What do the winning goal, the slide across home and the leap into the end zone have in common? They all end in celebration and a load of especially dirty laundry. While you may beam with pride, you’re also left to cope with dirt and grass stains, not to mention odor. All this laundry could leave you searching for tips on cleaning sports gear so that it’s ready for the next big score. Though sports laundry day can seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Keep these tricks in your back pocket for winning results.

Air It Out

The bag that holds sports equipment—it’s the culprit of bad odors. The good news is, it’s easy to get rid of the odor and keep it from coming back. After practices and game day, use the bag only to bring the laundry home but don’t store dirty gear inside the bag until wash day. Instead, take out shoes, clothes and pads to wash immediately or air out. If the sports bag is washable, make that a part of your laundry routine. If it isn’t machine washable, wipe it down or spray it with disinfectant to keep it fresh and clean.

Pretreat Stains 

Pretreat stains as soon as possible. Follow these tips to get even the toughest stains out:

  • Mud stains – Cover the stain with a small amount of liquid laundry detergent and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Using a wet soft bristle brush, scrub the stain and machine wash the garment. 
  • Grass stains – Mix three tablespoons baking soda and two tablespoons water to create a paste. Spread the paste over the stain and let it dry. Then mix one part white vinegar and two parts water in a bowl or tube and soak the stained item for 10-15 minutes. Scrub the stain with a soft bristle brush before washing. 
  • Blood stains – Rinse the stained item using cold water and rub the spot with your finger to loosen the stain. Soak the item in white vinegar for 10-15 minutes and machine wash with cold water. 

How to Wash A Jersey

When it’s time to wash your kids’ jerseys, a delicate touch is required to keep the material, patches, decals and stitching intact. There are several key steps on how to wash sports gear jerseys. First, wash them inside out on a cold-water delicate cycle with similar colors. It’s also important to air dry flat or line dry jerseys, as the heat of a dryer can cause shrinking or damage to the numbers and letters.

Tend to Non-Machine Washable Sports Laundry

For helmets, pads, shin guards and other non-machine washable sports equipment, there are still ways to keep them clean and smelling fresh. Scrub them with soapy water and a soft-bristle brush and let them fully air dry before storing. To help prevent odors from clinging to gear, spray items with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar.     

Kids play hard, but that doesn’t mean you have to work hard. The next time you’re cleaning sports gear, use these tips to help make your kids’ uniforms look and smell as good as new.