How to Wash Hockey Equipment

Hockey is great exercise. Not only is it fun but it helps to relieve stress and improve cardiovascular health. As with most sports, however, it can be quite tiring. As a matter of fact, it’s not uncommon for some players to be sweating bullets by the end of a match. Considering this, it’s not surprising to know that most change rooms are filled with a pungent stench. Over time, an individual’s gear may also carry a distinctive aroma (let’s just say that it is not pleasant). Why does this happen? The answer is simple—bacteria. Once sweat permeates a material, bacteria will proliferate; this leads to the distinctive smell that we all know about too much.

How to Clean Your Hockey Gear – Best Ways to Remove the Sweat Smell

Have you noticed that there is an odor to your hockey gear? If so, it might be overdue for a wash. Don’t worry though, as tedious as it sounds, the process is actually quite straightforward. There is just one thing to keep in mind—different types of equipment (e.g. gloves, pants, jerseys, helmets) may need to be washed differently depending on the material that it is made out of.

Without further adieu, let’s take a look at how you can wash your hockey equipment.

How to Wash Hockey Jerseys

Hockey jerseys are often made out of synthetic materials such as polyester, which is designed to keep the player dry. Despite this, however, they are often drenched with sweat by the end of a game. For this reason, you will need to give them a bit of extra attention off the ice.

One thing that helps is to pre-soak—that is, you want to soak the jersey with some detergent (ACTIVE detergent is great for this) and baking soda; this will help to neutralize the odor before you actually wash it. Ideally, you’ll want to let it soak overnight. If you’re short for time though, an hour or so will work.

Note: You might have to soak it a few times depending on how dirty the jersey is

Once you’ve soaked the jersey, you can go ahead and put it in the washing machine. Do note, however, that it should be washed alone; avoid washing them with other clothes, including towels. Always use cold water as hot water can cause lettering and coloring to fade. For the best results, do not use fabric softener.

Pro-tip: Never use chlorine bleach with hockey jerseys as it might damage the fabric and material. Instead, mix a solution of ACTIVE detergent and water.

After the cycle is done, allow the hockey jersey to air dry. Do not put it in the dryer as the high heat can cause the material to shrink.

Washing Machine Instructions for Hockey Socks

Hockey socks are a type of garment that is worn by ice hockey players. Form-fitting, they are typically made out of cotton. Thicker than regular socks, they protect the legs from being scratched by skate blades.

As you can imagine, these socks tend to get soiled quickly during a fast-paced hockey game. After all, your feet move constantly on the ice—whether you’re on the defensive or offensive! Considering everything, it only makes sense that they will be stinky after a match.

Fortunately for us, hockey socks can easily be washed with the washing machine. While you can use any type of cleaner, ACTIVE detergent is great for this purpose. Once the cycle is complete, you can hang them to dry. While it’s typically not recommended, you could also put them in the dryer on low heat.

How to Clean & Deodorize Hockey Gloves & Pads

Hockey gloves prevent a player’s hands from getting battered and bruised during a match. Filled with a considerable amount of padding, they are designed to protect an individual from hockey sticks and flying pucks. Generally speaking, there are two types—the traditional four-roll style and the more ‘natural” fit style, the latter of which is meant to feel like an extension of the player’s hand. 

Cleaning them is easy. As with jerseys and socks, you can toss them in the washing machine. All you have to do is add a bit of cleaner—such as the ACTIVE detergent; avoid using bleach as that can damage the fabric. Using cold water, wash them with a 15-minute cycle. If necessary, you can add some vinegar as it will help to remove the unwanted door from the gloves. Once the cycle is complete, remove them from the machine and hang them to dry. Do not use them until they are completely dry.

Note: Hockey gloves tend to float towards the top of the drum with top-loading machines. For this reason, it’s a good idea to soak them first before running the cycle.

Alternatively, you can hand wash the gloves. In the sink or a container, mix together hot water with ACTIVE detergent. Place the gloves into the solution and allow them to saturate in the liquid. Using your hands, gently stir the cleanser; this will help to remove the loosened dirt. Afterward, let them soak for an additional 30 to 60 minutes. When the time is up, rinse the hockey gloves with clean water—this will remove the cleaning solution as well as the grime. Use a towel to soak up the excess water and allow them to air dry.

Pro-tip: You can speed up the drying time by using a hair dryer on the gloves on a “cool” setting.

The Best Way to Wash Hockey Compression Layers

Hockey players also wear a base layer underneath their gear. As you might be able to guess, these compression garments are designed to fit tightly around the skin. Not only do they increase blood flow, but they help the muscles to recover more quickly after a game.

As is the case with jerseys, socks, and gloves, these compression layers can be thrown in the wash. Using the “delicate” setting, add a bit of ACTIVE detergent to the machine. For the most parts, that will be enough to get rid of the stench. If anything, they will come out looking as good as new!

If you want, you can also pre-soak the compression layers before putting them in the washing machine; this will also help to get rid of the odor.

How to Clean Your Hockey Helmet

Hockey helmets are essential for head protection. More often than not, however, they become drenched with sweat as players skate up and down the ice. How do you go about washing them?

Unfortunately, they cannot be tossed into the washing machine like the other gear—after all, it’s made out of plastic and metal! Instead, you’ll want to use a high-quality deodorizer spray; this will help to neutralize and get rid of the odor. If necessary, you can also wipe the surface of the helmet with a wet cloth (with or without cleaner).

Pro-tip: Airing out the helmet after a game helps to prevent odors. Ideally, you’ll want to do this for at least 15 minutes before stuffing it back into your bag.

How to Deodorize & Refresh Hockey Skates

As it is, hockey skates can get stinky quickly. At the end of the day, your feet are constantly moving on the ice. Similar to the helmet, you’ll want to “clean” them regularly with a deodorizer spray. Alternatively, you can stuff a dryer sheet into each of them after you skate. A disinfectant spray can also be used every once in a while to get rid of bacteria.

Pro-tip: As with the helmet, it helps a lot if you let your skates air out after skating.

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