While they aren’t always an obvious choice as part of a soccer player's kit bag, shin pads are a vital part of soccer equipment and it is impossible to play the game at the top level without them. As with all of the other items in our kit bags, it is important to keep shin pads clean and free of bacteria, so we've written a guide on how to clean shin pads in the article below.
Shin pads are notorious for their bad odour after use over a prolonged period and the smell is often so pungent that it can provoke tears!!! It is often a case of holding your nose while attaching shin pads to the legs to ensure that you don’t get a whiff of the awful scent. Like with most things, when there is a bad small emulating from your shin pads, it certainly isn’t good but cleaning them is something that is largely unheard of. Today we'll look at how to successfully clean your shin pads, to keep them odour free.
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So, how do you clean soccer shin guards?...
First things first, it is important that you leave them to dry before attempting to clean them, so don’t do them immediately after a match. I would like to hope that you don’t have the energy after a match for cleaning, if you’ve worked hard enough!
If you have a sink or a bowl of some description that is big enough, use that and place the dry shin guards inside. If they are a lighter pair of shin guards, then you don’t want them to float around freely in the water. You will need to place something heavier on top of them prior to adding water so that they are not moving around when the water is eventually added.
You need to slowly add the water at this point from the tap, ensuring the flow of water isn’t too fast. Stop when the entirety of both shin guards are fully submerged under the water, this is important so that both guards get the full cleaning treatment on the inside and the outside.
The next step is to add a small amount of your standard washing detergent, make sure it isn’t too strong though as it could affect the material of the shin guard. Also, add a sprinkling of baking soda to the water for the purpose of removing any bacteria build up on the inside of the shin guard. The water should foam up slightly, which is normal and is nothing to worry about.
Then, all you need to do is leave the shin guards in the solution for a period of between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on how dirty (or stinky) they are. There isn’t any need to leave them in for longer than half an hour, as the effectiveness of the solution will have worn off by this stage.
After this, remove whatever you have used to hold the shin guards down and take them out of the water. Shake them to remove the excess water and give them a quick wipe down with a small towel or cloth. Avoid using tissue as this will leave little bits stuck to them and they will be potentially hard to get off. Then place the damp shin guards on top of the towel or cloth with the inside facing upwards, as that part will often take longer to fully dry. Natural air drying is much better for your shin guards as it allows the foam inside to dry fully due to the increased density of that part.
To ensure the shin guards are completely clean, it is useful to spray them with a disinfectant to remove any possible chance of fungus build up on the surface, which would ruin them. Just a light spray over the whole of the inside of the guards should be plenty to make sure this doesn’t happen. Leave your shin guards for a few hours just to make sure they are completely dry and ready to use.
I wouldn’t recommend cleaning your shin guards on a day that they might be used just for the fact of them possibly being slightly damp when you go to put them on!!!
Another way to clean your shin guards that is easier and possibly quicker is to put them in the washing machine, but before doing this ensure they are able to be washed using the washing machine. This information should be on either the packaging they came in or on the label which should be found on the inside of the shin guard. Instructions on how to wash them like that should be found in the same place.
Hand washing shin guards with a wet cloth may work to remove the odour in the short term but won’t solve the problem long term and as soon as you wear them after hand washing, that odour could come back even worse. Hand washing isn’t recommended unless you only have a short period of time available.
The Quick Scrub Technique
There's going to be times when you just don't have time to let your shin guards soak, but if you give them a proper scrubbing as shown in this video, this can certainly help.
However, remember in the long term the smell will just come back so it's best to follow our steps
Sometimes, there is just nothing for it, you're going to have to throw away that old pair that are slowly rotting in the corner, and you won't look back. To give you a bit of a head start we've done a review of the Top 10 Soccer Shin Guards on the market today.
You'll soon find you'll have more friends around you once that bad odour has gone!!!
Following these steps on how to wash your shin guards will hopefully provide you with a pair of shin pads that are like new. Any scent that may exist on them will be a thing of the past and they will be bacteria-free. You can’t prevent sweating onto your shin guards when playing soccer, but you can prevent your shin guards from being dirty if you follow the easy steps mentioned above.
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