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Is it ok to clean hockey equipment by hand at home (in detergent) or should it be brought somewhere for a cleaning?
All the players I ask have different answers. Some say that it is ok to throw the equipment in a regular washer/dryer, some say they should be taken to shops with the industrial machines, others say water, detergent, a bucket and a brush are all you need.

What is the best method?
 

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I wash it at home, but a front loading washer is a must. In a traditional upright top loading washer the agitator gets in the way and straps and things can get entangled, not so in a front loader that has no agitator, the stuff justs tumbles
 

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Depending on your gear, you run the chance of destroying the gear by washing it in a washing machine. The detergents and chemicals will break down the plastics.

Here is how I wash my gear..

Helmet: Rinse out. NO SOAP.
Pants: If they are bad, hose them off and air dry.
Gloves: Damp towel for the outside. NEVER wash the palms. You will ruin the leather. They should never get too gross if you let them air out after use.
Shins: These get bad for me. I put these in the tub and wash them by hand with a little dish soap.
Chest: Same as shins.
Skates: Live with them being stinky.
Elbows: in the tub with the shins.
 

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Good point LLoose, I supposed it was a given that folks shouldn't be entertaining washing skates and helmets etc in a washing machine. But I will stand by the front loader for pants, elbow pads etc (soft items) Why scrub by hand when you don't have to??? and if you're worried about harsh chemicals, DON'T use harsh chemicals :)
 

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At the risk of being bias...the reason your gear stinks is that you have bacteria eating away the foam in the equipment. Home washing, even in a machine will not get deep enough into the equipment to clean it, much less disinfect it, and your home detergents have a pH level that is too high too high for the gear (that's why it's not good for the leather, etc). You may not think this is that big of a deal, but tell that to the players that have got MRSA staph infections from their own gear.
I have an Esporta business in MN, which I am sure you are not near, so I'm not looking for your business. But if you do have one in your area, it's the only system that can get deep into your equipment, uses a low wash temp and low pH detergents and disinfectants, and then is able to get all the water out without wrecking the gear (lab tested to kill 99.9997% of bacteria). And we do wash gloves and skates and helmets with no adverse effects. (think gloves are no big deal - ask Michael Renberg when with the Maple Leafs in 2003 had to almost cut off his arm at the elbow because of an infection he got through a broken blister on his hand). You may also consider a place with an Ozone machine. With Ozone, your gear has to be perfectly dry (ozone changes water to hydrogen peroxide), it only works on the surface of the gear killing only 91% of bacteria at best, doesn't clean it or wash away what it did kill and stinks like a medicine cabinet.
Just food for thought, I really don't care how you do it, in fact it's just good that you want to. However there is a reason that some of the top division one colleges and high schools use Esporta. (Ozone operators will tout that NHL teams use theirs, but that is because they gave the teams a free machine).
 

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I have heard good things about esporta. Only problem is location. I am not going to ship my gear to have it cleaned.
 

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How much do the professional cleanings typically run? I don't pay too much for my gear (buy most stuff on clearance), so I wash it in the washing machine and when it falls apart I just buy new stuff.
 

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Depends where you are, typically a full set of gear which is the shins all they way up to the helmet is from $35 to $50 US. Most offer team discounts as we can do 8 full sets at a time. Most players do it a couple of times per season.
 

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is there anything wrong with soaking the equipment in a tub full of hot water and bleach? this has worked well for me and i've had no problems with it destroying equipment. it is also very cheap compared to professional cleaning.
 

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i would imagin the bleach would hurt the plastic and weakin it. I remember when i used to play lacrosse and dying your stick head was in someone once asked if bleaching his head would get it back to white and the coach said no it will just weakin the head. I also imagin unless you use color safe bleach it would discolor your stuff as well. It may eat away at things too because thats what bleach does it eats away at the material little by little. (i only know that because i work part time at a dry cleaners)

but speaking of that what about dry cleaning your equipment would that work?
 

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i would imagin the bleach would hurt the plastic and weakin it. I remember when i used to play lacrosse and dying your stick head was in someone once asked if bleaching his head would get it back to white and the coach said no it will just weakin the head. I also imagin unless you use color safe bleach it would discolor your stuff as well. It may eat away at things too because thats what bleach does it eats away at the material little by little. (i only know that because i work part time at a dry cleaners)

but speaking of that what about dry cleaning your equipment would that work?
i haven't had any color problems or problems with materials breaking down. if the bleach does break down the materials, i doubt it is significant. the reason i say this is because i have never noticed any damage from bleach, but damage from playing is obvious.
 

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I for one have had a staph infection from my hockey gear. So much pain, but the worst part was the odour of it, Staph infection stinks.

I did some research into this and Cleanguy was somewhat right about the ozone method, it actually creates a byproduct of Nitrogen Oxide which, when mixed with water creates Nitric Acid...which essentially breaks down the plastic in the gear.
HOWEVER, what myself and my team use is stankygear.com they use ozone, but they use UV Light Ozone so it doesn't create the byproduct. Their process took about an hour and it was in a mobile trailer, so they actually came to the pub and while we were inside enjoying some bevies our gear was cleaned. They can do 12 sets of gear at once.

The guy from Stankygear showed us some test results and over 99% of the bacteria was destroyed and there was no odour to our equipment at all.

I talked to the guy and they only have locations in Vancouver, Edmonton and Kelowna, but they are hoping to expand in the near future
 

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Well I play a lot of hockey playing Juniors and I'm in my gear 5 times a week at least. I personally think the best way to wash it and get rid of the smell is to simply just take all your gear and literally just wash it in the washer and then air dry it out side. It really helps to clean it and it makes the smell go away somewhat. Pretty fast method also.
 

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cleaning equipment

I have read what everyone has written and I am even more confused. My son's gear really stinks. I am aware of the fact that bacteria accumulates on the gear and that is why I would like to know what would be the best way to clean it. I don't mind if I have to pay to have it cleaned.
 

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cleaning equipment

I did some research in the subject and found a company on the web called Sani-Sport (www.sani-sport.com) that cleans and santizes sports gear. I found a sport store in my area (Fraser's) and tried out the system. The best part was that it only took about 20 minutes and the gear was cleaned. It eliminates the bacteria that could cause infections and it doesn't harm the equipment. I would definitely recommend it.
 

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It really depends on your equipment. To get rid of dirty equipment I put the small gear in the washer in small groups. And the big equipment that can't go into the washer I rinse it and maybe use a detergent if must. To get rid of stink I either clean it like I said before or use a neutralizing odor if it's really bad. With hockey equipment, there is no need to oversimplify things. Keep it simple.

To prevent future stink I strongly suggest airing your equipment after every use.

If you are still not sure about it. This post goes more into detail on the best ways to clean your hockey equipment.
 
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