How to Keep your Teen’s Football Gear Clean and Stink Free

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You love your athlete, but probably don’t feel the same way about their laundry. Sports gear (especially gear that belongs to a teenage boy) can get incredibly stinky, these products have kept my son’s football uniforms and gear clean and stink-free.

Before you read on, let’s chat about germs

Back when I was in school we worried about cold and flu germs, strep throat, and athletes foot,  but times and germs have changed. MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infections are becoming more common in community settings, including schools. Infections among athletes, especially participants in contact sports (like football) have increased. Practicing good hygiene, and washing towels, uniforms, scrimmage shirts, and any other laundry in HOT water with ordinary detergent, and drying on the HOTTEST cycle after each use is sufficient to kill germs, but most modern athletic gear and clothing (ie. Under Armour) isn’t designed to be washed and dried in the hot setting. The use of sanitizing and disinfecting additives and sprays as part of my Football Gear Care Routine, not only kills odor-causing bacteria but I also have the peace of mind knowing I am helping keep my son infection free.

How to Keep your Teen’s Football Gear Clean and Stink Free

These are my favorite products to keep my son’s football clothing and gear clean and smelling fresh.  Like I said, this is what works for me, between the farm and the kid’s sports I’ve dealt with more than my share of gross laundry. 

Persil ProClean 2-in-1 Liquid Laundry Detergent

A while back I wrote about Wisk as being my favorite Laundry detergent, it still is for most things, but for the really nasty sweat-soaked, and mud-caked practice jerseys and game uniforms Persil is my go-to detergent, which actually happens to be made by the same company, Henkel. The scent is a little stronger than other detergents but there is a sensitive skin formula, and all the formulas – liquid, single-dose packs, and powder – of Persil ProClean contain a high-level of enzymes and will do an excellent job in removing body soil (and odor) from synthetic workout fabrics. The price of this detergent is in line with other premium detergents, but honestly, it is worth every penny, it cleans laundry better than any other detergent I have tried, and I have some pretty dirty laundry. The drawback with Persil is that it can be harsh on your day to day casual wear (khakis, polos, and cotton knits) and you may run into fading sooner than you expected if this is your only detergent. I like to have a bottle of Wisk on hand for sheets, towels, and casual wear, it is less expensive but still does a really good job cleaning, but for the really gross laundry, I use Persil ALL DAY LONG.


OxiClean White Revive Stain Remover

If your son is playing on a school team, odds are the uniforms have been around for more than one season. No joke, I Pre-Soak white uniforms for up to 6 hours before washing to revive dingy whites at the beginning of the season. During the season OxiClean is great for grass,  and blood stains. For best results with OxiClean, you must mix the solution correctly. Follow the directions on the package as to the amount to use per gallon of water. Be sure that all of the powder is dissolved completely before adding your stained garment.  OxiClean works best when “activated” with HOT water, you may want to mix the powder with a bit of hot water to dissolve completely and then add to the cooler water.

Lysol Laundry Sanitizer

One of the keys to successful odor removal from football clothes and jerseys is getting rid of the bacteria that gets trapped and breeds in the fabric. Lysol Laundry Sanitizer kills 99.9% of bacteria like Staphylococcus Aureus & Klebsiella pneumoniae, eliminating bacteria that may cause skin infections, and create lingering bad smells. This product is a must in our house during calving season on the farm, and football and wrestling season, the only drawback is that it is not super convenient to use. Lysol Laundry Sanitizer is added to the fabric softener compartment, but you have to stop the machine while it is in the rinse cycle and let the clothing soak for a MINIMUM of 16 minutes. I have figured out my machine takes 22 minutes to reach the rinse cycle so I throw my laundry in, and have Alexa set a timer for 22 minutes.  After my timer goes off, I run down and pause my machine, and have Alexa set another timer for 16 minutes. When my second timer is up I unpause my load for it to complete as usual. It is slightly more involved than running a standard load of laundry, but it is not unreasonable or horrible.

Clear Gear Spray

Clear Gear is my secret weapon for combating funky football gear odors. Chances are your kid has some gear that just can’t be thrown in the washer, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be cleaned! Clear Gear Spray is a disinfecting and deodorizing spray for athletic gear and equipment that can’t easily be washed or shouldn’t be soaked, that kills 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, and gets rid of smells. This is a must for the gear that is usually responsible for football stink; shoulder pads, helmet, and cleats. For best results spray gear, and the inside of any duffle bags that were used to transport the gear after each use. My son actually will remind me to spray his shoulders pads, because if I forget for a few days the football stink will return.  Clear Gear is used by professional sports teams in the NFL, MLB, and NHL to keep players infection free, and is available on Amazon.

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