Washing and Caring for Hockey Equipment

In our hockey-loving town your equipment has likely acquired a magnificent and special odour, a stench that would put an outhouse to shame. Don’t worry, we are here to help prevent your hockey equipment from stinking and tell you how to get the smell out if it’s too late for prevention. Stinky hockey equipment is a normal problem that almost every hockey player has and we have some tips to help.

Create a base layer

Put a base layer between you and your gear. By wearing a layer underneath and airing it out your hockey equipment will stink a lot less. This is because it will help to absorb a lot of your sweat and help it evaporate therefore preventing it from soaking into your equipment.  It also acts as a barrier between your skin and the equipment to stop dead skin, oils and grease from your body from getting into your gear and becoming a breeding ground for bacteria. Overlander Sports carries great hockey base layers from Under Armour, Bauer, and Reebok.

Air out your gear

After playing a game of hockey your equipment will be damp.  It needs to be aired out, otherwise it will grow bacteria and stink.  Airing out your hockey equipment is one of the most important steps in preventing smelly gear. Be sure to hang up your base layer, jock, elbow pads and socks, pull out your shin pads with the padding side up, and take the insoles out of your skates. If you have space for a sports drying rack this is ideal but really you can hang your gear anywhere like over a chair or banister.

How to get the smell out of your hockey gear 

Seasoned hockey players know that after a while your hockey equipment will start to smell no matter what you do. By using the tips above your actual equipment will rarely ever smells. You will just wash your jock, socks and base layer regularly. If your hockey equipment already smells though there is an easy way to clean it: Put it in the washing machine!

Yes, it is that easy. A lot of people are scared to put their hockey equipment in the washing machine, but it is safe to put  it in a top loader or front loader without experiencing any issues…well there is one issue that could occur but we will let you know so you don’t make the same mistake.

Tip – If your hockey equipment  is REALLY stinky rinse it first by filling the washing machine, letting it soak, draining it, and then put it through a proper wash cycle.

What Hockey Equipment can go in the wash?

  • Socks, jerseys, base layer
  • Jock (take the cup out first and do up the Velcro up so it doesn’t stick to everything)
  • Shin pads
  • Hockey Pants
  • Elbow pads
  • Shoulder pads
  • Gloves

Stuff that CANT go in the wash

  • Helmet
  • Skates (duh!)

Warning: If you have Velcro straps attach them to their Velcro partner, otherwise you can end up with a birds nest of equipment. Also, DO NOT use bleach. It can deteriorate your padding and it will start falling out of your equipment. Some top loading machines may rip your equipment if you don’t allow enough room for the equipment to to move within the machine.

Drying your equipment after washing

Some people don’t like to put any of their equipment in the dryer, however it is fine to put your socks, jock, jerseys and base layer in there.  Do not put anything that has leather parts in the dryer as this will dry it out and cause cracking. The best and easiest way to dry out all your gear after you have put it through the wash is to simply leave it out to dry and point a fan at it. If your hockey equipment still feels fairly wet after going through the wash you can move it around a bit (to re-balance the load) and run it through the spin cycle one more time and then put it out to dry. 

Getting the smell out of hockey skates

The best thing you can do to prevent your skates from stinking is to take the insole out after each game or practice and let them dry out completely. Wearing socks, such as Thinees (thin socks for hockey) and airing them out or washing them each time will help a great deal too.

Taking out the insoles will also help prevent your rivets from rusting.

If your skates already stink you can try some of the special sports gear sprays to neutralize the odour, or just spray and wipe the insides out with a wash cloth and some vinegar and then let them dry out completely. It will take a number of treatments before you can get them to smell better, but over time the smell should improve.

Yellowknife Sani Sport

If all else fails take your gear to Darcy Milkowski of Yellowknife Sani Sport. He can clean and sanitize equipment from any sport or activity preventing the spread of harmful bacteria, and getting rid of any unwanted smells using the #1 choice in equipment cleaning by the NHL. Contact Darcy at 867-445-4517