pads.
Also, don’t use dishwasher detergent. This is designed to remove fat and solids, so it can be very aggressive. But be sure to use a detergent that won’t damage your machine.
Once the cycle is finished, remove your gear and hang it out to dry. Do not use the drying cycle, as it can really damage your equipment.
While we’re on this topic, let’s discuss using the dryer.
Can you put hockey equipment in the dryer?
The drying process takes time, and not everyone has the patience or time to wait for the gear to dry. So, it might be tempting to use a clothes dryer. However, use extreme caution when doing so.
First of all, these machines can heat up to very high temperatures, damaging plastic components in your gear.
Then, there’s the tumbling. As with the washing machine, a strap can snag and rip or damage your gear. So, if you’re going to use this method, use the lowest temperature and tumble dry option.
But, even before you do this, check the label on your gear. If there’s a warning that indicates that advises against using a drying machine, then it’s best to avoid it.
How can you clean goalie gear?
Goalies will always struggle with their bulky gear, pads in particular. But, not only that, they can stink up quite fast.
The main challenge with goalie gear is that it can hold moisture for longer than other items. So don’t dunk goalie pads in the tub, as drying them entirely will take a lot of time.
The best way to clean the pads is by drying them out after every game and periodically spraying them with a cleaning solution, then wiping them dry.
When it comes to the blocker and catcher, you shouldn’t dunk them in water. Instead, the best method to clean these is using a sponge, cold water, and mild detergent. Then, scrub them, rinse them and hang them out to dry.
As you can see, cleaning your gear is a part of hockey. But it’s not only about the stench. It’s about your health.
If you properly maintain and clean your gear, then you will ensure it’s not stinky, and there’s less chance of illness.
Hopefully, you’ve learned some valuable tips and tricks to ensure that your hockey gear is as clean as possible with this article.