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The Ultimate Guide to Washing and Caring for Your Sports Gear

NHL Gear

It makes no difference whether you play ice hockey or another sport. Proper gear/equipment care and maintenance are critical for performance and longevity. I recommend washing your hockey equipment if you haven’t already. I thought washing the equipment would be a lot of work initially, and I was right.

But as I did it, I grew used to it, and now it takes less time, and I enjoy doing it. If you want to try washing your ice hockey equipment, this article is for you. Give it a read.

Why Proper Gear Care Matters?

Before diving into the specifics, let’s understand why it’s crucial to take care of your sports gear:

Prolong Gear Lifespan

Taking good care of your sports equipment is a smart financial move and a way to ensure that you get the most out of your investment. Properly maintaining your gear can extend its lifespan, saving you money in the long run.

Plus, it will give you peace of mind knowing that your equipment is in top-notch condition and ready for optimal performance whenever needed. So, pay attention to the importance of maintenance and enjoy the benefits of longer-lasting gear!

Improved Performance

Taking the time to clean and meticulously maintain your gear can remarkably impact your performance. Not only will it enhance your overall experience, but it will also provide a heightened sense of comfort and freedom of movement.

Hockey Gear

Imagine the satisfaction of using gear that not only feels and smells better but also allows you to perform at your absolute best, unhindered by any distractions. Don’t underestimate the power of well-maintained gear in unlocking your true potential.


Lastly, maintaining good hygiene is crucial, especially regarding sweaty gear. Excessive sweat can create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive, leading to unpleasant odors and potential health issues.

Properly caring for your equipment, such as regularly washing and drying it thoroughly, ensures a fresh and healthy experience every time you use it. Prioritizing hygiene not only promotes cleanliness but also enhances your overall well-being.

Now, let’s break down the steps for washing and caring for your sports gear.

Step 1: Prep Your Gear

Before tossing your gear into the washing machine, it’s essential to do some prep work:

  • Velcro Management: Ensure all Velcro straps are securely fastened. This prevents them from snagging on other gear or the washing machine.
  • Organize Your Bag: As you remove gear from your bag, take a moment to smooth down any Velcro and arrange items neatly. This simple step can prevent unnecessary wear and tear.

Step 2: Loading the Washing Machine

Most sports gear can go right into the washing machine. Here’s how to load it properly:

  • Shin Pads and Pants: Place shin pads inside pants to prevent them from moving around.
  • Shoulder Pads: Place these directly in the washing machine.
  • Elbow Pads: Elbow pads are small and can fit into nooks and crannies, so tuck them wherever they fit.
  • Bag: Yes, even your hockey bag can be washed. Consider washing it separately for best results.

Step 3: Choosing Detergent

Selecting a suitable detergent is essential. You can use your regular detergent, but a specialized option like “Tide Sport” can work wonders for sports gear. It effectively tackles sports-related odors and stains without being too harsh on your equipment. Plus, it’s cost-effective.

Step 4: Boosting the Cleanliness

Consider adding scent boosters like Downy Unstopables (or similar off-brand options) to take your gear’s freshness to the next level. These keep your equipment smelling great and maintain that fresh feeling even after storage.

Step 5: Dealing with Mold

If you notice mold on your gear, don’t panic. You can add a stain remover with oxygen bleach to your wash. This effectively eliminates mold without damaging the fabric.

Step 6: Fabric Softener

For an extra touch of softness, you can use fabric softener, especially for gloves that have become stiff over time. It adds a pleasant texture to your gear.

Step 7: Setting the Washing Machine

Here are the washing machine settings you should use:

  • Cold Water: Never use hot water, as it can damage your gear, especially gloves.
  • High Spin: Opt for a high spin cycle to remove as much water as possible before drying.
  • Normal Soil Level: Set the soil level to normal unless your gear is exceptionally dirty. You can also add an extra wash and rinse cycle for extra freshness.

Once you’ve set the machine, start the wash cycle, and let it work its magic.

Step 8: Drying Your Gear

Gear Dry

Here’s where you have to be cautious. Sports gear should not go in the dryer. Instead, follow these steps:

  • Air Dry: Hang your gear in a well-ventilated area. You can use a hockey tree, place it outside (except for gloves), or lay it out in your living room.
  • Use a Fan: Adding a fan to the drying process helps speed things up. Place towels underneath to catch any residual dampness.
  • Gloves: Make sure not to put gloves outside, as direct sunlight can damage them. Just let them air dry indoors.

Special Considerations for Helmets and Skates

When caring for your helmets and skates, it’s essential to consider their distinct needs. Helmets typically stay relatively clean outside and can be easily wiped down with a damp cloth and a touch of soap.

However, pay special attention to the interior padding, ensuring it receives proper airflow to deter the growth of bacteria.

On the other hand, for your skates, it’s crucial to thoroughly dry them after each use to prevent rust formation, especially on the blades and chassis.

If an unpleasant odor develops, a practical solution is to place dry tea bags inside the skates to absorb any unwelcome smells effectively.

Final Words

Caring for your sports gear is a simple yet crucial aspect of being an athlete. By following these steps, you’ll not only extend the life of your equipment but also ensure that it stays fresh and comfortable. I’ve also covered about how you can change hockey skates blades, give it a read too.

Remember, a little maintenance goes a long way in enhancing your performance and overall enjoyment of the game. So, keep your gear clean, play your best, and stay on top of your game!

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