School is back in session, and textbooks aren’t the only things your kids are hauling home. Now that extracurricular activities like football, volleyball, and cross country are starting, your kids are bringing dirty, smelly sports clothes and gear back into your nice, clean house. So what are you going to do about it?
Prevent your kids’ clothes from stinking up your home by following these four main sports cleaning tips:
1. Keep Everything Organized
The first step in caring for your kids’ sports clothes and gear is getting everything organized.
Designate specific totes, boxes, and gym bags for each individual child and sport so that you can ensure easy access to clothes and equipment at all times.
Is your daughter in both dance and volleyball? Get her a duffel bag for each so that she’ll always know where to find her pointe shoes and where to find her kneepads. Do you have two children who are both in baseball? Buy a different-colored tub for each one so that they can keep their bats, balls, helmets, and gloves separate.
When you have your storage containers figured out, find a permanent place for them, like a corner of your garage or a closet in your basement. Not only will you be able to find things quickly, but you’ll also keep odors confined to that one space, rather than letting them permeate your entire home.
2. Keep Everything Dry
Another secret to keeping sports clothes and gear clean is making sure they are allowed to dry before being put away.
We know how kids are–they stuff their gear into their bags after practice…and then promptly forget about it until the next time. But then you’re left with gear (and bags) that are hopelessly stinky.
Make sure that the second your kids get home from practice, they empty their gym bags and place their clothes in the laundry. It’s best to wash them as soon as possible so the smell doesn’t settle–not to mention nasty mold and bacteria that can breed in the fabric if it’s been sitting too long.
But don’t feel bad if you aren’t able to wash your kids’ jerseys after every single practice. Weather permitting, you can simply turn them inside out and hang them out to dry, preferably in the sun — its rays actually act as a natural bacteria deterrent. Mixed with fresh air, it’s one of the best ways to eliminate odors.
3. Pretreat Before Washing
When it’s time to wash uniforms or equipment, don’t just throw them in the washer. Make sure you pretreat them first.
You can use either regular laundry detergent, a homemade solution of vinegar and water, or straight-up baking soda to pretreat sports clothes. (Pro tip: You can also sprinkle baking soda in your child’s shoes to soak up post-practice smells.)
Apply the pretreatment to sweat stains, grass stains, or the entire garment, depending on how dirty it is. If needed, soak the garment for several hours before putting it in the wash.
4. Wash Clothes and Gear Properly
Once your child’s clothes or gear are properly pretreated, you can toss them in the washer. If you’re washing a uniform with plastic lettering, turn it inside out first to protect the lettering.
Be sure you don’t overstuff the machine, as it won’t be able to rinse all the gunk off everything if there are too many clothes jammed in there. Also, avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach on sensitive material like padding or foam.
Contrary to popular belief, you can (and should) machine-wash most sports equipment, including shin guards, pads, and gloves. However, make sure to use warm water (not hot), and place padded items with plastic in mesh bags to avoid scratching. Don’t put equipment in the dryer unless the care tag says it’s okay.
When It’s Time to Call the Pros
All these sports cleaning tips are all well and good, but what do you do when you try them all–and your gear is still stinky and gross?
The easy solution is to simply purchase replacement gear. But it costs a lot of money to buy brand-new clothes and equipment all the time.
Instead of starting from scratch, consider calling a professional cleaning company like INTEK to take care of your sports cleaning for you. Our contents restoration service uses an innovative washing system called the S-3300 Esporta Wash System to effectively disinfect soft contents, personal protective gear and all types of sports equipment. In fact, it can kill 99.9% of bacteria, including Staph and MRSA.
Click the link below to learn more about our sports cleaning services in Sioux Falls and Yankton!