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How to Clean Soccer Gear & Remove Sweat Odors

February 13, 2019

Not only is soccer fun, but it has many benefits too. For instance, it builds endurance and increases muscle strength. The sport also teaches players about teamwork—something that allows you to make lasting friendships. If you’ve ever participated in a game, though, you’ll know just how taxing it can be. After all, it takes a considerable amount of energy to kick a ball back and forth between a field!

As you can imagine, sweat does not make for the greatest of odors. If anything, it leads to quite the stink. For this reason, it is important to keep your soccer gear clean.

Reasons Why You Should Keep Your Soccer Gear Clean

  • Helps to minimize the amount of residue that is on your clothes and equipment
  • Playing with clean gear often leads to better performance on the field
  • An effective way of removing smelly odor
  • Prevents infection by limiting the spread of germs

Having said that, soccer gear should not be washed the same way as normal clothes. Seeing as how they’re built differently, it makes sense that they would also need to be cleaned differently as well.

On this page, we will be going over a few ways to effectively wash your soccer gear. Have some tips that you want to share? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Get the Stink Out of Your Soccer Jersey

Soccer jerseys are important in that they distinguish players of the same and opposite teams. Made out of breathable materials such as polyester, they naturally expel moisture such as sweat. Because of these properties, they are both lightweight and comfortable.

how to clean soccer jerseys

Preventing the Odor

Preventing the odor is just as important as getting rid of the odor. After all, it means that you will have less of a mess to deal with. The biggest tip that we can give is to always air out your soccer jersey after a game. In other words, don’t toss it in your bag. For the best results, you’ll want to air it out for at least 15 minutes. We understand that that’s not always possible, though.

Soaking the Jersey

If your jersey has a particularly bad odor, it might be a good idea to give it a soak before washing it. Ultimately, what you want to do is create a solution with water and cleanser, like ACTIVE detergent, in a tub or a container. Put your hand in the liquid and gently swirl it to mix the detergent. Once it’s thoroughly mixed, put your jersey into the solution—ensure that the whole thing is submerged in the liquid. Depending on how dirty it is, you might want to leave it overnight.

Note: Short on time? If so, you might not want to soak it for too long!

Washing Your Jersey in the Washer

Before we go into the details, it’s important to remember that you should only wash your jersey with like colors. If you wash it with other clothing, there is a possibility that the colors can bleed. To protect the wording and stitching from peeling off, turn your jersey inside out.

Select a delicate cycle using lukewarm or cold water. Add a good amount of laundry detergent to the washing machine—we recommend using ACTIVE detergent as it is specially formulated for activewear. If necessary, you can pause the washer to allow the jerseys to soak; this will help to get rid of the dirt and stains.

Protip: Never wash your soccer jersey in hot water as that can damage the fabric.

Protip #2: Putting your soccer jersey in a mesh laundry bag will help keep it in tip-top condition in the wash

When the washing cycle is done, take out the jersey. After ensuring that they are clean, hang them up in a well-ventilated area where they can air dry. Depending on how thick the material is, it can take a couple of days for it to dry completely.

Handwashing Your Jersey

If you’re short on time, you might want to just handwash the jersey. Don’t worry, the process is actually quite straight forward. Using a tub or container, mix together a solution of water and ACTIVE detergent. Place the jersey in and allow it to saturate in the liquid. From there, gently scrub it to remove odors and stains. When you’re done, rinse it with clean water and hang it up to dry.

Washing Instructions for Soccer Socks

Soccer socks are designed to protect you from scratches when you’re out on the field. In cold weather, they also keep your feet warm. There are two different types of socks—knee-high and crew cuts, the latter of which is noticeably shorter in length. While it depends on the individual style, most socks are made out of cotton, wool, or synthetic fabrics.

washing soccer socks

As you can imagine, they can get quite filthy after a long game. Let’s take a look at how you can clean and deodorize them.

Putting Soccer Socks in the Washer

The easiest way to clean your socks is to toss them into the washing machine. If you have multiple pairs, you’ll want to separate them by color as to prevent unwanted bleeding. For the best results, turn them inside out—this will not only allow it to wash out the odor-causing residues, but will reduce piling as well. Set the machine to delicate, and pour in some ACTIVE detergent. From there, you can start the washer.

Handwashing Your Socks

Alternatively, you can wash them by hand. To do so, fill a sink or a tub with soapy water—we recommend using ACTIVE detergent. Turn the socks inside out and put them in the solution. To saturate them, move them around in the water with your hands. From there, allow them to soak for 10-15 minutes. When you’re satisfied with how clean they are, rinse them with cold water. Avoid twisting or wringing the socks as that can stretch the material.

Using a towel, press out the excess water. Do this a few times before hanging them up to dry. Avoid putting your socks in the dryer as that can damage the elastic.

How to Wash Soccer Shorts

Soccer shorts are similar to jerseys in that they are typically made out of polyester. As a matter of fact, you can wash them pretty much in the same way (perhaps even together)!

how to wash soccer shorts

To reiterate, you can either toss them in the washing machine or hand wash them. For the former, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using a gentle cleaner such as ACTIVE detergent and that you’re washing it on a delicate cycle with cold water. Otherwise, you might risk damaging the fabric. As always, you also want to wash them with like colors to prevent bleeding.

As far as hand washing goes, you can follow the same set of instructions that we laid out for the soccer jerseys above.

The Best Way to Clean & Deodorize Soccer Shin Guards and Pads

Soccer shin guards are exactly what they sound like—they protect your shins from damage when you’re out playing a game. Today, most are constructed with a hard outer casting and some sort of rubber padding on the inside. More often than not, they are made from synthetic materials such as foam rubber, polyurethane, and plastic.

Putting Shin Guards and Pads into the Washing Machine

Believe it or not, it’s perfectly fine for you to put your shin guards into the washing machine. As long as you use a gentle cycle and follow the instructions on the care label, they will come out fine!

If your shin guards have a plastic casting, you’ll want to put them in a laundry bag—this will prevent it from getting damaged during the cycle. If you don’t have a mesh bag, you can put them in a pillowcase. Add a bit of ACTIVE detergent to the machine and start the machine. When it’s complete, allow them to air dry. Do not put them in the dryer.

how to clean shin guards

Handwashing Your Shin Guards and Pads

If they’re not too dirty, you can also handwash them. Using a small brush, gently scrub the surface with soapy water to get rid of the dirt and debris. To neutralize odor, you can add a little bit of vinegar to the solution.

Note: This method works best for plastic shin guards

Deodorizing Your Shin Guards and Pads

In between washes, it might be a good idea to spray your shin guards with a type of anti-bacterial deodorizer spray. This will help to prevent germs from growing on the surface; it will also extend the life of the product.

Washing Your Soccer Gloves

Soccer is unique in that only goalkeepers wear gloves. Seeing as how their job is to catch the ball, it’s not surprising to know that they get muddy and stained every once in a while!

Fortunately, they are fairly easy to clean. What you want to do is fill a small tub (make sure that the gloves are able to fit comfortably) with lukewarm water. Add a bit of ACTIVE detergent to the water and swirl it around to mix the solution. Soak the gloves in the liquid. Using your hands, gently rub the surface of the gloves—you’ll want to rub each finger to get rid of the mud and dirt.

Once you’re done, you can use a towel to get rid of the excess water. Avoid wringing or twisting the gloves as that can damage the fabric. Allow them to air dry.

How to Remove Odors from Soccer Cleats

Your soccer cleats can take quite a beating on the field. First things first, you’ll want to get rid of the dirt by hitting them (gently) against each other sole to sole. From there, scrub the bottom with a soft brush—this should loosen up any dirt or mud that is attached to the sole.

best way to clean soccer cleats

Pro-tip: A toothbrush is great for cleaning the soles of your cleats!

Afterward, you’ll want to mix together a cleaning solution. To do this, add a little bit of ACTIVE detergent to a container of warm water. Dip your brush into the solution and use it to clean the soles of your cleats. Depending on how dirty it is, you might have to rinse your brush under clean water a few times.

Using the same brush and soapy solution, you can clean the top and sides of your cleats. Just remember to remove the laces before you get started. When you’re satisfied with how they look, you can dry them off with a towel.

Note: Never put your soccer cleats in the washing machine as this can damage them beyond repair!

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Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

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