The great stink: A guide to keeping your hockey gear fresh

Living in a hockey-loving town comes with its unique challenges, and one of the most common issues for players is dealing with the not-so-pleasant odor emanating from their gear. Fear not, fellow hockey enthusiasts! In this guide, we'll share some practical tips to prevent your hockey equipment from turning into a mobile fragrance disaster. And for those times when prevention falls short, we've got your back with tips on how to eliminate that unmistakable hockey gear stench.

Creating a base layer:

To combat the notorious smell associated with hockey gear, consider incorporating a base layer between you and your equipment. Brands like Under Armour, Bauer, and Reebok offer excellent hockey base layers that help absorb sweat, preventing it from seeping into your gear. This layer acts as a barrier, thwarting the invasion of dead skin, oils, and grease, which can turn your gear into a breeding ground for bacteria.

Airing out your gear:

Post-game, your hockey equipment is likely to be damp. Airing it out is crucial to prevent the growth of bacteria and that unpleasant odor. Hang up your base layer, jock, elbow pads, and socks. Ensure your shin pads are positioned with the padding side up, and remove the insoles from your skates. If you have the luxury of a sports drying rack, that's ideal; otherwise, any well-ventilated space will do, such as hanging your gear over a chair or banister.

Dealing with the smell:

Despite your best efforts, seasoned hockey players know that, over time, a certain aroma might develop. However, washing your jock, socks, and base layer regularly can keep the stink at bay. If your equipment has already succumbed to the smell, don't worry – a washing machine can come to the rescue. Rinse first, and then proceed with a proper wash cycle.

What hockey equipment can go in the wash:
- Socks, jerseys, base layer
- Jock (remove the cup and Velcro it up)
- Shin pads
- Hockey pants
- Elbow pads
- Shoulder pads
- Gloves

What to avoid washing:
- Helmet
- Skates (obviously!)

Tip: Ensure Velcro straps are attached to their partners to prevent a tangled mess. Avoid using bleach, as it can deteriorate padding. Be cautious with top-loading machines to prevent equipment damage.

Drying your equipment after washing:

While some prefer to air-dry everything, it's acceptable to put socks, jock, jerseys, and the base layer in the dryer. Avoid putting anything with leather parts in the dryer, as it may lead to dryness and cracking. For best results, leave your gear to air dry and point a fan at it. If still damp, run it through the spin cycle again.

Tackling the skates:

To keep your skates smelling fresh, remove the insole after each game or practice and let them dry completely. Thin hockey socks and regular cleaning will also help. For already stinky skates, use sports gear sprays or a vinegar solution to neutralize the odor. It might take a few treatments, but consistency will pay off.

By following these tips, you can say goodbye to the dreaded hockey gear stench and enjoy a fresher, more pleasant game on the ice. Your teammates will thank you!