Eww, what’s that smell? Oh, it’s my kid.
Keeping your kids sports equipment clean
Have you ever wondered if it's you that smells or the person next to you? If you're standing next to your athlete after a hard fought game, there's a good chance it's them.
Watching our youth athletes play sports allows us to relive our glory days. When the clock hits zero and the kids come home, we are granted the opportunity to recall the smell of our glory days, as well as when they drop their equipment at our feet for another cleaning.
Cleaning athletic equipment however, is not only a good idea to remove odors, but also a great defense against infections and molds. Many sports require protective padding that can host these infections, given their tight quarters and constantly warm and moist state. We also know many kids might not particularly give too much thought to what may be growing in their shoulder pads or practice pants. Therefore, it is the parent’s duty to keep equipment clean and clear of bacteria.
cleaning jerseys and uniforms
For the parents whose athletes do not wear protective pads, helmets or other gear your quest for knowledge ends here: jerseys and uniforms can be machine washed with detergent with cold water and dried on low heat.
cleaning protective gear
For those who have athletes who do wear protective gear, prepare to get crafty.
Step 1: Go shopping. To cleanse protective padding (shoulder pads, leg and arm pads, helmet linings, etc.) you need two empty, never before used spray bottles, water and one cup of detergent with a pH level below ten.
Step 2: Mix your ingredients. Pour both the water and detergent into the bottle and in the other, water.
Step 3: Separate. Before spraying the pads aimlessly, be sure to separate any pads that are removable so they can be washed individually.
Step 4: Spray, soak, wipe: Once all the pieces are separated, spray the surface of the pads and allow the solution to soak in for a few minutes. You will wipe away the solution from the surface with a clean cloth until all noticeable soap is off the pads. Apply water to the pads and with a new cloth, wipe away from the surface and allow to air dry. Also, be sure all soap is removed from the pads as it can mold as well.
cleaning prescribed protective gear
In addition to required pads, athletes also wear protective gear prescribed by their doctors or athletic trainers such as knee or ankle braces. These devices are constructed with plastic, metal, felt and cloth and can be cleaned similarly as above. Remove any metal pieces so they do not rust. The cloth portions of the braces can be either sprayed with the solution made for the protective pads, or soaked in the solution, rinsed thoroughly and allowed to air dry. Plastic pieces can be clean just as pads and metal pieces too and dried before inserting back into brace.
what if the smell won’t go away or there is mold?
If the pads continue to have faint odors or there is noticeable molding, discard the pads, replace with new ones, and keep up the cleaning regimen to prevent future molding. Protective pads are dense and can avoid invasion for some time but equally can host infection that can be harmful to your athlete.
These healthy measures will keep your athlete and their teammates less prone to infection, save you a trip to the dermatologist and instill good hygiene in our youth athletes!