Top Five Sports That Require Frequent Equipment Cleanings

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.


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.


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.


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!


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!