how to clean hockey gear

How To Clean Hockey Gear: [THE ULTIMATE GUIDE]

Hockey is an exciting, intense, and physically demanding sport.

Like many other sports, it requires the use of specific gear or equipment to ensure the players’ safety and enhance their performance.

However, after just a few intense minutes on the ice, this equipment—helmet, shoulder pads, elbow pads, gloves, skates, shin guards, and hockey pants—becomes sweaty and starts to stink.

NOTE: Fresh Gear machines can sanitize and deodorize pretty much anything. But even though there are many Sanitizing Centers across 10 countries, there may not be one near you.

So, we’ve gathered a collection of the most popular, non-FreshGear ways of sanitizing and deodorizing to help you out.

This article is focused on one of our favorite items to clean: HOCKEY GEAR.

Section Key Points
Why Clean Hockey Equipment? Cleaning hockey equipment removes bacteria, germs, and odors that can cause infections and diseases. It also prolongs the lifespan of the equipment.
When to Clean Hockey Equipment? Hockey equipment should be cleaned after every use to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. (Just like your underwear…)
How Can I Wash My Hockey Equipment? Hockey equipment can be washed by hand or in a washing machine, depending on the piece of equipment. Use mild detergent, warm water, and a soft brush.
How Do You Clean Smelly Hockey Equipment? Use vinegar and water solution or specialized sports gear cleaning products to clean the inside surfaces, at the very least. Deeper cleaning can be done on a regular (monthly?) interval. Always dry equipment thoroughly after cleaning.
What Pieces of Hockey Equipment Can You Wash? Almost all pieces of hockey equipment can be washed, including the chest protector, elbow pads, shin guards, jock, pants, socks, neck guard, and gloves. Helmets and skates should be cleaned separately.
Is It OK to Wash Hockey Gear in the Washing Machine? Yes, but it depends on the piece of equipment. Helmets and skates should not be washed in a machine. Gloves may break down prematurely if washed regularly in a machine.
Cleaning Products for Hockey Equipment Use mild detergent, specialized sports gear cleaning products, or vinegar and water solution.
Cleaning Tips for Hockey Equipment Do not use bleach or harsh chemicals.
Storing Hockey Equipment Store hockey equipment in a dry, well-ventilated area. Avoid storing in damp or enclosed spaces. (Get it out of the car and out of the bag!)
Preventing Hockey Equipment Damage Regular cleaning and proper storage can prevent damage to hockey equipment.
Hockey Equipment Care Tips Always dry the equipment after use and before storage. Regularly check for signs of wear and tear.
Hockey Equipment Cleaning FAQs Addressed various questions regarding cleaning hockey equipment.
Hockey Equipment Resources Provided resources for hockey equipment care and cleaning. Ozone Sanitizing Services FreshGear offers a comprehensive, safe, and effective solution for cleaning and sanitizing hockey equipment. Their services are used by professional sports teams and are proven to kill up to 99.99% of bacteria.

Why Clean Hockey Equipment?

Apart from the discomfort that the odor presents, there are serious health issues at play.

Sweaty and contaminated hockey equipment becomes a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and microorganisms. These pathogens can cause skin infections and diseases.

It is crucial to clean and sanitize your hockey equipment regularly to prevent such conditions.

When to Clean Hockey Equipment?

Cleaning your hockey equipment should be a regular part of your routine.

Ideally, you should clean the gear after each use. However, this might not be feasible for all pieces, and hence, it depends on the equipment type and the amount of sweat it absorbs. As a rule of thumb, items like gloves, jerseys, and socks should be cleaned after every game or practice session.

Other equipment like helmets, skates, and pads can be cleaned every few weeks.

How Can I Wash My Hockey Equipment?

Washing your hockey equipment isn’t as simple as tossing it into the washing machine. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean your hockey gear:

  1. Wash: Begin by separating the washable parts of your gear (jerseys, socks, and some types of padding) and placing them in the washing machine. Use cold water and a gentle detergent. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners as they can damage the material.
  2. Rinse: For hard equipment (helmets, skates, and protective gear), fill a tub with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. Rinse each item in the solution, scrubbing gently to remove dirt and sweat residue.
  3. Wipe: Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe down the equipment thoroughly. Be sure to reach all the nooks and crannies where bacteria might be hiding.
  4. Sanitize: To kill any lingering bacteria and germs, sanitize your gear using a sports equipment sanitizer. Make sure to check that the product is safe to use on your specific gear.
  5. Dry: After cleaning, it’s essential to dry your equipment thoroughly to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Air drying is the best option. Hang your gear in a well-ventilated area, out of direct sunlight.

How Do You Clean Smelly Hockey Equipment?

Getting rid of the smell from your hockey equipment involves a few extra steps.

Start by washing and rinsing the gear as mentioned above. Then, use a sports gear deodorizer or a homemade solution of vinegar and water to neutralize the odor. Spray it on your equipment and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it off. Finally, dry your gear as instructed above.

Check the ingredients on the sports sprays. It’s best to select a spray that has minimal chemicals and is mostly alcohol based.

What Pieces of Hockey Equipment Can You Wash?

Most pieces of hockey equipment can be cleaned to some extent.

Jerseys, socks, and some types of padding can be machine washed, while other items like skates, helmets, and protective gear can be washed by hand.

However, it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s instructions before washing any piece of equipment.

Is It OK to Wash Hockey Gear in the Washing Machine?

Not all hockey gear can be washed in a washing machine.

Items like jerseys, socks, and some removable padding can be safely machine-washed on a gentle cycle with cold water. However, hard equipment like skates, helmets, and protective gear should be washed by hand.

When washing your hockey equipment in a washing machine, you can wash everything except helmets and skates. This includes the chest protector, elbow pads, shin-guards, jock, pants, socks, neck-guard, and even gloves.

Depending on the size of your washer and your gear, you may need to divide the equipment into two or three loads.

Typical Cleaning Products for Hockey Equipment

There are many cleaning products available in the market that are suitable for cleaning hockey equipment. These include:

  • Sports gear detergent: These detergents are specially designed to handle sweat and bacteria that accumulate on sports equipment.
  • Mild soap: A simple solution of mild soap and warm water can be used to clean hard gear like helmets and skates.
  • Equipment sanitizer: Sanitizers kill bacteria and germs on the surface of the gear, but can cause adverse reactions on your skin. Choose one with minimal chemicals, mostly alcohol-based.
  • Equipment deodorizer: These products purely mask the smell from your gear.

When choosing a product, make sure it’s safe to use on your specific gear and for your skin.

Only spray in well ventilated areas to avoid harming your lungs.

Cleaning Tips for Hockey Equipment

Here are some tips to ensure your hockey equipment is as clean as possible:

  1. Check the manufacturer’s instructions: Before washing any piece of equipment, it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s instructions. Some materials may not be suitable for machine washing or certain cleaning products.
  2. Don’t forget the small pieces: Small pieces of equipment like mouthguards and water bottles should also be sanitized regularly.
  3. Use a toothbrush: A toothbrush can be used to scrub hard-to-reach areas in helmets and skates.
  4. Avoid bleach and harsh chemicals: These can damage the material of your gear.
  5. Ensure thorough drying: After cleaning, make sure your equipment is completely dry before storing it to prevent mold growth.

Storing Hockey Equipment

Proper storage of your hockey equipment is as important as cleaning it.

After your gear is completely dry, store it in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Avoid stuffing your equipment in a bag immediately after use. Instead, air it out to allow any remaining moisture to evaporate.

Using a gear rack can help keep your equipment organized and ventilated.

Preventing Hockey Equipment Damage

Preventing damage to your hockey equipment starts with proper care and maintenance. Here are some tips:

  1. Regular cleaning: Regularly cleaning your equipment helps prevent the buildup of bacteria and sweat that can deteriorate the material.
  2. Proper storage: Store your gear in a cool, dry place and avoid leaving it in damp or hot areas, which can damage the material.
  3. Avoid harsh cleaning products: Harsh chemicals can cause damage to the material of your gear.
  4. Inspect your gear: Regularly check your gear for any signs of wear and tear and replace any damaged items promptly.

Hockey Equipment Care Tips

Here are some additional care tips to help extend the life of your hockey equipment:

Care Tips Description
Don’t ignore smells If your gear starts to smell, it’s a sign that it needs a thorough cleaning. Ignoring it can lead to bacteria buildup and potential health risks.
Rotate your gear If possible, have two sets of gear that you can rotate. This allows one set to dry and air out while you use the other.
Avoid sharing gear Sharing equipment can spread bacteria and germs. It’s always best to use your own gear.
Always dry your equipment After a game or practice, make sure to air dry your equipment before storing it.

Hockey Gear Cleaning FAQs:

  1. Can I use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process for my hockey equipment? It’s not recommended to use a hairdryer or any other form of artificial heat to dry your hockey equipment. This can cause the material to warp or shrink. Instead, air dry your gear in a well-ventilated area.
  2. How often should I clean my hockey equipment? It’s recommended to clean your equipment after every use to prevent the buildup of bacteria and sweat. However, the frequency may vary depending on how often you play. This article will guide you through the criteria to determine how often you should clean your gear.
  3. Is there any special way to clean my hockey skates? Yes, hockey skates require special attention. You should remove the insoles and let them air dry separately. The boot can be wiped with a damp cloth, but avoid submerging them in water as it can damage the material and construction.
  4. Can I machine wash my hockey helmet? Although technically possible, it is not recommended to machine wash a hockey helmet as it can cause damage​1​.
  5. What should I do if mold or mildew has formed on my hockey gear? If you find mold or mildew on your gear, it’s best to clean it as soon as possible. Use a mild detergent to clean the affected areas. If the mold is extensive or the gear is significantly damaged, it may be safer to replace it.
  6. Can I use bleach to clean my hockey gear? It’s generally not recommended to use bleach on your hockey gear. Bleach can break down the materials and cause them to deteriorate faster. Instead, use a sports gear detergent or mild soap.
  7. What is the best way to deodorize my hockey bag? After cleaning your equipment, leave the hockey bag open and let it air out. Spraying it with a sports gear deodorizer or a solution of vinegar and water can also help neutralize any lingering odors.
  8. How can I clean my hockey visor? Use a soft, damp cloth to gently wipe the visor. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or materials, as they can scratch the surface. Some manufacturers also sell specific visor cleaning solutions.
  9. Can I put my hockey gloves in the dryer? It’s not recommended to put your hockey gloves in the dryer as the heat can damage the leather and synthetic materials. Instead, allow them to air dry.
  10. Why does my hockey gear still smell after washing? If your gear still smells after washing, it might be because it wasn’t dried thoroughly, and bacteria have continued to grow. Make sure your gear is completely dry before you store it. If the smell persists, you may need to use a sports gear deodorizer.
  11. Can I use vinegar to clean my hockey equipment? Yes, vinegar is a great natural cleaner and deodorizer. You can make a solution of equal parts vinegar and water and use it to clean and deodorize your gear.
  12. How should I clean my mouthguard? Your mouthguard can be cleaned with a toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Rinse it thoroughly and let it dry completely before storing it in a ventilated container. Some mouthguards can also be washed in the top rack of a dishwasher, but check the manufacturer’s instructions first.

11 Great Reasons to Use FreshGear Sanitizing Services:

Reasons Description
Deep Cleaning Fresh Gear’s ozone sanitizing machines are capable of killing up to 99.99% of germs, not just on the exterior of your equipment, but deep within the interior of your PPE and sports gear as well. This ensures that your equipment is thoroughly sanitized and safe for use.​
Safe and Environmentally Friendly The machines are chemical-free, eliminating the need for potentially harmful oils, solvents, or bleaches, making them a “green” cleaning solution.​
Triple Action Fresh Gear’s machines not only sanitize your gear, but they also dry your damp equipment while simultaneously removing any unpleasant odors. This saves you time and effort by performing three essential tasks at once.​
Trusted by Professionals Fresh Gear’s ozone machines are used by numerous U.S. and Canadian Government Agencies, Law Enforcement, Fire Departments, Schools, Commercial Dry Cleaners, industrial and manufacturing facilities, and professional and college sports teams, demonstrating their reliability and effectiveness.​
Proven Effective Results of the Fresh Gear process have been tested and verified by independent laboratories, with the results published on the website. These tests are based on actual swabs from the inside of sports gear, which is typically the hardest place for ozone to reach. This means that Fresh Gear’s sanitizing services are scientifically proven to be effective at eliminating harmful pathogens.​
UV Ozone Generation Fresh Gear machines use UV Ozone generation to provide consistent ozone levels, even when dealing with damp gear. This ensures that the sanitizing process is equally effective for all pieces of equipment, regardless of their moisture level.​
Proprietary Ozone Destruction Technology Fresh Gear’s proprietary ozone destruction technology enables the use of optimum ozone levels, which results in high bacteria kill rates. This technology is unique to FreshGear and offers a distinct advantage over other sanitizing solutions.​
Used by Hockey Professionals FreshGear is used by NHL, MLSE, OHL, NCAA and Canadian university teams.
Patented Process The patented process of Fresh Gear uses perforated tubes to direct high levels of ozone into the areas that make contact with the skin. This thorough sanitizing of the gear significantly reduces the risk of infection, offering an advantage over other sanitizing machines that merely pump ozone into a box.​
Positive Testimonials Customers who have used Fresh Gear’s services have reported extremely positive experiences. They have noted that their equipment is not only thoroughly cleaned and deodorized, but that the service is efficient and easy to use. Some have even stated that the sanitizing service has transformed their experience of sharing space with their hockey equipment, as it significantly reduces odors.​
Cost-Effective FreshGear’s cleaning service prices are often less than half of their competitors, making it a cost-effective option for maintaining clean and sanitized hockey gear. This affordability does not compromise the quality or effectiveness of the service.​

Hockey Equipment Resources

To learn more about cleaning and caring for your hockey equipment, here are some resources that might be useful:

  1. Manufacturer’s website: Most manufacturers have care instructions on their websites. Always check here first before cleaning your equipment.
  2. Sports equipment stores: Staff at these stores are usually knowledgeable about equipment care and can provide valuable advice.
  3. Online forums and communities: There are many online communities where you can ask questions and get advice from other hockey players.
  4. Hockey coaches and experienced players: Don’t hesitate to ask for advice from coaches or more experienced players. They have likely dealt with all sorts of equipment issues and can provide practical tips.
Pros and Cons of Cleaning Methods
Cleaning Method Pros Cons
Hand Washing
  • Allows for targeted cleaning.
  • Gentle on equipment.
  • Suitable for all types of hockey equipment.
  • Can be time-consuming.
  • May not remove all bacteria and germs.
Machine Washing
  • Convenient and requires less effort.
  • Effective for cleaning large amounts of gear at once.
  • Not suitable for all types of hockey equipment (e.g., helmets and skates).
  • May cause damage to certain equipment.
Vinegar and Water Solution
  • Natural and affordable.
  • Effectively neutralizes odors.
  • Has some antibacterial properties.
  • Smell of vinegar may not be pleasant to some. (Think: French Fries)
  • Not be as effective as professional cleaning or specialized cleaning products.
Specialized Sports Gear Cleaning Products
  • Designed to clean and deodorize sports gear.
  • Can effectively remove bacteria, germs, and odors.
  • Can be more expensive than other methods.
  • May contain chemicals that some people prefer to avoid.
  • Repeated use may lead to premature aging of equipment. Ozone Sanitizing Services
  • Kills up to 99.99% of bacteria.
  • Chemical-free and dries gear while sanitizing.
  • Used by professional sports teams.
  • Patented process for effective sanitization.
  • Cost-effective
  • Requires access to the service within your geographic area.

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