History of Hockey Gear

Ice hockey players on the grand ice arena

There are few things you can do with your time that are more rewarding than playing sports. From the endorphins that rush through your body and cause you to sweat with delight, to the positive impact that being active has on your body, there are a wide variety of reasons that sports can positively impact both your mental and physical health.

One of the best things about sports is that there are so many options for those looking to join a league! Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you an independent spirit who prefers to do things on your own? Then avoiding team sports in favour of tennis, squash, or swimming may be great for you!
  2. Do you like being outside or derive joy from scenic nature and fresh air? Perhaps hiking, skiing, or trail running are worth looking into!

At Love your Gear, we love cleaning the gear from any and all sports!

We’ve found it simply fascinating to watch the evolution of sports gear take place. Nowadays, athletes are decked out in only the highest-functioning heat-reducing gear perfect for withstanding long hours of movement.

As Canadians, we’re particularly invested in the world of hockey. Since the late 19th century, hockey has been having a huge impact on Canadian culture ­– and we’re here for it!

Ice hockey players on the grand ice arena

We’ve come a long way from the days of hockey games being played with wooden pucks, now haven’t we? Here’s everything you need to know about the history of hockey gear:

The 1800s

While player safety is the top priority of all hockey leagues, from the NHL to the minor atoms leagues of your hometown, this wasn’t always the case.

So how did hockey gear of the past differ from the gear we see today? Firstly, there were no skates. How did they play hockey without skates? Players would attach blades to the bottom of their boots! Utilitarian? Certainly. Safe? Not quite!

In addition, pucks were either made of wood or a rubber ball with the top and bottom cut off.

What about all the defensive gear you see hockey players wearing on the ice nowadays? Well, it was essentially minimal at the time. In fact, shin guards made of strips of leather reinforced with wood or cane were the first invention to be made in the realm of protection.

The 1900s

Goalie staring ahead inhelmet

After many sustained injuries in the hockey world, players began to take matters of personal safety into their own hands, often constructing makeshift gear out of materials such as felt for shoulder pads, leather for kneepads, animal hair to pad their gloves, and bamboo to reinforce their wrists!

While these proactive innovations were a great start, they failed to address a glaring issue in the world of contact sports – head protection. That all changed in 1933 when Toronto Maple Leafs star Ace Bailey’s head hit the ice, causing him to prematurely end his career due to a horrible head injury. Eddie Shore, the player who collided with Bailey, went on to become the first NHL player to consistently sport a helmet.

It was also around this time that players began wearing goalie masks (despite being subjected to accusations of lack of toughness), leather elbow pads outside their jerseys and reinforced fibre thumbs in their gloves. By 1973, all NHL goalies were donning masks on the ice.

Interestingly enough, some players were actually sustaining injuries due to the plastic and fibreglass materials that were striking other players. Around the 1950s, the NHL issued a rule that all elbow and shoulder pads must be made with a soft outer covering to reduce these occurrences. In 1955, an impressive new elbow pad was fashioned made out of sponge rubber that became commonplace in the league.

By 1959, the league realized that the backs of players legs were vulnerable to injury via skate blade, and players began wearing leg protection that wrapped around the back of their legs to ensure maximum coverage.

Finally, in 1979, helmet wearing became mandatory for all players who joined the NHL. Oddly enough, helmet wearing was not mandatory for players who signed their contracts before this time.

Why Love your Gear

As you can see, the evolution of hockey gear and the understanding of personal safety has evolved dramatically over the past century. Thankfully, the public perception that questioned the toughness of players who used gear has faded from the norm, and hockey players young and old can all enjoy a game without having to forgo gear due to the fear of seeming weak.

At Love your Gear, we offer specialized hockey gear cleaning services to ensure your equipment can last for years to come! Call us today to receive a free quote on our gear cleaning services.

The Best Canadian Getaways for Skiing and Snowboarding

Skier and snowboarder

If there’s one thing Canadians know how to do, it’s make the most out of winter.

Sometimes the best way to do this is with an epic ski and snowboard getaway. Whether you’re seeking mellow cross-country ski trails or scenic glacier views and perfect powder bowls, it’s the season to get outside, make some memories and give your gear a workout.

Here are our top picks for snow-themed getaways:

Skier and snowboarder

Whistler, B.C.

With two massive mountains, plentiful resorts for all budgets and a quaint village full of shops and restaurants, British Columbia’s Whistler is easily one of the top Canadian winter getaways. In fact, people come from all over the world to spend time here, whether for the skiing and snowboarding, or just for the breathtaking winter scenery as seen from a hot tub.

Thanks to Whistler’s two separate mountains, it’s actually the biggest ski area in North America, which means that you could easily spend an entire week here without ever repeating the same slope twice. That being said, it’s not just seasoned snow enthusiasts who are drawn to the towering ski slopes here. There are tons of green runs as well, and no shortage of beginner programs if you just want to get your feet wet … er … snowy.

The mountain’s location on the west coast of British Columbia’s mainland – in close proximity to the Pacific Ocean – means no shortage of powdery snowfalls. Whistler is also a fantastic winter getaway if you’re not into skiing or snowboarding. The main village has tons of lively restaurants and shops, and both mountains offer a number of activities, including tubing, snowshoeing, zip lining and wildlife tours.

Many of the resorts have great entertainment features too. So while your well-used gear is drying off after a long day on the slopes, enjoy a glass of wine in an outdoor hot tub or end the day with a massage and a stop in the eucalyptus steam room, all of which you’ll find in many resorts.

Whistler ski resort

Lake Louise, AB

You’ve probably already seen a photo of Lake Louise, even if you don’t know it. Its placid turquoise waters and sheer cliffs have graced many a travel magazine and adventurous Instagram feed.

Turns out its peaks and glaciers are equally scenic, making this one of the top Canadian skiing and snowboarding getaways if you want a view to go with your action. Nestled in Alberta’s Banff National Park, Lake Louise’s ski facilities include both beginner and intermediate runs, combined with awe-inspiring views. From the top of many peaks, you can see the frozen Lake Louise – which is stunning in its own right – as well as the nearby Mount Assiniboine.

As a ski and snowboard destination, Lake Louise has a less touristy feel than some locations, as there are no resorts or lodging accommodations in the immediate area. Lake Louise Village, however, is a short drive away and has a quaint, charming feel to it. Make sure you stop for a steaming cinnamon roll at Laggan’s Bakery or a rejuvenating spa session at the Temple Mountain Spa, located inside the Post Hotel, one of Lake Louise’s main lodging facilities.

Lake Louise

Mont-Tremblant, QC

Nestled high in Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains, this resort boasts over 600 acres of ski and snowboarding trails and a bustling pedestrian village, making it one of eastern Canada’s most coveted winter destinations.

It has an equal amount of beginner, intermediate and expert routes, so there’s something for almost everyone. The sheer size of the resort allows it to cater to many other winter-themed activities too, including dog sledding, ice climbing, skating, sleigh rides, tubing and snowshoeing. Plentiful ski schools make it a top spot for families with children who are just starting to build memories and learn the ropes of a truly Canadian holiday.

Much like Whistler, if you need a break from snow-based activity – perhaps to give your gear a break – there’s still plenty to do. Hop on the open air gondola and descend into the pedestrian village, where you’ll find trendy shops, eateries and spas to pass the time. This is also where you’ll find much of the resort’s accommodations, which include everything from budget condos to luxury chalets.

Mont Tremblant

Panorama, B.C.

Easily one of the top Canadian ski and snowboard destinations for families, Panorama straddles the border between British Columbia and Alberta.

The resort is car free and divided into two bustling villages. The upper village is arranged around a skating rink and outdoor heated pool, complete with water slides, hot tubs and a sauna. Many visitors stay in the condos in this part of the area, which offers free access to the rink and pool facilities; a big draw for families.

Not only is it easy to find ski schools and beginner programs here, but there are also plentiful childcare centers and options for after-hours care, should mom and dad need a little break. Aside from kid-friendly features, Panorama actually features one of the biggest verticals in North America, rising 1,300 metres in total. There’s also plenty of cross country trails and powder bowls, so really, something for everyone.

Panorama

Hey, does your gear need odour and bacteria elimination services after all that activity? Contact Love Your Gear today to get it looking and feeling like new again.

Everything You Need to Know About Martial Arts

Martial arts

Martial arts are a form of athletics that get a lot of buzz whenever an action movie comes out. High-head kicks, takedowns and dramatic blocks are woven into many combat scenes and as a result, this is what many people think of when they think of martial arts.

However, each form of martial arts has its own unique characteristics, along with some surprising psychological benefits too. It’s more than a sweaty, action-movie-worthy form of combat. Here’s what you might not know about the different forms:

Martial arts

Karate

This ancient form of martial arts is usually what people think of when they hear that term. Developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom – near what is now modern-day Taiwan – it’s estimated by the World Karate Federation that there are 100 million people who study or practice Karate.

  • It’s a unique form of combat, in that it focuses not just on the physical aspects of self-defense, but on the psychological forces surrounding it too, including: perseverance
  • fearlessness
  • self-restraint
  • leadership skills

In some forms of Karate, weapons are used, but most people who practice this form of martial arts use only their own body weight and manipulation to spar with partners.

There are two main aspects involved in Karate training, including the basics and the sparring itself. Training usually begins with a student mastering the basic moves, which include:

  • stances
  • strikes
  • kicks
  • blocks

In sparring – whether competitively or for recreation – two participants use these basics to gain dominance over one another in short rounds that usually last only a few minutes. Points are awarded based on things like the technique used, form, timing, sportsmanship and other criteria.

The levels of expertise are ranked based on “belts,” which are worn around the waist of the uniform. The lowest ranking is white, while the highest – considered expert level – is black. Achieving a black belt can take several years, even longer, and is something that many practitioners aspire to, whether their main focus is competition or not.

Karate belts

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A combat sport with a healthy amount of ground fighting, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is actually a form of Judo. Like most martial arts, it focuses on the idea that a fighter doesn’t have to be the biggest person in the ring to defend themselves. Instead it’s about:

  • skill
  • leverage
  • balance

All of which are employed when two competitors spar against each other, either in training or competition.

This element of ground fighting is really what sets Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (also called BJJ) apart from most forms of martial arts. Along with holds and strikes, BJJ can be seen as mastering the art of maneuvering and manipulating.

Matches last anywhere from 4 to 6 minutes, depending on the rank of the two fighters. Points are given based on positions obtained throughout the match, including various mounted positions, takedowns and other forms of pinning.

Like almost all martial arts, minimal gear is required to practice this sport. All that’s needed is a mat, and, for formal competitions, a Judogi, which is the typical Judo uniform.   In Jiu Jitsu, the Judogi is normally a closer cut, which makes it easier to move in for ground fighting. For judo uniform cleaning or judogi uniform cleaning, contact Love Your Gear.

Though many people compete in this form of martial arts and progress up the ranking scale from white to black belt, many people practice BJJ as a form of physical fitness and community involvement as well.

Jiu jitsu

Taekwondo

Easily one of the most high-energy martial art forms, Taekwondo is a Korean sport best known for its spinning kicks, high-speed moves and head-height kicks, which are impressive to watch.

It has roots as a Korean military practice, but has since become a popular form of recreation that’s places an emphasis on:

  •  self-defence
  • speed
  • agility.

Despite its high-energy appearance, there are many more subtle things taught in Taekwondo, including breath control, equilibrium, balance and mass.

Participants typically don something called a Dobok uniform, as well as padding and a helmet, which is usually worn during sparring.

Like most martial arts, there is a belt ranking system and competitors are usually matched with people of the same ranking. Points are given in sparring for certain types of kicks and their impact. Despite the focus on high-impact moves, the philosophy of Taekwondo is similar to other martial art forms and prioritizes self-control, integrity and self-defense, as opposed to aggression.

Taekwondo

The popularity of martial arts can likely be attributed to its wide-reaching benefits. Though many people approach this artful form of combat with the goal of competition, just as many take part for physical benefits, to be part of a community and to reap some of the psychological benefits as well, including focus, confidence and leadership skills.

Like most sports, all that physical exertion can mean gear that gets well-used. This can lead to odour, bacteria buildup, mold and other pathogens. To make sure your gear is clean and in good repair, contact Love Your Gear today.

The Best Activities to Try This Winter

Winter activities

In the winter it’s a lot more tempting to stay inside because of the dreary, cold weather.  Resist this urge because there are so many fun winter activities to try. We may not feel fortunate to experience Canadian winters but we’re so lucky to be able to participate in so many outdoor sports. Getting bundled up and heading outside for some fun winter activities is a great way to liven up this somewhat dark and dreary season. Throw on your parka, gloves, hat and snow pants, here are the best activities to try this winter:

Winter activitiesHockey

Nothing is as uniquely Canadian as hockey. It might seem difficult but it’s fairly simple. There’s also a lot of gear to protect you from any slips and falls. For beginners, we highly recommend wearing all the padding when you first start out to avoid any injuries. If you’re a more advanced player, all you need to play a quick pick-up game is sticks, a puck and some goal posts. The rules are basically just shoot and score. If you’ve never tried hockey, be patriotic this winter, lace up your skates and head out on the ice.

Skating

If you’re not up to the challenge of hockey, try out skating first. Learning to skate is the first step in playing hockey. There are plenty of outdoor rinks scattered around Southern Ontario where you can practice. There are always a lot of people on the ice of all different skill levels. It’s all part of the fun to take a few tumbles. Skating is also a fantastic cardio workout. Even if you’re not a professional, you’ll likely burn some calories laughing at how much you look like Bambi.

Child skating with mom

Snowboarding

Snowboarding is probably the most thrilling winter activity. Whether you’re just going down the bunny hill or rushing down a double black diamond trail, nothing beats the rush. It requires a great center of gravity and some balancing skills so if you’ve got that, you’re set. If you’ve ever surfed or skateboarded, you’ll likely be able to pick it up in no time. Start out by practicing on some of the smaller hills then you’ll eventually be able to work your way up to the mountain. Snowboarding is the ideal sport for the adventurous ones and adrenaline junkies among us.

snowboarder

Skiing

If being strapped onto a board and going down a hill is too intimidating, try the more traditional sport of skiing. You’ll be in more control of your movements but have the same amount of thrill. Skiing is a classic winter activity that people have partaken in around the world for centuries. There are several different types of skiing from cross country to alpine to Nordic. There’s something for everyone when it comes to this sport. If you’ve never learned the “pizza” stop and “French fry” go, hit the slopes this winter.

Snowshoeing

For a low impact winter activity that will still engage your core strength, strap on some snowshoes. It’s a fantastic way to go on a lovely winter hike without constantly getting snow up to your knees and in your boots. Plenty of ski hills and resorts have trails for snowshoers. You could also just bring a pair to your local park on a snowy day.

Snowshoeing

Tobogganing/Sledding

If you live near a lot of snowy hills, bring out your snowsuits and toboggan or sled. Sledding is always a lot of fun. It’s the easiest activity to do on this list. The only skill it requires is a little bit of balance. Just ensure that the hill you’re going down is nice and smooth so you don’t hurt yourself on any bumps.

Here are some extra fun activities you can do in your own backyard on snowy days with the whole family or your friends:

  • Have a snowball fight
  • Make snow people
  • Build a snow fort
  • Form snow angels

Wooden Sled

At Love Your Gear, we’ll make sure everything you need to have fun during the winter months is in the best possible shape it can be. We have a wide variety of gear and equipment cleaning services from hockey equipment to ski and snowboard gear to any specialty snow gear. Contact us today to make sure you have everything you need to partake in all the best winter activities this upcoming snowy season.

Best Army Surplus Stores in Toronto

Army boots

The army-inspired look has really become a trend in the past few years. You can hardly walk down a city block without seeing someone wearing camouflage pants or combat boots. Army gear is extremely practical because it’s meant to last in even the toughest weather conditions. We’re glad the look has become fashionable because it’s nice to be warm and comfortable while remaining on trend. Toronto is fortunate to have a number of fantastic army surplus stores. Whether you’re planning on going hunting, getting a new winter parka or just getting a last-minute Halloween costume, here are the best army surplus stores in Toronto:

Camouflage jacket

Wolf Army Surplus Fashion

878 Kingston Road

This spot is a definite go-to for all the east-enders out there. Even though fashion is in the store’s name, they have a vast selection of paintball gear as well camping equipment and survival tools for the adrenaline junkies. You can rest assured they have a variety of army surplus clothing and boots in all shapes and sizes as well.

Paintball

AAA Army Surplus

199 Baldwin Street

If you’re looking to gear up for winter, head down to AAA Army Surplus. It has been a popular destination in Kensington Market for decades. They have a wide range of surplus to browse through including:

  • puffy parkas
  • thick peacoats
  • waffle knit thermals
  • wool headgear
  • colourful toques

The price is right, you’ll look great and feel great. It’s a win-win!

Parka

Nick’s Sport Shop and Central Surplus

579 Yonge Street

This Yonge and Wellesley staple has been supplying loyal customers with clothing, accessories and army-related collectibles since 1961. You can grab a stylish and cozy Alpha Industries bomber jacket as well as some high-quality security equipment. Another bonus is there are almost always deals at Central Surplus. Keep your eyes peeled for bright yellow signs to get a discount on one of the many products you’re sure to pick up.

Bomber jacket

The Little Army Store

50 Northline Road, Unit 5

This “little army store” is small but mighty. For all East York residents looking to stock up on a number of camping accessories including grills, lamps, thermoses and more, this is the place. This warehouse is a neat freak’s dream. All of the products are displayed on racks in a highly organized fashion. They offer traditional uniforms from the Military, Navy, Air Force and Army as well as jackets and other armed forces related memorabilia. If you need a long-lasting backpack to carry groceries, books, or your laptop around, check out the Little Army Store’s vast selection. All of their gear is built to last.

Beavers Surplus Exchange

3269 Dufferin Street

If you don’t find anything you want at Yorkdale Mall, head south on Dufferin and check out Beavers Surplus Exchange. Their specialization is bona fide surplus straight from the Canadian and American militaries. They also buy, sell and trade military gear hence the “Exchange” in their name. If you’re looking to get some cash or store credit for old gear you don’t have a use for anymore bring it on over to Beavers Surplus Exchange.

TNT Surplus Centre

2938 Lake Shore Boulevard

If you’ve been to Etobicoke, you’ll likely remember seeing a massive Canadian flag painted on the side of a building where Islington Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard intersect. This display of patriotism signifies that you’ve made it to TNT Surplus Centre. It was painted to celebrate the Canadian flag’s 50th birthday. TNT just celebrated its own milestone 60th birthday last year. This classic Etobicoke storefront offers piles of hunting and army surplus and racks of footwear. From rubber boots to coveralls, you’ll definitely find the army merchandise of your dreams here.

Army boots

The products sold at all Army Surplus Stores are built to last. However, in order for them to keep their durability, they must be well-maintained. At Love Your Gear, we are dedicated to ensuring your gear lasts. Whether you’re wearing your parka on the city streets or camping in the woods, we want it to look as good as possible. We offer specialty cleaning services to clean army surplus uniforms, boots and backpacks. To keep your newly acquired gear in tip-top shape for decades to come, contact Love Your Gear today.

 

Best Sports to Sign Your Child Up For

Fall means back to school and for some children, it means back to sports. It’s no secret that kids have a lot of energy. Why not let your kids expend their energy while learning important teamwork and social skills. They’ll boost their physical health as well as their mental health and likely make some new friends. It also gets them out of the house and allows you, as a parent or guardian, to take a break.

Children should play a variety of sports to figure out which one they like best. There’s a lot of recreational activities out there that have different benefits and will help cultivate different skills. Here are the best sports to sign your child up for:

kids playing sports

Lacrosse

Lacrosse is Canada’s other national sport that’s often overlooked. It pales in comparison to the popularity of ice hockey but it’s still a fantastic and fun game. Children will have a blast using lacrosse sticks to try to pick up the ball, catch it from teammates and throw it back and forth. An advantage that lacrosse has over ice hockey is that it requires less equipment than ice hockey. Children will need helmets, gloves, elbow and knees pads and cleats for protection but this about half of the gear required to play hockey. Another benefit is you also won’t have to sit in cold rinks during practices and games.

Soccer

Whether you call it soccer or football, this is truly the world’s sport and for good reason. You really only need a ball and your feet to play. However, in a formal setting kids will need cleats and pads to protect their shins from bruising. Soccer is a great option for overly active children. Running up and down the long field will cause them to burn a lot of energy. It’ll increase their eye-foot coordination and encourage teamwork by passing the ball to teammates instead of hogging it.

boy playing soccer

Baseball

“Fall ball” is a great way to introduce your little one to the thrilling sport of baseball. A lot of little leagues offer a laidback autumn season where kids can learn the rules with less competition than the spring season. Tee ball is also a fun option for younger children. Baseball helps to improve communication skills as players have to be able to collaborate well whether they’re a pitcher or outfielder. Amplify the games of catch you played with a baseball glove in the park by signing them up for fall ball.

Kids playing soccer

Gymnastics

Although gymnastics isn’t a team sport it has a lot of advantages for children. There are the physical benefits from increased flexibility, strength and agility as well as the confidence gained from being able to execute a trick properly. There is additionally a certain concentration and focus that comes with learning gymnastics. These skills will transfer over to other aspects of your child’s life and stay with them.

Boy doing gymnastics

Flag Football

Flag football, like fall ball, is essentially a pared down version of football. It has fewer confusing rules, less start and stop action and hopefully less injuries. It’ll teach your younger children the basics of football in a fun way in case they want to play later in life. Kids will learn impeccable hand-eye coordination and let out energy by running up and down the football field. They’ll also develop basic strategizing skills by learning different plays from their coach. It’s a win-win.

kids playing flag football

Basketball

Basketball is another simple sport that is appropriate for all ages. It’s a great teambuilding sport and can be played either indoors or outdoors depending on the time of year. Dribbling and passing while running up and down the court is no easy task. Basketball involves incredible balance and coordination as well as endurance. We highly recommend signing up your child for the sport

Signing your child up for sports is valuable for a variety of reasons. Always check in with them to monitor their interest in the activity. If they don’t like the sport after one season, sign them up for another one the following year. Switching up the sports they play ensures they enjoy what they’re doing and maximizes the number of skills they’ll develop.

If you’ve signed your children up for sports that require a lot of sporting equipment, don’t risk ruining the gear by attempting to clean it yourself at home. Bring their gear or uniforms to Love Your Gear and allow our experienced staff to deodorize it and clean it for you thoroughly. Contact us today to find out more about our services.

Why Love Your Gear is the Top choice for Cleaning your Kids’ Sports Equipment

boy with baseball and gym bag

Summer is the best time of year for many athletes. Finally, the baseball pitches can open and the soccer and football fields are clear of snow. Even winter athletes find new activities to enjoy in the offseason!

Of course, with the heat comes summer sweat, and no athlete is immune, including your kids. After a summer spent sweating under the hot sun, there’s no doubt that their equipment is starting to show signs of excess odour, despite your best efforts to keep things fresh. While you may have been diligent in airing out their gear after every practice, washing equipment at home, and even keeping deodorizing products in their sports bags, eventually the sweat is going to catch up to you, and your kids’ gear will need a professional cleaning.

Children playing soccer

You might be wondering why you should take the time and spend your money on professional gear cleaning. At Love Your Gear, we have the largest sports equipment cleaning facility in Toronto and can handle any type of specialized equipment.

We are experts in the field of bacteria removal and cleaning when it comes to footwear, sports bags, protective pads, uniforms and more. But beyond our facilities and expertise, there are some really important reasons why we’re the top choice for getting your kids’ sports equipment cleaned. Take a look to see why: 

1. We Can Help Eliminate Those Nasty Smells From Your Home, Garage and Car

We’re big proponents of airing out your kids’ equipment, including their bag, after every practice and game. But with busy lives, it can become difficult to stay diligent with this task, especially if you’re carting different kids to various sports and activities throughout the week.

Young baseball player

Unfortunately, the more time sports equipment spends in a stuffy bag, garage or car trunk, the more likely it is to build up various types of bacteria, which ultimately leads to odours. We all try our best to keep things clean, but over time the sweat eventually starts to win. Dead skin cells that come off as your kids are wearing their equipment contribute to bacterial growth and the ensuing smells, and while home remedies (such as hand washing and deodorizing products) may provide temporary relief, the thing that will ultimately get rid of those odours is a professional cleaning that can really dig deep into padding, shoes and other items to eliminate bacteria.

boy with baseball and gym bag

2. We Can Help Keep Your Kids From Getting Sick

Children playing sports

Socializing is a big part of growing up, and between school, home and their other activities, kids spend a lot of time in communal environments. While it’s likely that they’ll pick up a common cold or flu at some point in their childhood, it’s important to remember that places like locker rooms and sports facilities can be breeding grounds for the viruses that cause these illnesses. Just as you and your children’s school have kids wash their hands on a regular basis and promote proper hygiene, it’s important that this message continues into their sporting lives as well.

It’s an unfortunate fact that sports equipment can be an effective conductor of viruses, which are especially easy to pick up when your kids are using the same spaces that other, potentially sick, kids and parents are using to spread out their gear and get dressed for a game.

We always recommend having hand sanitizer with you and cleansing cloths for your kids’ post-game sweat. You should also make showering at home a priority if possible, as damp communal environments like locker room showers can be places for viruses to spread as well. And at the end of the season, to make sure you’re not storing anything other than the sports equipment itself, a professional cleaning will help to keep their gear in top shape, and help keep your family from getting sick.

3. We Can Help You Save Money in the Long Run

Boys playing flag football

A few of the most difficult things to eliminate from sports equipment using at-home remedies are three major enemies of cleanliness – fungi, mold spores and yeast.

Since sports equipment absorbs sweat, it can’t help but become a damp environment over time, which is the ideal condition for the growth of mold and fungus. Not only do these organisms create their own smells, but over time they contribute to the breakdown and weakening of your kids’ sports gear.

Many sports, especially hockey and football, require a lot of expensive equipment to get kids through a season. If possible, parents are always looking for ways to save money on this gear, especially if they have another, younger child who will likely be playing the same sports as their siblings as they get older. Getting your kids’ gear professionally cleaned at the end of the season will extend the life of this equipment, and help to make your investment less fleeting. Contact us today to ensure your children’s gear lasts a lot longer.

Here’s What’s Living In Your Dirty Sports Equipment

Ice Hockey Equipment Isolated on White Background

As an athlete, you already demonstrate the drive and determination needed to dedicate yourself to a sport. But while you may be motivated in most aspects of your life, you might find yourself a little reticent when it comes to properly maintaining your gear and equipment.

So what’s the big deal? Sports equipment is bound to smell, right? Especially with all of the sweat you put into improving your performance.

Well, the team at Love Your Gear is here to tell you that the odour emanating from your bag and smelly sports gear is actually indicative of some nasty things that have taken up residence in your equipment. In fact, sweat and skin cells actually provide nutrients to bacteria and help it thrive – and while the negative impacts of that process aren’t felt immediately, over time this can cause problems. In case you needed it, here’s some motivation to get your sports gear cleaned as soon as possible, so that the only thing living in it, is you.

Ice Hockey Equipment Isolated on White Background

Bacteria

While not all bacteria is bad news (humans need many types of friendly bacteria to maintain a healthy gut and immune system), the kind that takes up residence in your sports gear is not the type of bacteria that you should welcome into your home.

Bacteria can accumulate and be attracted to the dead skin cells shed in your sports equipment, but if you’re playing a team sport, remember that bacteria from your teammates’ gear can also make its way into your gym bag, especially when your gear is in close proximity in the locker room. A bad smell is a sign that bacteria have already taken up residence, and it’s time for a proper cleaning.

If you’re a hockey player, bacteria should be a particularly big concern of yours – tests have shown that hockey equipment has 100 times the amount of bacteria in it than the gear used in other sports. Time to get those gloves and pads taken care of!

Gold Football Helmet on Field

Viruses

In addition to bacteria, studies have shown that many viruses, including those of the common cold and flu variety, can hang out in dirty gym equipment. Similar to bacteria, viruses thrive in community environments and are passed from person to person. So, the more time you spend with other people, including your teammates, the more likely you are to pick up a virus during cold and flu season. While you may not have come directly into contact with a sick person, they may have a sick family member or roommate at home, and the virus can spread from their gym bag to yours. It’s important to air out your equipment after every practice in order to cut down on the likelihood of contracting something that will make you sick, but it’s also equally important to get your gear professionally cleaned so that viruses don’t get the chance to thrive within your equipment.

Snowboard equipment

Fungus and Mold Spores

Yes, you read that correctly. The same mold you might find in the cupboard under your kitchen sink, due perhaps to some leaky plumbing, is the same kind of mold that can take up residence in the damp environment inside of your sports equipment. In fact, mold can develop in a damp environment within just 24 hours, which again emphasizes the need to air out your gear after every game and practice. When it comes to damp environments, also take note of the fact that your skiing and snowboard gear, or any other winter sports equipment, is in constant contact with snow. While most of it is designed to be waterproof, moisture can still make its way inside, and make your gear just as susceptible to dampness from the outside as it is from your sweat on the inside.

Not only is mold toxic to humans (in relatively large quantities), it also has corrosive qualities. Over time, if left untreated, mold may render your equipment less effective by eating away at the fabric and other materials, such as foam padding, contained inside. In order to keep your expensive equipment in use for longer, and extend its life as much as possible, proper cleaning will ensure that wear and tear only comes from playing hard, and not from fungi or spores making a home in your gear.

Yoga mat

Yeast

Technically a fungus, yeast is a particularly smelly culprit when it comes to the odour you’re getting a whiff of when handling your sports equipment. Yeast and other fungi are also something that active people need to be particularly wary of, as it can cause skin rashes or infections, and be generally irritating to your body if not cleaned out of your equipment.

As reported by the New York Times, studies have shown that skin infections among athletes are very common, and can spread very easily in community environments – particularly change rooms or on common-use equipment, including exercise mats. It’s recommended that you never share a towel or use yours again after leaving it to air out in a locker room. You should also bring your own soap, change immediately into fresh clothes after a workout, and only ever use your own water bottle or razor, among other hygiene items, at the gym. All of these items are ripe environments for bacteria and fungi to spread, so be wary of sharing these things with anyone else – especially at the gym.

Muay Thai workout - boxing gloves close up

Have We Convinced You It’s Time to Clean Your Gear?

We’re happy to hear it! Love Your Gear uses amazing Ozone cleaning technology that kills and eliminates all of the nasty things noted above, and more! We clean everything from hockey, football and snow sports equipment, to fishing gear, boxing gloves and more. If you have an odour that won’t leave your gear, reach out to our team to learn more about our services.

Summer Sweat is Here: How to Keep Your Gear Fresh

Boy Kicking Ball

The shortest and most blissful Canadian season has arrived, and with it comes your favourite summer sports. In many parts of Canada the summer also brings heat and humidity, ensuring that no matter what sport you play, you’ll be sweating up a storm in your gear. It’s important to make sure that your gear stays fresh all season long, especially in the heat. As the season goes on, if you don’t take steps to ensure that the moisture has a way to escape your gear, bacteria build-up will cause your items to smell, and can shorten the life of the equipment that you’ve spent your hard-earned money on.

Below, see our tips for making sure that smells and bacteria don’t follow you on to the playing field.

Boy Kicking Ball

Air It Out

It sounds simple, but saying you’ll air out your bag and actually taking the time to do it are two different things – especially when you’re tired after your latest game or training session. Just like brushing your teeth, you should develop the routine of always taking each of the items out of your gym bag after every sweat session and letting them air dry. It’s important to keep them out of the enclosed, damp space that is your gym bag when they’re wet, as this is the favoured environment of bacteria to grow. If you keep your sweaty items packed away in your bag, it’s inevitable that they will start to stink. Remember that odor isn’t just an unpleasant smell – it’s also a sign of bacteria.

field hockey gear

Use a Moisture-Absorbing Product in Your Bag

There are all kinds of options on the market for odor and moisture-absorbing packets and pouches for your gym bag. The beauty of these products is that you can simply toss them in and leave them there – although you should make note of how often the manufacturer says to replace them. There are also pouches available that you can use to put sweaty gear in after you’re done using it, and before you put it back in your gym bag, that helps to cut down on odor.

For a budget-friendly option, make sure you save those little silica packets that come with lots of different kinds of products when you purchase from a store or online. These packets are often sitting in shoe boxes, handbags and other items while they’re on display in a store or being shipped to your home, in order to ensure that moisture doesn’t damage the product. Your gym bag is the perfect place to keep these little guys, as they’ll help to absorb the moisture from your sweaty gear and keep it fresher for longer.

The list doesn’t stop there for moisture-absorbing products – online forums swear by a whole host of options for what to keep in your bag to soak up sweat and cut down on smells. Salt, baking soda, tea bags and even cat litter have been cited as doing wonders for odor and moisture absorption in gym bags. In all cases, you’ll want to keep these materials in a pouch or container and remove them before heading to the gym – no one needs kitty litter in their shoes when training is about to start. A few drops of an essential oil in a fresh scent (such as peppermint or lavender) in your shoes or at the bottom of your bag has also been cited as a way to keep odors at bay.

Play at Home Plate

Keep Your Gear Out in the Open

If your home has the space for it, we also recommend finding a relatively airy spot to keep your gym bag once all of your items have air dried and it’s time for storage. If possible, try to keep your gym bag on an open-air shelf in your garage or mudroom, or even tucked away close to the door of your apartment. While it may seem like all of your gear is dry, there could be moisture hiding out in your items in between training sessions, and the last thing you want to do is stuff your bag away in a dark, damp environment that breeds bacteria.

Playing a game

Use Dryer Sheets in Your Shoes

This is an internet hack that’s been widely shared by athletes and trainers online, and seems to do the trick. Shoes are one of the top sources for odor in your gym bag, as you can’t help but have sweaty feet during and after a workout. Your feet are also enclosed in those shoes, and as much as producers have tried to create air vents and air flow in your modern trainers, all sports (including those with fancy ventilated shoes) create foot sweat, and it’s inevitable that odor will develop over time. To prolong freshness, it’s been recommended that you put a dryer sheet in each of your shoes after a game or workout. You’ll still need to air dry them, but the sheets will help give your gear a fresher smell.

Beautiful female tennis player serving

Get Your Gear Professionally Cleaned

You’ve done everything above – air dried all your gear after every game, kept it in an open spot with good airflow, and even added products to your bag to keep moisture and smells at bay. In the end though, sweat is always going to win in the battle of keeping your gear fresh. This is why Love Your Gear recommends getting your items professionally cleaned at the beginning and end of every season. We handle every kind of sports equipment imaginable – from bags and shoes, to gloves and padding – and can give your gear the specialized cleaning it needs. Most importantly, our cleaning process eliminates bacteria, which eliminates odors from your gear.

Keep your training sessions and game days fresh by getting in touch with us.

Top Five Sports That Require Frequent Equipment Cleanings

Ice hockey player on the ice, outdoors

All athletes know that their activity level is tough on their gear. But there are a few sports in particular that require athletes to wear a lot of equipment that goes through intensive use – and absorbs a lot of sweat – over the course of a season.

While you might be diligent about airing out your equipment after each use, it’s important to remember that air drying isn’t the same thing as cleaning. Damp materials are breeding grounds for bacteria, mold, viruses, and fungi, and over time your gear will eventually need more than an at-home remedy for odour. In order to really take care of your things, and ensure they’re clean enough to keep you from getting sick, you should take your gear in for a professional cleaning service after every season, regardless of whether or not it has a prominent smell. Getting frequent cleanings also helps you save money in the long run, as the elimination of odour will encourage you to keep your equipment for longer and replace it less often.

Below, we’ve noted five sports that are especially intense in terms of sweat and odour-causing activity. We highly recommend bringing your equipment into Love Your Gear if you take part in any of the below activities. Note, though, that we also offer professional cleaning services for all kinds of equipment – check out our expansive list here.

Keeping your gear clean will ensure that you’re performing at your best. Read on to see why.

Hockey 

Ice hockey player on the ice, outdoors

Hockey bag smell” is something that all players of the sport are familiar with. It’s no secret that hockey players really work up a sweat on the ice, as speed is a fundamental part of training, and of the game itself. The odour of hockey can be overwhelming – but it doesn’t have to be this way. While we always recommend airing out your hockey bag after every game and practice, and separating all pieces of your equipment to dry, every player should plan to get their gear thoroughly and properly cleaned after every season. We’re not just talking your pants and gloves either – your shoulder, elbow, jock/jill and shin pads soak up just as much sweat, as do your skates, helmet, neck guard and hockey bag. As of one the more expensive sports in terms of equipment, it’s important to properly sanitize your hockey gear to cut down on the frequency of replacing it due to odour.

Football

American football.

Like hockey, football players spend a lot of time suited up in heavy pads and equipment while working up a sweat. There’s no avoiding the intensity or wear that you put your gear through either, as the sport requires you to be constantly protected from heavy physical contact. Similar to hockey, football players should air out their equipment after every game and practice, and avoid keeping anything in a bag until it’s had a chance to dry. At the end of the season though, it’s likely that air drying hasn’t effectively eliminated all odours, and with any garment you wear that doesn’t get disinfected, bacteria can start to set in and smell. Helmets, shoulder pads, pants, gloves and shoes should all get the proper sanitization treatment in order to eliminate that locker room smell that athletes know so well.

Skiing/Snowboarding

Backcountry Skier and Snowboarders on Mountain Summit

All that time you spend on the mountain really adds up! And just like any other sport, your footwear is an essential part of your performance. It’s especially important to get your pricey ski and snowboard boots properly cleaned and sanitized, as your feet are bound into the boots by mechanical straps. They keep you warm and securely fastened on the hill, but airflow is completely eliminated, creating a perfect breeding ground for odour-causing bacteria and fungi. There are lots of suggestions online for keeping your boots smelling better (most involve letting them dry out instead of keeping them in a bag), but once an odour sets in, most at-home cleaning options are super high-maintenance, time-consuming and potentially ineffective (we don’t recommend putting coffee grounds or charcoal in your ski or snowboard boots.) Getting them professionally cleaned will help keep you feeling (and smelling) fresh on the slopes.

Boxing/Martial Arts

Two determined athletes fighting on a kickboxing training in a ring.

Boxers have long been debated as one of the fittest types of athletes, and for good reason. The cardiovascular and physical strength you build as a boxer is almost unparalleled by other sports. Boxing has a few cousins in the sporting world that require a similarly high level of fitness, including Muay Thai (sometimes referred to as Thai boxing) and Kickboxing. All three use equipment in both competition and training that requires frequent cleaning in order to cut down on odour – sparring pads and gloves chief among them. Think about the number of hours your hands spend sweating inside those sealed gloves with no air flow – it’s no wonder that odours can develop!

Fishing

vintage fishing equipment on rustic wooden plank

It’s arguably the most docile sport on the list, but fishing is no exception when it comes to the requirement for proper gear cleaning. While you may not spend as much time actively sweating as the sports noted above, it’s necessary to make sure that you get anything cleaned that comes into contact with a body of water or an animal. Depending on the conditions of where you’re fishing, including saltwater, freshwater or marshy environments, nature can leave behind its own particular odours on your nets, lures, knives, ropes and tackle boxes. Fishing waders and chest waders also spend a lot of time in the water, and as equipment that you wear, odours are possible on both the interior and exterior of these items.

Get In Touch

Love Your Gear handles all kinds of unique cleaning requests, including specialized fishing equipment.

If you’re unsure of whether Love Your Gear can clean a piece of specialized equipment, you can send us an email with an image of what you’re looking to have cleaned ahead of dropping it off. More often than not, it’s likely that we’ll be able to help you out as we get all kinds of unique requests, so send us a note!