How to Remove Odor from Sports Clothes and Gear


A sports parent’s worst nightmare is opening up their player’s equipment bag three months from now and getting enveloped in a cloud of funk that makes their hair stand on end. Smelly athletic gear is a fact of life for most youth athletes, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something you can do to stop odor in its tracks! A little proactive maintenance goes a long way in minimizing sports stuff stink.

Here are a few tips to remove odor from sports gear:

Get everything dry.

You don’t need to wash your youth athlete’s equipment after every game (let’s be honest, washing hockey and football pads isn’t a quick chore) but you should at least hang everything out to dry. Think about a wet bath towel they lay crumpled up for a few days; doesn’t smell too fresh does it? Bacteria thrive in moist environments like wet shoes or gloves, which causes odor. Weather permitting, hang your child’s gear out to dry outside in the sun after every game. If the weather is bad, squeeze them in over your laundry machine or in the garage (if the funk is too much to handle).

Invest in baking soda.

Baking soda is great at removing odors from just about anything, including sports equipment. You can sprinkle some baking soda inside your player’s cleats at the end of the day to minimize foot odor, pre-soak their uniforms in a baking soda solution ((4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water) if your regular detergent doesn’t seem to be doing the job or throw some in their equipment bag to fight the odor battle for you overnight.

Clean gear with a vinegar solution.

Getting equipment like helmets, pads and skates clean isn’t as easy as throwing a jersey in the wash on extra hot. To get rid of the odor causing bacteria lingering on your youth athlete’s equipment, fill a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and warm water and spray their gear down! You don’t have to wipe the vinegar solution, just wait for it to evaporate. If your player can’t stand the smell of vinegar on their equipment (even if it is an improvement of their regular sports gear stink), add a few drops of lavender or another oil to mellow out the smell. You can also use a vinegar solution to wipe down your own sports equipment like a yoga mat or free weights to help kill odor causing bacteria.