How To Take Care of Your Hockey Gear at Home

The key to keeping hockey gear in great shape is regular maintenance. With how expensive all the hockey gear you need these days can be, it’s essential that you work to extend each item’s lifespan as long as you can. Proper hockey gear maintenance isn’t too difficult; you can typically accomplish it in just a few minutes. Below, we’ll explain how to take care of your hockey gear at home so you can always have high-performing gear while saving money.

Cleaning Procedures

Take care of your hockey gear
Image by Rodrigo Moares via Wikimedia Commons

The most important part of maintaining your gear is cleaning it. Cleaning your hockey gear not only removes bacteria and odors but also helps to extend the lifespan. Here are the cleaning procedures you can follow for each of your equipment items:

Skates

Let’s start with your hockey skates. If you don’t take proper care of your skates, not only can they wear down faster, but you’re going to start noticing a bad odor before long. An easy way to clean your hockey skates is by first removing the insoles and hanging them up to dry. Do this after every game or practice for best results, making sure they dry completely before putting them back in.

Once you’ve taken out the insoles, you can then clean the interior of the boot. A simple mixture of water and vinegar should do the trick, or you can purchase a spray specifically designed to reduce odors on sports gear. Either way, after you wipe down the interior of your skates, give them time to dry. For faster drying, consider buying a boot dryer.

Gloves, Pads, Base Layers, Socks, etc.

One of the easiest ways to clean most of your gear is by throwing it into a washing machine. To get the best results, there are a few steps you should follow. For one, if your gear has a particularly bad odor, you’ll want to use the pre-soak feature on your washing machine. Next, use warm water and the gentle wash cycle to keep your gear safe while it’s in the machine. Lastly, grab some detergent that’s specifically for removing stains and odors from synthetic fabrics (and don’t use bleach).

Once clean, you can put most equipment into a dryer. However, it’s a good idea to check the manufacturer’s suggestions on the tag to make sure it’s safe and to find the recommended settings. Also, don’t put your hockey gloves into the dryer, as the excess heat can damage them. Instead, simply allow them to air dry.

If you don’t want to use a washing machine, you can also clean your gear by hand in a sink or tub. Start by soaking the gear in warm, soapy water for 30 minutes to an hour, then use a cloth or sponge to wipe down the gear. Then, rinse off your gear and allow it to dry out completely.

Helmet

To clean your hockey helmet, remove any protective equipment in the front, like the face cage and chin cup. Then, grab some disinfecting wipes and clean the removed parts. After that, you can use a mixture of water and shampoo, along with a soft sponge, to wash the entire helmet. Look for a no-tear shampoo just in case you leave some behind, and it accidentally drips into your eyes during play. Once you’ve washed the entire helmet, rinse it off and dry it with a towel. Then allow it to air dry by leaving it in a warm area.

Stick Maintenance

Taking care of your stick is another important maintenance project. Get into the habit of regularly checking your stick, such as after practice or games, looking for signs of damage. You can often extend the life of your stick by spotting signs of an issue early and addressing it rather than letting the problem go unattended.

Another common practice is to re-tape your stick. As you play, the tape on your stick wears down and becomes less effective. This is why you’ll see professional players applying a new set of tape before each game. Consider removing old tape at the end of each game, then using a fresh tape job before the next one. This will not only improve your grip on the stick and the traction between the stick and puck, but also give your stick some additional protection.

Proper Hockey Equipment Storage

Lastly, you need to store your hockey gear in the right place. Improper storage of your gear can lead to worn-down materials, damage, and especially foul odors. When you get back home with your gear, take it out of your hockey bag to improve air ventilation. You’ll also want to keep your hockey gear away from direct sunlight or other extreme temperatures, as both can cause damage. For example, you probably shouldn’t keep your gear in a cold basement or garage or in front of a window with a lot of sunlight.

Similarly, don’t keep your gear inside a car, as these can experience extreme temperatures and direct sunlight. Find a comfortable spot in your home to hang up your gear, giving each piece enough room to breathe. A few other things you can do include:

  • Loosening the skate laces to reduce tension
  • Place a deodorizer in your hockey bag to eliminate smells
  • Use skate guards to protect the blades of your skates during storage and for safety
  • Buy a hockey gear equipment tree to have a convenient place to hang everything separately.

Take Care of Your Hockey Gear with Proper Maintenance

Mastering the art of hockey gear care at home is the key to a prolonged lifespan and a hygienic playing experience. Players can ensure their equipment remains in top-notch condition by adopting a routine of thorough cleaning, proper storage, and timely repairs. From meticulous drying practices to investing in dedicated gear bags, every step contributes to preserving the integrity of your gear. Remember, a well-maintained kit not only enhances performance but also reflects a commitment to the sport. Embrace these practices, and your hockey gear will not only withstand the rigors of the game but thrive in your care.