How To Clean Hockey Gear

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How do I clean hockey gear? What’s the best way to clean my goalie equipment? There’s nothing worse than the musty, rotten smell of dirty hockey gear. On top of that, it won’t just smell up your car, it’s actually unhealthy. Dirty hockey equipment is a breeding ground for bacterias that are harmful to the skin, and if left untouched long enough it can actually smell on your body up to hours after you’ve taken a shower.

Ever take your hockey gloves off and they leave an unpleasant, if not rancid, smell on your hands? That’s the smell we’re talking about. Cleaning your hockey gloves is important, as is cleaning every piece of your gear for both goalies and those who skate out. Yes, even coaches!

We’ve been asked these questions literally thousands of times here at Goalie Coaches. The short answer is, get ready to get a bit smelly. Whether you’re cleaning your goalie equipment just trying to figure out how to clean hockey gear, finding the motivation to actually go through with it is a challenge. There’s a reason hockey parents don’t do it often.

There are multiple different ways to clean your equipment. We’re going to start with the most basic method, and get into different gear cleaning disinfectants, what type of laundry detergent works best for cleaning hockey gear, and much more in this article.

And nope, it’s not because we’re extremely lazy.

Here’s how to clean hockey gear 101 (the quick version)

  • Fill tub with hot water
  • Add OxiClean (stain and odor remover) to tub
  • Mix water and OxiClean
  • Put all gear you’d like washed in tub
  • Soak for 10-15 minutes
  • Remove gear from tub, drain water
  • Repeat

Easier said than done, yeah? We’ll go over what this looks like in detail below.

Here’s how to clean hockey gear

Cleaning your hockey gear or your goalie pads is not actually that challenging. It’s just really, really smelly. And there’s not really a best time to clean goalie gear either. It’s just like, oh you know, whenever you get around to it.

Generally speaking though, we recommend cleaning your goalie gear at the end of the season. The easiest way to clean your gear is by filling your bathtub with hot water and soaking everything in OxiClean.

Believe it or not, OxiClean is the single most effective way to clean goalie gear outside of a commercial cleaning station.

There are 7 steps to cleaning your equipment.

Fill tub with hot water

This should be pretty self explanatory. Fill your tub with hot water. You’re going to want to make sure it’s pretty full in order to submerge all of your equipment.

Do not put clean your goalie pads and or your goalie gloves in the tub. 

Add OxiClean to tub

Generally speaking, I like to do about 3-4 tablespoons of OxiClean in the hot water. Some will say more, some will say less. Honestly, I like the idea of going a bit less and not having the chance of a ton of residue or smell on the gear afterwards.

And, you can always add more later because this is going to take more than just one time. Believe me.

I’ve found that the OxiClean “Odor Blasters” works the best for removing not just stains, but also the nasty smell. It’s not imperative that you get the odor blasters, though, as when I originally started cleaning my gear in this method I used the standard OxiClean.

Mix water and OxiClean

Mix everything up.

Put all gear you’d like washed in tub


No goalie pads and goalie gloves in the water.

Even though they’re made to get soaking wet, there are other ways to clean them. Do not, I beg you, do not clean your goalie pads / gloves by submerging them in the tub.

Soak for 10-15 minutes

Make sure the gear is completely under the water (you may have to add some heavy weights on top) and soak for 10 minutes or so.

Remove gear from tub, drain water 

Remove the gear and drain the tub water. I would probably keep the gear in the tub at this point since it’s soaking wet.


Rinse the gear off, literally, and repeat the process until the tub water is no longer brown / black.

Related: How To Break In A Goalie Glove

That’s method number one to cleaning hockey gear, or your goalie pads

Sound like a process? That’s because it is. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, cleaning your goalie equipment is a little bit of a process. It’s not easy, it’s labor intensive and it doesn’t smell the greatest. But, if Team USA Olympian Hillary Knight can do it, so can you.

Let’s take a look at some of our favorite laundry detergents for cleaning sports equipment.

As far as cleaning hockey pads are concerned, it’s not recommended that you wash them (unless, however, you’re getting them professionally cleaned at your local sports shop.. in which case you wouldn’t be reading this article). But that aside, there are plenty of ways to clean the items you wear underneath your gear. Well, now that I think about it, I would consider washing my hockey bag. But that’s about it.

Also, fun fact about sports gear detergents, a friend of mine once went on Shark Tank for the athletic apparel detergent he created. His episode never aired, unfortunately. Anyhow, let’s jump into the different detergents that we’ve tested.

SweatX Detergent

Obviously, having a great brand is going to help your product sell more.

But SweatX actually performs as advertised.

I first heard about SweatX through a friend of mine who is a referee in the North American Hockey League (it’s a Junior Hockey League in North America). As far as sweating is concerned, Chett (my friend) knows a thing or two about that. He said that SweatX was the only detergent he used to clean his gear and I took his word for it.

It actually does a nice job. Not super spendy, it’s my go to option for cleaning my under gear after skates. Honestly, I probably don’t do this enough (find myself wearing a sweatshirt multiple times from time to time.. oops) and could afford to clean things more often.

That’s the thing though, washing your sports wear is hard. It’s time consuming, and not being able to throw hockey gear in the washing machine is a big pain.

Anyhow, SweatX is our best laundry detergent for washing sports wear.

Buy it on Amazon.