How To Clean Stinky Hockey Gear

Hockey gear can often develop an unpleasant odor due to sweat, bacteria, and moisture buildup. To effectively clean stinky hockey gear, consider the following tips:

1. Remove Odor-Causing Bacteria: Bacteria is one of the main culprits behind the stench in hockey gear. Start by removing all removable parts, such as padding and liners, and soak them in a mixture of warm water and mild detergent or vinegar. This will help kill bacteria and eliminate odors.

2. Hand Wash Non-Removable Gear: For gear that can’t be removed, like shoulder pads or shin guards, use a mild detergent and warm water solution to hand wash them. Scrub them gently, making sure to reach all the crevices. Rinse thoroughly and allow them to air dry.

3. Machine Washable Items: Some hockey gear like jerseys, socks, and undergarments may be machine washable. Check the care instructions for these items and wash them separately from other clothing. Use gentle settings and cold water to avoid damaging the fabric.

4. Dry Properly: Properly drying hockey gear is crucial to prevent it from developing a musty smell. Hang the gear in a well-ventilated area or use a fan to facilitate air circulation. Avoid direct sunlight and high heat, as they can damage the gear.

5. Deodorize and Freshen: Once the gear is clean and dry, it’s essential to deodorize and freshen it. Baking soda is an excellent natural odor absorber. Sprinkle it generously over the gear, let it sit for a few hours, and then brush off the excess. Alternatively, you can use specialized gear deodorizers or sprays.


1. How often should hockey gear be cleaned?
It is recommended to clean hockey gear at least once every few months to keep it fresh and odor-free. However, it’s a good idea to spot clean and deodorize equipment more frequently for a greater effect.

2. Can I machine wash all my hockey gear?
No, not all hockey gear is machine washable. Check the care instructions for each item to determine if it can be safely machine washed. Equipment with sensitive padding or electronics should be hand washed to avoid damage.

3. Can I use bleach to clean my hockey gear?
Bleach is not recommended for cleaning hockey gear as it can damage the fabric and padding. Stick to mild detergents or vinegar solutions to kill bacteria and eliminate odors.

4. How can I prevent my hockey gear from smelling in the first place?
To prevent odor buildup, try to dry your gear thoroughly after each use. Consider using antibacterial sprays or wipes on the pads, and air out the items in a well-ventilated area.

5. Is it safe to machine dry hockey gear?
No, it is not safe to machine dry most hockey gear. High heat can deform or melt the padding and fabric. Always air dry the gear to maintain its shape and functionality.

6. Can I use fabric softener on my hockey gear?
It is generally not recommended to use fabric softener on hockey gear. Fabric softener can leave residue on the gear, causing it to become less breathable and potentially irritating to the skin.

7. How can I remove stubborn odors from my hockey gear?
If stubborn odors persist, you can try soaking the gear in a mixture of water and white vinegar for a few hours before washing. Vinegar is known for its odor-neutralizing properties and can help eliminate lingering smells.

Cleaning stinky hockey gear requires a combination of proper washing, drying, and deodorizing. Regular maintenance and spot cleaning can go a long way in keeping your gear fresh and odor-free. Remember to follow the care instructions for each item and avoid using harsh chemicals or high heat that may damage the gear.