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OXYMORON: Clean Odour-Free Hockey Equipment! (Posted On: Saturday, May 19, 2007)

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The shoulder season is upon us…for hockey that is. The tournaments are finally over and it is a while until summer leagues begin. Perhaps the hockey gear in your house can sit and air all summer just waiting to resume smelling in the fall?

We all know that without proper airing out and periodic cleaning, equipment can not only stink but it can also be home to strange and wonderful bacteria which can lead to nasty infections lurking in the hockey bag.

So, while just taking the gear out of the bag and letting it air does completely dry it out and does get rid of most (er…some) of the odour. Perhaps this spring you may want to consider taking a little more time to actually clean the gear. This will eliminate the bacteria, ensure the equipment is in good shape, and ensure it lasts just a little longer.

Many people don't know that most of the hockey equipment can be put in a washing machine. A front-loading machine that doesn't agitate the laundry works best. If you don't have one of these, most Laundromats do. You can put the shoulder pads, pants, gloves, shin guards and elbow pads - everything except the skates and helmet into wash. Use the gentle cycle and some good deodorizing detergent. When the cycle is complete, lay the gear out to dry on towels in the basement. Better yet in the sun if it is a nice spring day. An odour destroying spray such as Fresh Wave is recommended to finish off the job.

You don't have a front load washing machine and it's inconvenient to get to a Laundromat? Do what I do? Put it on the upper tray of an empty dishwasher and run it through on a regular cycle. The water will be hotter than the washing machine and a little sterilization might not be such a bad idea. Then lay it out to completely dry.

Helmets should be washed with a very mild soap and water; shampoo actually works great. Wash it inside and out and then rinse well. Dry it with a clean towel. A no tear shampoo is recommended because when your hockey player sweats next season, and you didn't get all the soap out, they won't have stinging shampoo dripping into their eyes. This is also a good time to inspect the helmet for any cracks or hard impacts. Further, you can tighten screws, straps, etc.

We dry the skates on the register after every game. While that is still a good idea, the nurse at our doctor's office advised us to put them into the freezer for 48 hours at the end of the season to kill any bacteria. So, dry them first, then into the freezer for 48 hours (I recommend putting them in a shopping bag first) and then spray with Fresh Wave and leave a Fresh Wave sachet in them over the summer.

Before you put the gear back into the bag, wash the bag as well. Same as the helmet - wash with warm soapy water and rinse. Ideal to dry outside in the sun. If you can leave the gear out on a hockey stand or some other system - that is actually ideal. However, if you have to put the gear back into the bag, make sure everything has dried and then leave the zipper open. Simply drape a towel over the top to keep the dust out of the bag over the summer but this still lets it breathe and have some air movement.

Fresh Wave is available at

Thornbury Trading Company is a web-based store operating out of the town of Thornbury on the southern shore of Georgian Bay. We source products that will be helpful for people with active lives to use themselves or to give as gifts; products that make ACTIVE LIVING EASIER! All items serve a purpose - beautiful in design and useful in purpose, truly cool products. No chukkas here - nothing to sit around and collect dust. If it's not truly useful you won't find it on our site.


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