The smell from a boy’s locker room is something to be feared and avoided at all costs. That being said, it’s a normality of daily life for most hockey parents. If you have lugged putrid smelling gear from game to game, then this one’s for you! Like you, I have battled the smell again and again, trying new cleaning methods and spraying the febreeze to the point of asphyxiation….but I think I’ve finally stumbled upon a solution and I’m going to share that with you today, because no one should have to drive around with stinky gear 6 months out of the year.
If you were looking for a natural solution, you won’t find one here, because there’s nothing natural about the odor from those pads. You can try baking soda, or essential oils or something but if you want to get serious about ridding yourself from the stink then you are going to need some Tide and Downy Unstoppables. First things first though, lets talk about why the hockey pads stink, bacteria. Once you’ve admitted you have a problem you can get serious about fixing it. If you are not taking the pads out and drying them after every game and every practice then you are growing mildew, bacteria, and potentially fungal infections for your kids or yourself.
The method for cleaning the pads is simple, I use my washing machine and add a capful of the Downy Unstoppables and the Tide detergent, run the cycle on hot/gentle or handwash. You may need an extra rinse or soak, sometimes I do the load twice. It’s important not to over load the washer or leave it in there after its done running. Do a smell test, if it still stinks run it through again. Put Everything on a drying rack and let it air dry. In between you can minimize bacterial growth by spraying fabric safe lysol on your gear and drying it thoroughly after use.
I’ve been using this method for a year now and even my kids with their sensitive skin haven’t had issues, they wear a base layer between their pads and skin so maybe that helps. If you are unable to use scented detergent, I’d still recommend running a hot cycle and maybe adding some vinegar to the load (it is an effective way to kill bacteria naturally and deodorize). Don’t forget to give your bag a good airing out and lysol spray on occasion since all that wet, sweaty equipment goes in there!