How to Clean Hockey Gear

Ain’t that the truth? I’m speaking completely literally, of course. Since the 1850s, players, coaches, and hockey moms everywhere have been trying to conquer the over-powering stench which inevitably infects hockey equipment. 160 years later, they’re still trying. From pee-wee to the pros, the hockey equipment smell is an unfortunate byproduct that we players (and everyone around us) have to deal with. Meanwhile, until a true cure is discovered, here are some tips on how to keep your gear from torturing every nostril in its path.

Be Courteous

First of all, as players, we know we stink. Yet somehow we get used to the smell. We forget how bad it truly is. So the next time you come out of the locker room and greet your friends and family, do them a favor and keep a safe distance. After all, they took the time to come to your beloved game. They’ll watch you, but don’t force them to smell you.

Hung Out to Dry

Let’s start with a no-brainer. If you don’t want your equipment to smell (or at least smell less), hang it! After your game, take everything out of your bag. Wash what’s machine-washable and hang the rest outside (in the garage, on your deck, out your window, whatever), including your hockey bag. Just airing and drying your equipment out works wonders.

The Lazy Factor

Parents will often take it upon themselves to seek out the most aggressive approaches to ridding the world of their kids’ hockey stenches. Hockey moms are so dedicated to the battle, there are literally hundreds of opinions on the best approaches from the super serious stench warriors. For those alike, here’s a link to some serious tips and techniques:

For many of us adult players, however, finding time to play hockey is tough enough, let alone the added headache of proper equipment hygiene. So for the lazy guys who hate the smell but know they just won’t do anything about it, here are a few quick tips that have a lot of impact through little effort.

    • Air Dry - As stated above, hang everything. It’s always a good idea.
    • Skate Dry - Your skates are stench and bacteria traps! In the summer, lay them in a hot, dry place. In the winter, some guys have been known to dry their skates by removing one of the register vents inside the house and putting their skates in the duct. Don’t laugh. It does the trick.
    • Snuggle - It’s not what you think. Buy a box of dryer sheets (doesn’t have to be the Snuggle brand). They’re a quick-n-cheap fix too. Stuff them in your skates, gloves, and pads. While you’re at it, sprinkle a bunch throughout your bag. Be liberal!
    • KO Odor Eliminator - There are many, many products that claim to kill the worst of odors. But KO Odor Eliminator tends to be the most effective. At $30, it’s a cheap and easy solution. Get it here:

Don’t Let This Happen To You

I was married for 5 years, and during that time, I never cleaned my hockey gear. Now I’m divorced. Coincidence? Perhaps. While I don’t think the smell of my hockey bag was the reason for my failed marriage, I’m sure it didn’t help.

Simply put, there’s really no reason to be so incredibly stinky, guys. Do yourself and everyone else a favor and give your gear the attention it needs. As you can see, your options include everything from quick and simple solutions to aggressive remedies.

For the love of all that is good and pure, PICK ONE!

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