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You know the smell.
It doesn’t matter if you've just started pre-season practices or packing your gear up after a long season, hockey equipment seems to always have a distinct, nasty smell.
The first line of defense would be using the best hockey deodorizing spray available. Beyond that, several pieces of your hockey gear can be put into the washing machine for easy and effective cleaning. Unzip that hockey bag, and let's get to work.
Which Hockey Pads Can Be Machine Washed?
Items consisting of mesh padding, plastic or velcro can safely be washed as long as you follow a few important guidelines. This means the following hockey equipment and pads can safely be put in the washing machine:
- Hockey pants
- Shoulder pads
- Elbow pads
- Shin guards
- Base layers
Guidelines For Washing Your Hockey Equipment In The Washing Machine
You shouldn’t want to or need to wash your hockey pads in the washing machine more than once or twice a year. When you do wash these pads in your washing machine, you’ll want to be sure you follow these guidelines:
1. Secure all buckles and straps.
One of the biggest risks with washing your hockey equipment in the washing machine is two pieces of equipment getting caught on each other, which will most likely cause something to rip or tear. Or, if you have a top-load washing machine, having a strap get caught and tangled around the center pole. To prevent this, make sure all straps are secured. Even better, you can put things with straps inside a mesh wash bag to ensure they don't come in contact with anything else.
2. Always wash on a gentle cycle.
Even though these pads are made to take a beating, there’s no need to add unnecessary and additional wear-and-tear into them. Washing on a gentle cycle will be more than fine.
3. Always use a free & clear detergent.
Detergents that contain fragrances, dyes and brighteners can not only irritate sensitive skin, but can clog the pores of performance fabrics and materials, rendering them less effective and reducing their useful life. This is why Vapor Fresh® Laundry Detergent is completely free of those additives and why we recommend using that to wash your hockey pads.
4. Wash with cold water.
Warm and hot water can also accelerate wear-and-tear in materials, and if you use a laundry detergent like Vapor Fresh® Laundry Detergent with advanced cold water enzymes, you’ll be able to get just as clean of a wash in cold water as you would in warm or hot anyway! Plus, you'll save a bit on your energy bill by skipping the heated water.
5. Always air dry. Don’t put in the dryer!
The heat of a dryer will certainly damage your hockey pads. Simply air dry them and allow them to dry completely before packing them back in your hockey bag.
6. Don’t have a big enough washing machine? Use a bathtub or bucket instead!
You don’t necessarily need a washing machine to get the job done. Simply soaking these pieces of equipment in a large bathtub or bucket and swishing them around in the water will be much better than nothing. If you want to use a tiny bit of soap or laundry detergent, great, but it’s not even necessary in this instance. If you do use soap or detergent, just be sure to rinse your pads of any detergent or soap completely before allowing them to dry.
Which Hockey Pads *Cannot* Be Machine Washed?
You’ll want to avoid putting anything in the washing machine that contains metal or leather. That means it’s vitally important to never wash your:
- Ice skates
- Roller blades
Instead, you’ll want to clean these items by hand with a sport-specific cleaning spray such as Vapor Fresh® Sports Cleaning Spray to ensure you clean as effectively as possible without leaving behind irritating chemicals not meant to be left on sports pads. This is particularly important for cleaning your hockey gloves, which are notoriously smelly.
More Frequent Cleaning Methods For Your Hockey Pads
Even though you won’t be washing your hockey pads in the washing machine after each practice and game, you should still have a quick cleaning routine every time you get off the ice to keep your pads fresh in between deeper cleans in the washer.
Luckily, we also wrote an in-depth guide to keeping your hockey pads clean after each game!
Essentially, after each practice or game, it's a good idea to clean and deodorize all your hockey equipment with a sports cleaning spray like Vapor Fresh® Natural Sports Cleaning Spray and then allow them to completely air dry before packing them back in your hockey bag. This keeps the gear fresh between frequent uses, and thanks to the use of plant-based cleaning agents, it's also non-irritating to the skin. You won't find chlorine, quats or artificial fragrances in this non-toxic spray!
Trust Vapor Fresh With All Your Hockey Cleaning Needs
Follow all of these tips and watch your hockey equipment last longer -- and put that notorious hockey odor in the penalty box!