How To Keep Your Hockey Gear From Stinking
There is one thing that every hockey player knows for sure, but will not admit outloud to themselves nor their teammates for cause of embarrassment: your gear gets funky! Your pads get smelly enough to where they have to ride in the trunk of the car and are not allowed inside the house. Your days of embarrassment are over. Here are a few ways to keep your gear from smelling like a barnyard and also keep germs at bay that can cause infection and keep you out of competition.
Germs love dark, damp places–that’s where they do the most multiplying. By zipping your gear up in a bag all you’re doing is giving germs like staph and e. coli their favorite environment. When enough bad germs are present that’s when your gear starts getting funky and you can get sick. I know it’s easier to toss your pads and skates in a bag and let them marinate in your sweat until the next time you need them, but that is not a good habit to get into to. A simple way to remember it: bad odors equal a ton of germs. After each game or practice it is critical to let your gear air out. Since we live in Las Vegas, and the air is dry, just place them outside for an hour or two (direct sun not required). The goal is to evaporate your sweat to give the germs nothing to eat and survive on.
After evaporating your sweat from your pads, you are now ready to spray your pads down with something antimicrobial. There are number of chemical sanitizing sprays out there, but I highly recommend against them for a few reasons: 1) ounce for ounce, they cost more than natural sprays, 2) they simply don’t work–they will not penetrate fabrics before they themselves evaporate, 3) they have proven to be contributing factors in the growth of superbugs like MRSA and 4) they are hazardous to your health–their own warning labels say so!
Alternatives I strongly encourage are natural antimicrobials like vinegar, essential oils or even probiotics. To make your own spray you just need a spray bottle, water and mix in one of the following:
- vinegar – 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water – the vinegar smell goes away in a few minutes
- essential oils – 1-2 drops per ounce of water – essential oils smell great
- probiotics – 0.5 ounces to 32 ounces of water – probiotics can stay active for several days, so they are still working even when you put your gear back on.
Each alternative works great and will keep your gear from harboring germs a lot longer than chemical sanitizers will, plus they’ll cut down on the odors that spring up from your pads.
At least once per month, during the season, you should get your gear professionally deep cleaned. Look for a company that specializes in cleaning sports gear using natural methods. That way you won’t suffer in the long run from doing the healthy thing by getting your pads cleaned and deodorized from time to time. In Las Vegas, the only company I know of that cleans sports gear is Germz Be Gone. They use steam and probiotics to sanitize and deodorize your gear naturally. For the ultimate convenience, they are a mobile service and come to you. They even offer team discounts. Check out their prices. For $5 off for first-time customers use code: SAVE5.
Bad Odor = A Ton Of Germs
Whether you play hockey or any other sport where you sweat in pads the above techniques can be used to help save you embarrassment and keep you healthy and active. Please use these techniques every time you take off your pads. Remember to air out, spray down and get your gear professionally cleaned every now and then.