How to Remove Odor from Sports Gear

After an intense workout or sports practice, the last thing you want to do is deal with laundry. Unfortunately, leaving your rotten gym clothes in a pile on the bathroom floor for a week will inevitably make the situation worse. Take preventative measures to control bacteria and that dreaded sports gear smell by diligently washing, air drying, and even replacing your gear on a regular basis. And when standard detergent no longer cuts it, learn how to remove odor from sports gear the right way.

What Causes the Smell?

Sweat, dead skin, and the oils your body produces naturally all contribute to the rank odor that afflicts gym clothes and athletic uniforms. Spandex and Lycra, which make athletic clothing more comfortable because they stretch and repel sweat, also repel water, which means that the fibers don’t get thoroughly rinsed in the wash.

Beyond the stink, your sports gear and gym clothes are at risk of harboring fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm, and yeast infections. Smelly gear is your first warning sign.

How to Remove Odor from Sports Gear

Do you know how to remove odor from sports gear? Here are seven things you can do to help eliminate the stink in your athletic clothing and equipment:

Air Out Your Equipment

You get home from the gym, yoga class, or sports practice, jump in the shower, and then let your damp clothing and gear stew in your gym bag or hamper. We’re all guilty of it, but it’s bad practice. You should be airing out your gear as soon (and as frequently) as possible.

Instead of leaving your gear to fester, open your gym bag and put all your sweaty clothes in the washing machine as soon as you get home. Hang non-clothing items, such as gloves or helmets, on a drying rack and then jump in the shower. This simple step does wonders for preventing smells.

Turn Clothes Inside Out Before Washing

Since the sweat, oils, and bacteria from your body accumulate on the inside of the clothes, turn them inside out before washing them. That way, detergent will target and scrub the smelly areas more efficiently.

Use the Sniff Test

Smell your clothes before switching them over to the dryer. If they smell, wash them again before drying them. Unfortunately, the high-heat setting on your dryer can actually cook in any lingering smells. Prevent this by giving sports gear a second wash, and by using a lower heat setting.

Less Detergent Is More Detergent

It may seem counterintuitive, but resist the urge to use extra detergent. Your washer is set to handle a standard level of detergent, so any more than that can form a residue that won’t get rinsed out. Instead, it builds up in your clothing, creating an ideal environment for fungus and mildew. Additionally, overstuffing your machine makes it harder for your clothes to rinse clean.

Don’t Use Fabric Softener

Instead of helping to remove the odor, fabric softener is actually locking in the stink by leaving a coating on the fabric fibers that prevents them from getting completely clean. Plus, fabric softener can damage the fibers in stretchy athletic clothing. Although you’re free to add it to your other laundry, don’t use it on your sports gear.

Disinfect What You Can’t Throw in the Wash

Helmets, skates, and other bulky sports gear simply cannot go in the wash. Always hang these items where they can aerate, clean them regularly, and disinfect their surfaces immediately after use. The best and easiest way to do this is by using a fogging disinfectant, like our hospital-grade SafeSpace Disinfecting and Deodorizing Germ Fogger. It kills germs and makes your home a safer and better-smelling place with a press of a button.

Deodorizing Tips from the Pros

Nobody knows how to remove odor from sports gear better than the pros. We talked to Pro Stock Hockey to find out how National Hockey League (NHL) players battle the dreaded “hockey smell.” They provided some excellent expert tips on how to properly aerate, wash, and sanitize your gear like the pros. Plus, they compiled their recommendations into a handy infographic (see below).

Regarding the credibility of this information, Adam Rosenbaum, Content Marketing Specialist for Pro Stock Hockey, had this to say: “If NHL staff use these simple methods for the pros, then they should easily work for those at home!”

(Click the arrows in the bottom right corner to expand to full screen.)

Cleaning Tips from Pro Stock Hockey, an online resource for authentic pro stock hockey equipment.

SafeSpace Products

Still wondering how to remove odor from sports gear? Contact the experts at SafeSpace. The SafeSpace Company is a family-owned small business proudly selling American-made germ foggers, auto germ and odor eliminators, and alcohol-free hand sanitizers to help you reduce the number of germs (and their smells) in your home and on your sports equipment. For more information about our products, contact us online or call us toll free at 1-800-735-2506. We would love to hear from you!