the best ways to clean your hockey gear

The Best Ways To Clean Your Hockey Gear

If you’re a hockey player or hockey parent then you know that hockey gear can get pretty stinky. After a long game or practice, it’s probably tempting just to throw all of your equipment in your hockey bag and forget about it until the next practice. But if you want to keep your gear in good condition and prevent any nasty smells then you need to clean it regularly. In this blog post, we will discuss the best ways to clean your hockey gear.

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Why should you clean your hockey gear?

One of the main reasons to wash your hockey gear regularly is to keep it in good condition. Over time, dirt, sweat, and harmful bacteria can build up on your equipment and degrade its performance and durability.

Additionally, bacteria can cause unpleasant odors that are difficult to get rid of, often referred to as “rink stink”.

By washing your gear regularly, you can help prevent bacterial growth and keep your equipment from deteriorating prematurely.

What are the dos and don’ts of cleaning hockey gear?

If you want to keep your hockey gear in top condition, it’s important to know how to properly clean it. There are a few key dos and don’ts when it comes to cleaning smelly hockey equipment.

Some key dos include:

-Clean hockey equipment regularly, as often as every few days or after each use.

-Use mild detergent and cold or warm water (not hot water) to clean your equipment.

-Rinsing all of the excess water from your gear thoroughly to get rid of any soap residue.

-Use the gentle spin cycle to avoid damaging equipment padding.

-Check labels for any specific washing instructions.

Some key don’ts include:

-Avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach and strong detergents when cleaning your equipment.

-Never use a high heat setting for drying your equipment, as this can cause damage and shrinkage.

-Don’t overload your washing machine.

Best ways to clean your hockey gear
By Brandon Zeman

Preventative measures to ward off “rink stink”

The best way to keep your gear from smelling and bacteria from growing is by preventing it in the first place.

Let’s discuss how to do that.

Wear Base Layers:

Wearing a base layer will help to absorb sweat and keep your equipment from getting too wet or stinky. It will also keep any soaps, creams, or dead skin cells from contaminating your hockey gear.

Under Armour mens Armour Heatgear Leggings , Black (001)/Pitch Gray , Large

Under Armour has designed these leggings to wick sweat & dry really fast. Keeping you comfortable on the ice.

Use a Gear Spray:

There are special sports equipment sprays on the market that can be used to clean hockey equipment, helping prevent bacterial growth and stinky odors.

Howies Hockey Equipment Deodorizer Spray 8oz

Just spray on Howie’s deodorizer and let gear dry.

Dry It Out:

Leaving your gear to air dry after using it can also help prevent bacteria growth. This is especially important for items like gloves, which tend to retain moisture more than other pieces of equipment.

If possible, try to leave your gear out in a warm, dry place after each use to allow it to fully dry out.

UTTY Hanging Multipurpose Portable Equipment Drying Rack & Gear Organizer with Adjustable Hooks for Home, Travel & Outdoor Use - Camping Gear Must Haves

Perfect for weekend tourneys, this inexpensive hanger is ideal to bring with you for your hotel stays.

How to clean hockey gear?

You might be surprised that most gear can go into the washing machine! They are however a few items that you may need to hand wash instead.

Clean your hockey gear in a washing machine

You’ll be able to wash items such as the base layer, socks, hockey pants, jerseys, neck guard, elbow pads, and shin pads in a washing machine.

However, you should always check the labels to ensure that it’s safe to wash in a machine.

Use the gentle washing cycle and cold water, and be sure to separate any insert liners.

Velcro closures should always be fastened since they might snag and damage other items.

Detergent and laundry booster

Use laundry detergent products that are mild and free from bleaching agents.

A mild, bacteria-killing detergent is best for keeping your gear clean and smelling fresh.

Some good brands to look out for include OxyClean, Canager, Tide Sport Wash, and Lysol laundry sanitizer.

Tide Plus Febreze Fresh Sport Odor Defense HE Turbo Clean Liquid Laundry Detergent, Active Fresh Scent, 2.04 L (44 Loads) - Packaging May Vary

This Tide Sport Odor Defense laundry detergent is specifically designed to fight tough sports odors and stains, like sweat and dirt in one wash. 


You can add a cup of white vinegar to your wash to help sanitize your gear and remove any lingering odors.

You can add this directly to the wash or soak your gear in a mixture of water and vinegar before washing.

Hand washing

For bulkier items like chest protectors and shoulder pads, handwashing may be your best option.

Start by soaking your equipment in a tub full of warm water with a mild detergent for about 30-60 minutes.

Then, use a soft brush or sponge to gently scrub any dirt and debris off of the gear.

Rinse all of your equipment thoroughly before allowing it to dry completely.

Drying your hockey equipment at home

Drying your equipment is one of the most important steps in cleaning and maintaining it.

There are a few key tips to keep in mind when drying your gear, including:

Use a drying rack or sports equipment rack to hang dry

-Avoid using high heat settings or direct sunlight, as these can cause damage and shrinkage to your equipment.

Never leave damp gear lying around as this will allow bacteria to grow and develop nasty odors.

-Try to dry your gear out in a warm, dry well-ventilated area after each use.

Hockey Equipment Dryer Rack Metal Hockey Equipment Gear Hockey Equipment Dryer Gear Holder Sports Tree Dryer Stand Deluxe Model Gear Drying Rack for Boys Hockey Football Lacrosse 55 x 21 Inches

 This metal hockey equipment gear drying rack will keep the stink off your equipment and extend the life of your gear.

Can you use the dryer?

While you can use the dryer to dry some of your gear, it is not recommended. If possible, try to air-dry all of your equipment using either a drying rack or a sports equipment rack.

Using a dryer can cause your gear to shrink, fade, or become damaged over time.

If you do need to use the dryer, be sure to set it at a low heat setting and avoid using fabric softener sheets as these may leave behind residue that can damage your equipment.

How to dry hockey gloves?

kid hockey player with gloves on holding his hockey stick
I air out my son’s Bauer gloves after every use.

One of the most important pieces of hockey gear is your gloves, as they are essential for protecting your hands and wrists while playing. To dry them properly, start by removing any removable liners or inserts from the gloves.

Next, place the gloves in a warm, well-ventilated area to air dry and store them only once they are completely dry.

Avoid using direct sunlight or high heat settings, as these can damage the materials and lead to shrinking.

Whether you play hockey casually or competitively, it’s essential to take good care of your gear if you want to keep playing at your best.

By following a regular cleaning schedule and using the right products, you can keep your equipment clean and fresh-smelling. While also minimizing bacterial growth.

How often should you clean your hockey gear?

Preventative measures should be taken after every practice or game to keep gear in good shape. Depending on how often you use your hockey gear, you may need to clean and dry it more or less frequently.

Generally speaking, it’s recommended that you wash your gear at least once per week, though this may vary depending on the conditions in which it is stored and used.

Whatever you do, don’t neglect your hockey gear!

Hard to wash items

Although it may be obvious, you never want to put your hockey skates or helmet in the washing machine.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should neglect cleaning them altogether.


Daughters Bauer helmet
Daughter’s Bauer helmet

Use a damp cloth and mild soap, such as dishwashing liquid for cleaning your hockey helmet.

Wipe away sweat on the helmet and chin cup with a clean and dry cloth after each use.

Do not expose the hockey helmet to direct sunlight.

Hockey Skates

women wearing Bauer skates

If you want your skates to last and perform their best, follow these tips for taking care of them.

After each practice or game, wipe off any excess ice shavings on the blades.

Remove the insoles and hang them to dry, allowing them to completely dry out.

Then, using either a solution of vinegar and water or a sports gear odor-neutralizing spray, clean and thoroughly wipe out the interior of your skate.

Allow skates to air dry by hanging them in a place that is not humid, or use a skate safe boot dryer.

What do you spray on hockey equipment?

There are a variety of products and sprays that you can use to help prevent odors and keep your hockey gear clean.

Some popular options include odor-fighting sprays, specialized wash detergents, antibacterial soaps or wipes, and conditioning agents that can be used on gloves or other materials.

It is also important to take some preventative measures, like airing out your gear regularly and taking care to clean and dry it after each use.

By following these tips, you can keep your hockey gear free of smells and in good condition for years to come.

Final thoughts

Overall, if you want to keep your hockey gear clean, fresh, and in good shape, it’s important to follow these dos and don’ts when cleaning your gear. With regular cleaning and care, your hockey gear will stay in good condition for years to come!​

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