One of the biggest mistakes athletes make—usually without even realizing it—is not cleaning their gear. You don’t wear the same workout clothes on back to back days without washing them first. Why should your equipment be any different?
How does fresh gear help an athlete’s performance? For starters, it helps prevent illness or skin disease from developing.
In “How to Prevent Skin Rashes,” in the Back to School 2010 issue of STACK magazine, we discussed how easily bacteria and infections can be transferred via equipment, and we stressed the importance of keeping a clean locker.
Ultimate Gear Wash, a company that specializes in washing sports equipment, built their business on the belief that keeping their equipment clean helps keep athletes healthy.
Ultimate Gear Wash’s website states: “Much of today’s protective sports equipment uses space age, open cell, foam padding that acts as the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. More importantly, rampant overuse of antibiotics has opened the door for new strains of bacteria to evolve. These new strains are difficult to treat, and within hours can leave a victim with permanent skin and bone damage. There have even been recorded cases of these infections becoming fatal.”
Due to a dramatic increase in serious illnesses and infections among athletes, the NFL, NCAA, USA Hockey and U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued warnings to athletes and sports teams to begin routine cleaning of their equipment.
Use the following tips to keep your gear clean and prevent health issues from arising.
Keep disinfecting wipes in your locker. Clorox Wipes or other household disinfectants can kill bacteria on non-machine-washable gear. Make sure you keep wipes handy for a quick swabbing after practice.
Kill bacteria with bleach. Wash shoulder pads, helmets, shin guards and other equipment with a solution of one part bleach and 10 parts water. Spray or wipe it on the equipment, let it sit for one minute, then wipe dry with a paper towel.
Professionally clean your pads. Equipment sanitization companies like Ultimate Gear Wash, Fresh Gear and Sports O Zone disinfect athletic gear and equipment. The money spent is worth the assurance that your gear is totally bug-free.