How to Get The Smell Out of Football Shoulder Pads

How to Get The Smell Out of Football Shoulder Pads

Football is a sport celebrated for its intensity and physicality. However, this physical exertion often leaves athletes with a less desirable souvenir: smelly football shoulder pads. Addressing the stubborn odors that cling to these pads is crucial for both hygiene and comfort. Ignoring the issue can lead to more than just unpleasant smells; it can also foster bacteria and mold growth, posing health risks to players. In this post, we'll explore effective methods on how to get the smell out of football shoulder pads, ensuring your gear remains fresh and clean.

Why Do Football Shoulder Pads Smell?

Close-up of smelly football shoulder pads highlighting the need to learn how to get the smell out.


The primary culprits behind the offensive odors emanating from football shoulder pads are sweat, bacteria, and mold. During games and practices, players sweat profusely, and this moisture gets absorbed into the padding. When the pads aren't properly dried or cleaned, bacteria and mold begin to grow, thriving in the damp and dark environment. Furthermore, rigorous activities and improper storage exacerbate the problem. Storing pads in lockers or bags without adequate ventilation allows the odors to permeate and settle into the material, making the smell even more challenging to remove.

Pre-Treatment Steps to Get Smell out of Football Shoulder Pads

Cleaning the Pads

Before tackling the smell directly, it's essential to remove any dirt and debris from the pads. This step is crucial as it eliminates any substances that might be contributing to the overall odor problem. Use a soft brush or cloth to gently clean the pads, focusing on areas that come into direct contact with the skin. Removing surface dirt ensures that odor-eliminating solutions penetrate more effectively.

Drying Techniques

Moisture is the enemy when it comes to preventing and eliminating odors. Therefore, thoroughly drying your football shoulder pads is a pivotal pre-treatment step. After every use, make sure to air-dry the pads in a well-ventilated area or under direct sunlight, if possible. Sunlight not only helps dry the pads faster but also acts as a natural disinfectant, killing bacteria that might be lurking within the material. Remember, preventing bacteria and mold growth at the outset is easier than trying to eliminate it once it's taken hold.

By understanding the root causes of the smell and following these pre-treatment steps, you're setting the stage for a more effective cleaning process. The goal is not just to mask the odors but to eliminate them, ensuring your football shoulder pads are both clean and hygienic.

Methods to Remove Odor

Successfully learning how to get the smell out of football shoulder pads involves a combination of natural, commercial, and advanced techniques. These methods are designed not just to mask odors but to eliminate them at their source, ensuring that your gear remains fresh, clean, and ready for the next game.

Natural Solutions

  • Baking Soda and Vinegar: These pantry staples are powerful allies in the battle against odors. Baking soda is known for its ability to neutralize smells, while vinegar is a natural disinfectant that can kill odor-causing bacteria. To use, create a paste with baking soda and water, apply it to the pads, let it sit for a few hours, then rinse off. Alternatively, mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle, spritz the pads thoroughly, and allow them to air dry.
  • Sunlight Exposure: The sun's UV rays have natural disinfecting properties that can help eliminate bacteria and mold, the primary culprits behind bad odors. After cleaning your shoulder pads, allow them to dry in direct sunlight. Besides aiding in drying, the sunlight will work to naturally sanitize the pads, reducing the risk of odor buildup.

Commercial Solutions

Demonstrating the cleaning of football shoulder pads to remove odors effectively.

Specialized Sports Gear Cleaners like Matguard USA: Products designed specifically for sports equipment, such as Matguard USA's range of cleaners, are formulated to tackle the tough odors and bacteria found in football shoulder pads. These cleaners penetrate the pads' material, eliminating bacteria and leaving behind a fresh scent without damaging the gear.

  • Odor-Eliminating Sprays like Matguard USA: Matguard USA and similar brands offer sprays that target the bacteria causing the smell directly. These disinfectant sprays are convenient for quick touch-ups, especially between deep cleanings, ensuring continuous protection against odor.
  • Matguard's Disinfectant Spray and Disinfectant Wipes: For a comprehensive approach to odor removal and disinfection, Matguard's disinfectant spray and disinfectant wipes offer a convenient and effective solution. They're designed to kill bacteria and viruses on contact, providing a dual-action benefit of disinfection and odor elimination.

Advanced Techniques

  • Ozone Treatment: Some professional services offer ozone treatment for sports gear. Ozone, a powerful oxidizing agent, can effectively kill bacteria, viruses, and mold, thoroughly disinfecting equipment. This method is particularly beneficial for deep-set odors that are difficult to remove with traditional cleaning methods.
  • Enzymatic Cleaners: Enzymatic cleaners contain specific enzymes that break down the proteins in sweat, which are often the source of odors. By attacking these proteins, enzymatic cleaners can eliminate the root cause of the smell, providing a long-lasting solution to keeping your football shoulder pads fresh.

    Combining these methods can offer a comprehensive approach to tackle any level of odor in football shoulder pads. Whether you prefer natural solutions, commercial products, or professional services, the key is regular maintenance and prompt cleaning to prevent the buildup of odors and ensure the longevity and hygiene of your football gear.

Maintenance Tips to Prevent Odor

Maintaining your football shoulder pads is key to keeping them fresh and free of odors. Here are essential tips on how to get the smell out of football shoulder pads through proper care and maintenance:

Proper Storage

Football shoulder pads being sun-dried and stored properly to prevent odors.

Storing your shoulder pads properly is crucial in preventing odor buildup. After each use and cleaning, ensure the pads are completely dry before storage. Store them in a well-ventilated area where air can circulate freely around and through the pads. This could mean hanging them up instead of throwing them in a bag or locker. Ventilation is your ally in the fight against mold and bacteria, which are primary contributors to odors.

Regular Cleaning Schedule

Adopting a regular cleaning schedule is vital to preventing the development of unpleasant smells. After every use, wipe down the shoulder pads with a damp cloth to remove dirt and sweat. Incorporate a more thorough cleaning routine weekly or bi-weekly, depending on usage frequency. Consistency in cleaning not only helps in odor prevention but also extends the life of your football shoulder pads.

Using Antimicrobial Sprays

After cleaning and drying, treat your shoulder pads with antimicrobial sprays designed for sports equipment. These sprays help in killing any residual bacteria and preventing future bacterial growth, a significant step in how to get the smell out of football shoulder pads. Make sure the spray is safe for use on your pads' materials and does not damage them over time.

Throughout this post, we've explored various effective methods and maintenance tips on how to get the smell out of football shoulder pads. From understanding the causes of odor and implementing pre-treatment steps to utilizing both natural and commercial solutions for odor removal, these strategies are designed to keep your football gear fresh and hygienic. Remember, regular maintenance and proper care are crucial not only for odor prevention but also for ensuring the best performance and comfort from your equipment. Encourage a routine that includes cleaning, drying, and storing your pads correctly to enjoy a smell-free experience on and off the field.