How to Wash Hockey Gloves – Reducing Hockey Glove Smell

Posted on May 17, 2024 by Dan Kent
clean hockey gloves

Unless you're a professional hockey player, you'll probably notice that your gloves and equipment aren't as fresh smelling as when you bought them. The pros have an unlimited supply of new hockey gear and access to top-notch cleaning facilities.

The rest of us must lug our hockey bags around from game to game and wash as much of our equipment as possible. So what about our gloves? Can they be cleaned? Can gloves be thrown into a washing machine?

How do you get the smell out of hockey gloves?

Fortunately, hockey gloves and most other items of hockey equipment can be washed or cleaned to keep the odours to a minimum. It may surprise you, but the easiest way to keep your gloves and some other equipment articles clean is to place them in a washing machine and then hang them up to air dry. 

Something like Nathan's Power Wash Detergent has been proven to be excellent for sports equipment.

Can you put hockey gloves in the washing machine?

The simplest way to keep your hockey gloves and other equipment bacteria-free is to place the items in a washing machine on a regular cycle. You may need a couple of warm or cold-water loads to clean it all, depending on how much gear you have and how big it is.

It's a good idea to place the equipment in the water before starting the cycle, as this will allow it to sink to the bottom of the machine when it's weighed down. Remove any extra objects from the gloves and any liners they may have and throw them separately. 

You may want to use a strong detergent to remove odours and stains, but it shouldn't contain bleach since this could weaken the material. 

White vinegar can be added to the fabric softener compartment of the washing machine or in the water as it helps to reduce odours naturally.

Vinegar will also eliminate any detergent residue that may be left on the equipment.

A disclaimer, however. Not all gloves can be washed inside the washing machine. So, read the manufacturer's suggestions, which will likely be located on a tag inside the glove.

Can you put hockey gloves in the dryer?

Hockey gloves should not go in the dryer. Instead, they should be air-dried. The intense heat of a dryer may shrink particular parts of the gloves, causing them to fit incorrectly or warp.

If you want to dry your gloves, you need to air dry them. If you're in a rush to dry your gloves, try to use a boot warmer on them.

Feel free to place your socks, neck-guard, jersey, jock/jill and any other types of clothing in the dryer, though.

Use a dryer to dry your gear quickly if absolutely needed. Great If you've got a game day coming up and your equipment is still wet from practice.

Washing hockey gloves by hand

Hockey gloves and other equipment can also be washed by hand in a sink with hot water, detergent and a cleaning booster/vinegar. Some players even wash it in a bathtub. Be sure to saturate the gloves/equipment in the water so they sink to the bottom and don't float.

After washing them, it's a good idea to let them soak for 30 to 60 minutes. It would help if you rinsed the gloves and equipment with clean, warm water to remove any leftover detergent.

Can I use a dishwasher to wash my hockey gloves?

Some hockey players wash smaller pieces of hockey equipment in a dishwasher if they fit. Place the items in the appliance but ensure the drying cycle is turned off. You can then use the hottest wash setting possible to wash the gear.

Be sure not to use a dishwashing detergent since many of them have harsh additives and bleaching properties, which can spoil the equipment. However, be sure the detergent you use is suitable for the equipment and dishwashing machine.

How long do hockey gloves take to dry?

Gloves take quite a while to dry. After washing them, you can expect them to take 24 hours to completely dry. As mentioned, if you're in a rush, you could use a boot warmer to accelerate the process.

Your gloves and equipment will dry quicker if you place a dehumidifier in the same room, which can help wick out some moisture. Also, if you can hang the equipment outside, the UV rays from the sun may help eliminate bacteria.

Why do my gloves stink?

Hockey players sweat when they practice and play, and this can produce bacteria as it grows in moist, warm areas. The bacteria which seeps into their hockey gloves and other equipment can then result in unpleasant odours.

If the gear isn't cleaned, it can worsen as it may become a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Furthermore, the bacteria in the equipment could lead to health problems such as infections, diseases, and rashes. It can also ruin the equipment by breaking down the fibres in it.

How to keep your hockey gloves smelling fresh

Washing your gloves and equipment after each practice or game is impossible, so the best way to keep them as fresh as possible is to air them out after each on-ice session

It's a good idea to take all your equipment out of the bag and hang it up to air out and dry. Drying racks are ideal for this.

Washing the rest of your hockey equipment

You can wash just about all items of hockey equipment in your machine other than helmets, skates, goalie pads, gloves, etc. Even something with hard surfaces like shoulder pads, elbow pads, or shin pads can be placed in a washing machine.

You can keep your skates fresh by drying the insoles after each use. You can also place some moisture-absorbing material in the boots if they're wet with sweat and a deodorizer.

As for your helmet, you can also air it out to dry and wipe down the inside with a bacteria-reducing cleaner and spray it with a deodorizer.

Professional cleaners for your hockey equipment

The fastest, easiest and cheapest way to clean hockey gloves and equipment is in a washing machine. Still, you also have the option of using a professional cleaning service. These companies can clean and sanitize all equipment and uniforms using well-tested professional methods.

Professional cleaners will, of course, charge a fee for their services. Still, they are an excellent option if you have the time and would like to have your gloves and equipment returned clean, sanitized and odor-free.

Hockey gloves and other articles of equipment are designed to take a beating, though, so don't be afraid to load them into your washing machine or wash them by hand whenever necessary.

How To Soften Hockey Gloves

If you've bought a new pair of mitts and you're wondering if you need to break them in – check out my guide: How to Break in or Soften Hockey Gloves.

Dan Kent

About the author

Growing up in a hockey hotbed (Calgary, Alberta. And yes, I'm an Oiler fan), I decided to put my love and knowledge of the game to work. I started at five and am still playing today into my early 30s. By acquiring Brave Stick Hockey and rebranding it to Big Shot Hockey in 2023, I plan to teach people about this great game and educate them on the best equipment and history of the game. On a career level, I am in finance, running one of the largest financial websites in Canada,

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