Thursday, January 20, 2011

How to Wash Your Roller Derby Pads and Mouthguard

Sometimes I open up my gear bag and am overwhelmed by the stink. Yuck! We work hard during practice, and some of us sweat a lot. I'll be honest: for a while, I didn't really bother washing my pads. I actually just left my gear bag in the car because I was too lazy to bring it inside. Once in a while I'd wash them, but not regularly.

I've turned over a new leaf. I'm sick of smelly pads! I try to make it a habit to always bring my pads inside and at least open up the bag to let them air out. That's a good start. I now also try to wash them once a week.

Washing your pads can be as simple as throwing them in your bathtub and letting them soak in hot water and color safe bleach. I prefer to just throw them in the washing machine.

Make sure when you wash your pads in the machine that you pre-velcro everything so the pads don't stick together and get stretched out.

Next, I put my pads in a zippered mesh bag so they don't get tossed and tumbled around too much.

Washing machine settings
+ Hot water;
+ Not too much detergent. I use the same stuff I wash my clothes with, but you can also use color safe bleach;
+ Gentle cycle;
+ Soak option, if available.

Drying instructions
Hang to dry! Don't put 'em in the dryer (at least according to all the internet research I've done.) A word of caution: pads can take 1 - 2 days to dry don't wash them the night before you have practice!  When it's nice outside, you can also hang them outside to dry.
I hang my pads up to dry in our laundry room, which is pretty warm so they do dry rather fast.
So fresh and clean!

My custom mouthguard...the case has small holes
in it to allow it to dry. But I still need to wash it!
OK, so...what about your mouthguard? Again, I've been guilty of just tossing it in my derby bag and letting it sit. Then I upgraded to a mouthguard case with air holes, so it wasn't exposed and could properly dry out. A quick google search of "bacteria mouth guards" yields some scary results, including this article.

There are a few options for washing your mouthguard (note, these are just recommended methods, but not anything approved by medical professionals or whatever):

+ pure lemon juice soak
+ listerine before and after use
+ solution of water/ bleach
+ a scotch/ whiskey bath
+ brushing your mouthguard with a toothbrush and toothpaste... which is what I do!

Brusha brusha brusha. Kinda messy, but getting it clean!

How do you wash your gear? How often do you wash it?


  1. I'm sure I don't wash my pads enough lol! I use the dishwasher with regular dishwasher detergent and it work great. I air dry of course. I always let my stuff air dry after practice at least. Thanks for the reminder that I wanted to wash my pads today!


  2. Ugh oh ew oh my gosh I never thought about the mouthguard issue!!!!! EW I'm gonna run home and throw that baby in some Listerine and never take it out! (I should get a jar of the stuff and store it in there in my bag!!! We'll see. Might be just as gross after a week or so.)
    I hand-wash my pads, soak overnight in Oxy powder and detergent, then air-dry. I have tried a vinegar soak, followed by a thorough rinsing, but usually I don't have the time. Unfortunately, after four years, my wristguards will never not stink. I am making my peace with this. Adieu, sweet Pro-Designed wristguards, I must replace you this season. You've been good to Mama.
    The real problem is that I don't usually have more than a day or two without a practice session at this time of the season, so it's really really really hard to get the time to wash my things as often as I'd like.
    But when it's sunny out, it only takes a couple of hours for them to dry. Can't wait for spring. And did you know sun's UV rays are antibacterial? Yup! So they stink a whole lot less when sun-dried too. Man I can't wait for spring...

  3. I don't wash my pads near enough but when I do, I soak them in the washer with white vinegar and baking soda and then wash them with Tide Sport. In between practices, I air them out in my bathtub and place pouches (that I make) in the pads to absorb the sweat and odor. So far they work really well!

    I try not to think about all the crud on my

  4. GREAT info! I am doing the mouthguard thing TONIGHT- I cant believe I never thought to clean that piece of equipment. Also, JP's wife Sarah gave me a great recipe for anti-funk spray I will post to the hellions fb page as soon as i find it.

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  7. I got my gear on March and yesterday was the first time I washed everything because the corpse-like smell was unbearable. I soaked mi pads in water, white vinegar and some conditioner overnight. NExt morning I brushed it with an old toothsbrush to get the dirt out and left the to air-dry. Now I'll wash them more often!

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