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The War on Smell: How to Keep Your Soccer Gear Fresh!

If you are a soccer athlete soccer, you’ve had to deal with “The Smell”. "The Smell" that words cannot describe; usually soccer cleats, goalkeeper gloves, and shin guards after a long training session or rainy game. We’ve all heard the horror stories and “attempted solutions” like:

  • Goalkeeper gloves hanging outside car windows while driving

  • Soccer cleats mandated to the trunk or the Ziploc bag “solution”

  • Driving with the windows down in freezing weather

  • Wanting to throw up after forgetting cleats inside your car

We’ve even heard one family's last ditch option included a pack of matches and a fire pit! But what would you say if we told you there are steps you can follow to not only reduce “soccer smell” but even prevent it?? Check out our QTSD© List of “DO’s and DON’Ts” to prevent soccer and sports equipment odor.....for all of our sakes!

#1 - DRY YOUR EQUIPMENT OUT! Prevention - this is the first step. If cleats and equipment are maintained properly, then half the battle is already over. Do not allow your equipment to stay wet longer than absolutely necessary! Whether that means using a hotel room air conditioner fan or opening up your laces to stuff absorbent newspaper inside, you must reduce the amount of time bacteria has to grow (hence the disgusting smell). Easy way to accomplish this? Fans. Seriously, all you need is the following:

These small battery powered fans fit into soccer cleats and start the drying process early. When you get home, the next step would be to use a small personal fan to complete the drying process; setting your cleats, shin guards and insoles up against overnight. They will be dry by morning and you can go right back to training! This applies to goalkeeper gloves as well. Dry in front of small fan or sliding a mini fan inside will effectively dry your gloves; helping to maintain the equipment quality (and keep your sanity during the season!)

**Important Note - for leather soccer cleats or goalkeeper gloves, be sure to re-apply leather food (cleats) or GloveGlu (goalkeeper gloves) before using again. Dried material must be re-conditioned or they can become over-dry and brittle.**

#2 - CLEAN AND MAINTAIN YOUR EQUIPMENT: Wear and tear will eventually happen but if you maintain your equipment, you can still keep smells at bay! Clean equipment will harbor less bacteria growth and remain friendly to your nose. Consider occasionally wiping down your shin guards with Lysol wipes. Wipe your soccer cleats down and waterproof them to prevent moisture from entering in excess (more leather than synthetic). Less bacteria = less smell!

Waterproofing your leather cleats with Chelsea Leather Food will prevent excess moisture collection in your cleats. We recommend wiping your cleats down the day after your training session.

For goalkeeper gloves, it is the same deal! Don’t spit on your gloves (literally adding bacteria to the latex foam). A better option would be to use GloveGlu and Glove Restorer that adds grip to gloves without the smell.

#3 - WASH YOUR EQUIPMENT: Eventually, the best option is to wash gear that is washable. That includes soccer shoe insoles, soccer uniforms, socks, under armour, etc. The key is to kill the bacteria, not just mask it with scented laundry detergent. The best detergent we have found is hands down is BioKleen Sport Laundry Liquid. It is super concentrated, all natural and leaves the smelliest soccer laundry smelling brand new. We’ve tried many different detergents and this is the only one that has actually worked! For cleats and other equipment that cannot be washed in a washer, we highly recommend GlearGear Sports Spray. It is a hospital grade disinfectant (Cleaner/Deoderizer/Virucidal/Fungicidal) perfect for shin guards, cleats, etc. We do recommend spraying with gloves on and in a well ventilated area. It takes about a day to fully take effect but is the strongest option in the war on smell! #4 - CONSIDER THE EQUIPMENT YOU PURCHASE: Lastly, we recommend considering the type of equipment you purchase. Some materials absorb moisture quicker than others and cause stink easier. Breathability is a big deal. When choosing cleats, material should be considered. Leather soccer cleats are much more breathable than the popular synthetic models popular. Unfortunately, synthetic cleats trap moisture easier. We’ve used both styles of shoes and synthetic definitely accumulate odors quicker. Well, there you have it! We are athletes and we will sweat. But we do not have to stink. If you take the easy steps of drying your equipment out and minimizing the bacteria growth, this season can be one of fresh spring scents; both outside AND inside your car!

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