A Guide to Getting the Smell Out!

 Now that the season has begun you may have noticed that your hockey equipment has likely started to acquire a wonderful and unique odour, a stench that might put a skunk to shame. Don’t worry, we are here to help, in this article we will teach you how to prevent (or delay) your hockey equipment from stinking, and also how to get the stink out of hockey equipment once it starts to smell. Stinky hockey equipment is a normal problem that almost every hockey player has, luckily we have found a few easy ways to deal with it.

Tip 1 – Stink Prevention: Step One Create a Layer

There are a few ways to prevent your hockey equipment from smelling in the first place.

Put a layer between you and your gear – you will notice that by wearing long underwear underneath your equipment and airing it out or washing it between games your hockey equipment will stink a lot less. This works on a few different levels. #1 it absorbs a lot of your sweat and helps it evaporate (so all your sweat doesn’t soak into your hockey equipment) and #2 it is a layer between you and your equipment, this helps stop any dead skin, skin oils, etc from getting onto your gear (bacteria likes to feed on that stuff)

Tip 2 – Stink Prevention: Step Two Air that Stuff out!

It is highly recommended that you wear something between you and your hockey equipment as it makes step two a lot easier. Now that you have played a good game of hockey your hockey equipment will be damp. You need to air it out otherwise it will smell! Airing out your hockey equipment is one of the most important steps here. Here is what to do

  • Air out or wash your undergarments and socks
  • Hang up your shoulder pads, hockey pants, elbow pads, jock, gloves etc.
  • Fully loosen the laces on your skates and pull the tongue back as far as possible so the air can get to the inside of your skates. (if they are really wet it is recommended that you take the insoles out and dry them separately)
  • Lie your shin pads out, padding side up

What to hang your gear on?

You can buy some cheap plastic shelving units if you have a place to set it up, a sports drying rack is also an option.  Cheap and versatile wire clothes hangers will do the job nicely as well.  They won’t break under the weight like a plastic hanger may and it can also be bent to be as useful as possible.

Tip 3 – How to Get the Smell OUT of your Hockey Equipment

By implementing the steps above your equipment may rarely if ever smell. Yet after a while it may seem that your hockey equipment smells no matter what you do. If this happens there is a very easy way to clean it.  Put it in the wash machine!

Yes, it is that easy. A lot of people are nervous about putting their hockey equipment in the washing machine, but top loader, or front loader you shouldn’t experience problems (see washing machine warnings).

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

What Hockey Equipment CAN go in the wash?

  • Socks, jerseys, undergarments
  • Jock (take the cup out first and do 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

Washing machine warnings –

  • If you have Velcro straps, attach them to their Velcro partner, otherwise you can end up with a bird’s nest of equipment.
  • Do not use bleach. Bleach will deteriorate the padding in your equipment.
  • Top loading machines (only) may rip or tear your equipment if you don’t allow enough room for the hockey equipment to move around, so do not overfill the machine. If you have concerns, check the machine periodically throughout the wash cycle and redistribute the equipment in the wash tub as necessary.

Tip 4 – Putting hockey equipment in the dryer – Drying out Hockey Equipment

It is perfectly fine to put your socks, jock, jerseys and under garments in the dryer. It is not recommended for the remainder of your equipment.

How to dry your hockey equipment?

The 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. Furnace rooms are also a perfect, out of the way and warm area to hang your equipment to air dry.

Tip 5 – Getting the smell out of Hockey Gloves

Put them in the washing machine!  (don’t put them in the dryer though, it dries out the palms)

Tip 6 – Getting the smell out of Hockey Skates

Hockey skates are tough to wash because of their design.

Prevention – The best thing you can do (a tip from a power skating instructor who spends almost all day in his skates) is take the insoles out after each game or practice and let them dry out completely. Taking the insole out helps get all the moisture out of your skates and stops your skate rivets from rusting.

Smell the inside of your shoes or boots, do you want to transfer that smell into your hockey skates?  Now look at the socks you are wearing, they have been in your shoes and have already absorbed some of that odour.   Always, always wear fresh socks in your skates, this keeps the built up of odours already in your shoes and boots from getting into your skates.

Dealing with Contaminated skates – 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 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 will get a bit better.