How to Wash Hockey Gear

How to Wash Hockey Gear

The Importance of Clean Hockey Gear

How to Wash Hockey Gear

Keeping hockey gear clean is essential for both performance and health. Hockey players are constantly sweating, and their gear can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and unpleasant odors. Understanding how to wash hockey gear properly can help mitigate these issues, ensuring that the gear remains hygienic and in good condition.

Common problems associated with dirty hockey gear include persistent foul odors, skin infections, and equipment degradation. Bacteria and mold thrive in moist environments, making hockey gear a prime target for these unwelcome guests. Not only can this lead to health issues such as rashes and infections, but it can also shorten the lifespan of the equipment.

To maintain clean and hygienic gear, Matguard products offer a convenient and effective solution. Matguard disinfectant sprays and wipes are specifically designed to eliminate bacteria and odors, providing a quick and easy way to keep hockey gear fresh and safe to use.

Why Washing Hockey Gear is Important

Hockey player using Matguard spray to wash hockey gear

Health Benefits

Properly washing hockey gear is crucial for preventing skin infections, rashes, and other health issues. Bacteria and mold that accumulate on dirty gear can lead to serious skin conditions, making it uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for players. Regular cleaning helps to minimize these risks, ensuring that players remain healthy and able to perform at their best.

Longevity of Gear

Hockey equipment is a significant investment, and proper maintenance can extend its lifespan. Sweat and bacteria can break down the materials in the gear over time, leading to premature wear and tear. By regularly cleaning and disinfecting the gear, players can protect their investment and avoid the cost of frequent replacements.

Improved Performance

Clean gear is more comfortable to wear, allowing players to move freely and perform optimally. Dirty gear can become stiff and uncomfortable, restricting movement and impacting performance. By keeping gear clean, players can maintain comfort and focus on their game.

Types of Hockey Gear and Their Washing Needs


Helmets protect the head and face, making them one of the most critical pieces of equipment. Cleaning the helmet involves wiping down the exterior and disinfecting the interior padding to remove sweat and bacteria.


Hockey pads, including shoulder pads, elbow pads, and shin guards, are in direct contact with the body and absorb a lot of sweat. These should be regularly disinfected and, when possible, washed according to the manufacturer's instructions.


Gloves are prone to harboring bacteria due to the constant contact with sweat and moisture. Cleaning the inside of the gloves with disinfectant spray and airing them out can help prevent odor and bacteria buildup.


Skates require special attention due to the risk of rusting. The liners and insoles should be removed and cleaned separately, while the exterior can be wiped down with disinfectant.

Jerseys and Undergarments

These items can typically be machine washed, but care should be taken to follow the appropriate washing instructions to avoid damage.

Using Matguard Products to Wash Hockey Gear

Matguard Disinfectant Spray

Matguard disinfectant spray is an excellent solution for keeping hockey gear clean and free from harmful bacteria.

How to Use Matguard Sprays on Helmets, Pads, and Gloves

  1. Helmets: Spray the inside padding and straps with Matguard disinfectant spray, ensuring all areas are covered. Allow the helmet to air dry completely.
  2. Pads: Spray the exterior and interior of shoulder pads, elbow pads, and shin guards. Pay special attention to areas that come into direct contact with the skin. Let the pads dry thoroughly before the next use.
  3. Gloves: Apply the disinfectant spray inside the gloves, focusing on the finger areas and palm. Leave the gloves open to air dry.

Benefits of Using Antibacterial Sprays

  • Eliminates Bacteria and Odors: Matguard disinfectant spray effectively kills bacteria that cause odors and infections.
  • Easy to Use: The spray application makes it simple to cover all areas of the gear quickly.
  • Safe for Equipment: Formulated to be safe on all types of hockey gear, ensuring no damage while providing thorough cleaning.

Matguard Disinfectant Wipes

Matguard disinfectant wipes are perfect for quick cleaning and maintaining hygiene on the go.

Ideal for Quick Cleaning of Smaller Items and Surfaces

  • Helmets: Use wipes to clean the exterior and interior padding of the helmet, ensuring a thorough wipe down.
  • Gloves: Wipe the inside and outside of the gloves, focusing on high-contact areas.
  • Pads: Quickly clean the surface of pads, particularly after a practice or game when a deeper clean is not immediately possible.

Convenience of Wipes for On-the-Go Cleaning

  • Portability: Matguard wipes are easy to carry in your gear bag, allowing for quick clean-ups anytime, anywhere.
  • Effectiveness: The disinfectant formula in the wipes ensures that bacteria and odors are eliminated even during quick cleaning sessions.

MatPRO® by Matguard E-Z POUR

For deeper cleaning, especially of larger areas like locker rooms, MatPRO® by Matguard E-Z POUR is an excellent choice.

Using Disinfectant for Deeper Cleaning of Locker Rooms and Gear

  • Locker Rooms: Pour the disinfectant solution into a spray bottle or use as directed to disinfect surfaces, benches, and floors in the locker room.
  • Gear: Use MatPRO® for a thorough soak or deep clean of heavily used gear items. Follow the instructions for dilution and application to ensure optimal results.

By incorporating these cleaning practices and using Matguard products, hockey players can maintain their gear in top condition, ensuring health, performance, and longevity. Regular cleaning not only keeps the gear looking and smelling fresh but also enhances the overall playing experience.

Washing Hockey Gear in the Washer

Hockey gear in washing machine being cleaned

What Can Be Machine Washed

When considering how to wash hockey gear, it's important to know which items can safely go into the washing machine. Here is a list of hockey gear items that are typically machine washable:

  • Jerseys: These can be washed in a regular laundry cycle.
  • Socks: Both practice and game socks can be machine washed.
  • Undergarments: Base layers, compression shorts, and shirts.
  • Some Pads: Certain brands and types of elbow pads and shin guards are machine washable. Always check the manufacturer's label for washing instructions.

Precautions to Take

Before putting hockey gear into the washing machine, follow these precautions to protect both the gear and your washing machine:

  • Remove Detachable Parts: Take off any detachable pieces, such as inserts or removable padding, to prevent damage.
  • Use Laundry Bags: Place smaller items like socks, undergarments, and elbow pads into mesh laundry bags. This keeps them from tangling or getting lost.
  • Close Velcro Straps: Secure all Velcro closures to avoid them sticking to other items and causing damage.

Washing Instructions

Proper washing instructions are crucial for maintaining the integrity of your hockey gear while effectively cleaning it.

Recommended Washing Cycle and Temperature

  • Cycle: Use a gentle or delicate cycle to minimize wear and tear on the gear.
  • Temperature: Wash in cold water to prevent shrinkage and color fading. Hot water can damage the materials and reduce the lifespan of your gear.

Using Gentle Detergents and Avoiding Fabric Softeners

  • Detergents: Choose a mild, fragrance-free detergent. Harsh chemicals can degrade the materials and cause skin irritation.
  • Fabric Softeners: Avoid using fabric softeners as they can leave residues that trap bacteria and odors.

Drying Tips

Drying your hockey gear properly is just as important as washing it. Incorrect drying can lead to mold, mildew, and unpleasant odors.

Air Drying vs. Machine Drying

  • Air Drying: The safest method for drying hockey gear. Lay the items flat on a clean, dry surface or hang them in a well-ventilated area. This method helps maintain the shape and integrity of the gear.
  • Machine Drying: If machine drying is necessary, use the lowest heat setting and remove items promptly to prevent overheating and damage.

Importance of Thorough Drying to Prevent Mold and Mildew

Ensure that all items are completely dry before storing sports equipment. Any remaining moisture can lead to mold and mildew growth, which not only smells bad but can also cause health issues. Check each item thoroughly, especially thicker pads and gloves, to ensure they are fully dried.

Hand Washing Hockey Gear and Deep Cleaning

Hand Washing Steps

For items that cannot be machine washed, hand washing is the best method. Follow these steps for effective hand washing:

Best Practices for Hand Washing Non-Machine Washable Items

  • Preparation: Fill a large sink or bathtub with lukewarm water.
  • Detergent: Add a mild detergent to the water and mix well.
  • Washing: Submerge the gear and gently agitate it to loosen dirt and sweat. Pay special attention to heavily soiled areas.
  • Rinsing: Rinse thoroughly with clean, lukewarm water until all soap residue is gone.

Deep Cleaning Methods

For a more thorough clean, especially for larger items, deep cleaning in a bathtub or large sink is recommended.

Using a Bathtub or Large Sink for Larger Items

  • Soaking: Fill the bathtub or sink with lukewarm water and add a mild detergent.
  • Submersion: Fully submerge the gear and let it soak for at least 30 minutes.
  • Agitation: Gently agitate the gear occasionally to help dislodge dirt and grime.
  • Rinsing: Rinse each item thoroughly with clean water to remove all detergent.

Specialized Cleaning Tips


Cleaning helmets requires special care to ensure safety and hygiene.

Removing and Washing Liners

  • Liners: If your helmet has removable liners, take them out and wash them separately according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Shell and Straps: Use a mild detergent and water to wipe down the shell and straps. Rinse well and let them air dry completely.

Disinfecting and Deodorizing the Shell and Straps

  • Matguard Products: Spray the inside of the helmet, including the shell and straps, with Matguard disinfectant spray. This helps eliminate bacteria and odors. Allow the helmet to air dry thoroughly.


Hockey gear stored in a ventilated area after washing

Gloves are notorious for harboring bacteria and odors due to their constant contact with sweat.

Addressing Odor and Bacteria Build-Up

  • Matguard Sprays and Wipes: Use Matguard disinfectant spray inside the gloves after each use to kill bacteria and neutralize odors. For a quick clean, Matguard wipes are also effective.
  • Drying: Ensure gloves are fully dried after cleaning. Open the gloves and place them in a well-ventilated area to air dry. Avoid placing them directly in the sun or using high heat, as this can damage the material.


Skates require special attention to prevent odor and rust.

Cleaning Liners and Insoles

  • Liners and Insoles: Remove the liners and insoles from the skates. Wash them separately with mild detergent and water, then allow them to air dry completely.
  • Interior: Wipe down the inside of the skate boots with a damp cloth and mild detergent. Rinse and air dry.

Preventing Rust on Blades

  • Blade Care: After each use, wipe the blades dry with a clean, dry cloth to remove moisture and prevent rust. Consider using blade guards to protect them during storage.

By following these detailed steps on how to wash hockey gear, you can ensure that your equipment remains clean, hygienic, and in good condition for longer. Utilizing Matguard products enhances the cleaning process, providing effective disinfection and odor control.

Additional Tips for Maintaining Clean Hockey Gear

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to keeping hockey gear clean and extending its lifespan. Establishing a consistent cleaning routine will ensure that your gear remains hygienic and ready for use.

Establishing a Cleaning Routine

  • Post-Game/Practice Cleaning: After each game or practice, take a few minutes to wipe down your gear with Matguard disinfectant wipes. This will help remove sweat and bacteria before they have a chance to settle in.
  • Weekly Deep Clean: Set aside time once a week for a more thorough cleaning. This includes washing machine-washable items and using Matguard disinfectant spray on items that cannot be machine washed.
  • Monthly Inspection: Regularly inspect your gear for any signs of wear and tear. Replace or repair items as needed to maintain optimal performance and safety.

Using Matguard Products After Every Use

Incorporating Matguard products into your cleaning routine can significantly enhance the cleanliness and hygiene of your hockey gear.

  • Matguard Disinfectant Spray: Use the spray on helmets, pads, and gloves after every use to kill bacteria and neutralize odors.
  • Matguard Wipes: Perfect for quick clean-ups on smaller items and surfaces, keeping your gear fresh between deep cleans.

Storage Tips

Cleaning hockey gloves with Matguard wipes to wash hockey gear

Proper storage of hockey gear is crucial to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.

Storing Gear in a Well-Ventilated Area

  • Dry Environment: Ensure that your gear is stored in a dry, well-ventilated area. Avoid damp basements or garages where moisture can accumulate.
  • Air Circulation: Hang or lay out your gear in a way that allows air to circulate around each item. This helps speed up drying and prevents mildew.

Using Gear Bags with Ventilation Features

  • Ventilated Gear Bags: Invest in gear bags that have built-in ventilation features. These bags allow air to flow through, reducing moisture buildup and keeping your gear fresher for longer.
  • Drying Racks: Consider using drying racks designed for sports gear. These racks maximize airflow and help gear dry more quickly and thoroughly.

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Washing Hockey Gear

Avoiding common mistakes when cleaning hockey gear can help maintain its integrity and hygiene.

Overlooking Certain Items

It’s easy to forget about smaller accessories, but they need regular cleaning too.

Importance of Cleaning Mouthguards, Water Bottles, and Other Accessories

  • Mouthguards: Clean mouthguards after every use by soaking them in an antiseptic solution or using a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Water Bottles: Wash water bottles thoroughly with soap and water after each use to prevent bacteria buildup.
  • Other Accessories: Items like knee pads, wrist guards, and tape should also be regularly cleaned and inspected for wear.

Using Harsh Chemicals

Harsh chemicals can damage your hockey gear and irritate your skin.

Potential Damage from Bleach and Strong Detergents

  • Avoid Bleach: Bleach can break down the fibers in your gear and cause discoloration. Stick to mild detergents specifically designed for sports equipment.
  • Strong Detergents: These can leave residues that trap bacteria and odors. Opt for gentle, fragrance-free detergents to keep your gear clean and safe.

Improper Drying After Washing Hockey Gear 

Improper drying can lead to mildew and bad odors, reducing the lifespan of your gear.

Risks of Mildew and Bad Odor from Improperly Dried Gear

  • Air Dry Thoroughly: Ensure all items are completely dry before storing them. Any remaining moisture can lead to mildew, which not only smells bad but can also cause health issues.
  • Dry in Well-Ventilated Areas: Avoid drying gear in dark, damp places. Instead, use well-ventilated areas with good airflow to speed up the drying process.

Maintaining clean hockey gear is essential for both health and performance. By following these steps on how to wash hockey gear, you can prevent bacteria buildup, eliminate odors, and extend the lifespan of your equipment. Regular use of Matguard products, combined with proper washing and drying techniques, will ensure your gear stays hygienic and effective, allowing you to focus on playing your best game.