Can Hockey Gloves be Washed? How To Stop Smell

Posted on April 7, 2020 by Dan Kent
clean hockey gloves

Unless you’re a professional hockey player you’ll probably notice your gloves and equipment aren’t as fresh smelling as the day you bought therm. The pros have an unlimited supply of new hockey gear and access to top-notch cleaning facilities. The rest of us need to lug our equipment around from game to game and wash as much of it as we can ourselves. So what hockey gear can be washed? Can gloves be thrown into a washing machine?

Fortunately, hockey gloves and most other items of hockey equipment can be washed or cleaned to keep the odors to a minimum. It may surprise you but the easiest way to keep your gloves and some of your other articles of equipment clean is to place them in a washing machine and then hang them up to air dry.

Why wash hockey gloves?

Hockey players sweat when they practice and play and this can produce bacteria as it grows in moist, warm areas. The bacteria which seeps into their hockey gloves and other equipment can then result in unpleasant odors.

If the gear isn’t cleaned it can get worse as it may become a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Furthermore, the bacteria in the equipment could lead to health problems such as infections, diseases, and rashes. It can also ruin the equipment by breaking down the fibers in it.

Air out equipment

It’s impossible to wash your gloves and equipment after each practice or game so the best way to keep them as fresh as possible is to air them out after each on-ice session. It’s a good idea to take all your equipment out of the bag and hang it up to air out and dry. Drying racks are ideal for this.

You might find it will dry a little quicker if you place a dehumidifier in the same room as this can help wick out some of the moisture. Also, if you’re able to hang the equipment outside, the UV rays from the sun may help eliminate bacteria.

Washing gloves by machine

The simplest way to keep your hockey gloves and other equipment bacteria-free is to place the items in a washing machine on a regular cycle. You may need a couple of warm or cold-water loads to clean it all depending on how much gear you have and how big it is.

It’s a good idea to place the equipment in the water before starting the cycle as this will allow it to sink to the bottom of the machine when it’s weighed down.

You may want to use a strong detergent to remove odors and stains but it shouldn’t contain any type of bleach since this could weaken the material. White vinegar can be added to the fabric softener compartment of the washing machine or in the water as it helps to reduce odors naturally.

Vinegar will also eliminate any detergent residue that may be left on the equipment.

Washing by hand

Hockey gloves and other equipment can also be washed by hand in a sink with hot water, detergent and a cleaning booster/vinegar and some players even wash it in a bathtub. Be sure to saturate the gloves/equipment in the water so they sink to the bottom and don’t float.

After washing them it’s a good idea to let them soak for 30 to 60 minutes. You should then rinse the gloves and equipment with clean warm water to remove any left over detergent etc.

Can I use a dishwasher?

Some hockey players wash smaller pieces of hockey equipment in a dishwasher if they fit. Simply place the items in the appliance but make sure the drying cycle is turned off. You can then use the hottest wash setting possible to wash the gear.

Be sure not to use a dish washing detergent since many of them consist of harsh additives and bleaching properties which can spoil the equipment. However, be sure the type of detergent you do use is suitable for the equipment and dishwashing machine.

Drying your gloves

The best way to dry your hockey gloves and other pieces of equipment is to let them air out slowly and naturally. If you place them in a clothes dryer you could find that the leather will crack or split. Feel free to place your socks, neck-guard, jersey, jock/jill and any other types of clothing in the dryer though.

Use a dryer to quickly dry your gear. Great If you’ve got a game day coming up and your gear is still wet from practice.

Washing The Rest of You Hockey Equipment

You can basically wash just about all items of hockey equipment in your machine other than helmets, skates and goalie pads and gloves etc. You can keep your skates fresh by taking the insoles out to dry after each use. You can also place some type of moisture-absorbing material in the boots if they’re wet with sweat as well as a deodorizer.

As for your helmet, you can also air it out to dry and wipe down the inside with a bacteria-reducing cleaner and spray it with a deodorizer.

Professional Cleaners

The fastest, easiest and cheapest way to clean hockey gloves and equipment is in a washing machine but you also have the option of using a professional cleaning service. These companies can clean and sanitize all types of equipment and uniforms using well-tested professional methods.

Professional cleaners will of course charge a fee for their services but they are an excellent option if you have the time and would like to have your gloves and equipment returned clean, sanitized and odor-free.

Hockey gloves and other articles of equipment are designed to take a beating though so don’t be afraid to load them into your washing machine or wash them by hand whenever necessary.

How To Soften Hockey Gloves

If you’ve bought a new pair of mitts and you’re wondering if you need to break them in – check out my guide: How to Break in or Soften Hockey Gloves.

Dan Kent

About the author

Growing up in a hockey hotbed (Calgary, Alberta. And yes, I'm an Oiler fan), I decided to put my love and knowledge of the game to work. I started at five and am still playing today into my early 30s. By acquiring Brave Stick Hockey and rebranding it to Big Shot Hockey in 2023, I plan to teach people about this great game and educate them on the best equipment and history of the game. On a career level, I am in finance, running one of the largest financial websites in Canada,

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