If you have a child involved in sports you know the joy of cleaning their beloved sports gear. From stinky basketball shoes, to soccer shin guards, and the jerseys they wear to practice, games, and tournaments, it can seem daunting to keep it all clean. We are going to look at a few tips for keeping your kid’s gear stink-free and hopefully, keeping it in good condition for their entire season!

Out of the Bag

A big contributor to smelly sports gear is keeping it stuffed in a bag. It is easy for kids to smush their shoes, socks, jerseys, and more into their bag after a game and throw it in the back of the car, only to be discovered the next practice they need to use it at. Let’s hope that it wasn’t an outdoor game when it was raining, because wet clothing and gear can start to mildew when stored in a bag. Even sweaty clothing can become worse when confined in a sports bag. Teach your children to take their gear out of their bag when you get home, and put it in the appropriate place: the washing machine, a designated shoe or ball bin, or outside to dry and air out. If gear is never left to fester, you will have an easier time cleaning it and keeping the smells to a minimum.

Air Dry

Sometimes you just don’t have the time to wash your kid’s jerseys after every game or practice, especially if they are in a tournament that goes all weekend! Don’t sweat it (no pun intended)! Turn the jersey inside out and hang it up to dry—your best option is outdoors where the wind can freshen it without fully washing. Even indoors, hanging up your gear and letting it air out is better than nothing. Let items that are muddy air dry before washing as well—the mud will be easier to scrape or vacuum off and won’t cause a bigger problem in your washing machine. Really smelly shoes can be kept outside overnight, preventing them from infiltrating your house.


We play hard in our sports gear and uniforms, and they require a little extra attention when it comes time to wash. You can use a product specifically designed to pretreat, or you can just pour laundry detergent directly on the areas you want to concentrate on. Grass stains, sweat stains, dirt, clay from a track, and asphalt can all create stains that need a little extra help to disappear. If the item has gone for awhile without being washed, or if it is really dirty, you may want to soak it in a bucket before it heads to the wash. If you don’t have time to wash the items right away, get some kind of pretreatment on them so that the stains don’t set.

Inside Out

The best way to preserve jerseys that have lettering, designs, or logos that you want to keep pristine is to turn them inside out before washing. This will protect the designs and keep them from peeling or fraying. Inside out washing is also good for other sports equipment that can be put in the washer, and keeps the delicate outer layers from becoming too worn.

Wash it All!

Double check the labels, but it is likely that your gloves, knee braces, shin guards, and pads can all be thrown in the washing machine. Not only does this make your washing routine easier, it can actually get those items cleaner than washing by hand. If you have small items, or items with hard plastic, put them in a mesh bag to avoid catching on other clothing or gear. Usually the washing machine is okay for delicate gear, but you should avoid the dryer and air dry these items. If you find that you are able to wash your child’s gear and clothing in the washing machine, it will make keeping everything clean and fresh so much easier!

Water Bottles

An essential piece of gear for every athlete is a water bottle to keep them hydrated and performing great. Especially if you put liquids other than water in your bottle, such as Gatorade, it can eventually start to smell or taste off. Get a brush that fits the inside of your bottle so that you can scrub every part and make sure you are getting it really clean. Soaking your bottle in baking soda, or using white vinegar, can help to draw out odors and restore your bottle to its original freshness. A cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol can get into the small parts of your bottle’s lid or mouthpiece and will sterilize in the process. Keep your kid’s bottles clean and they will be motivated to drink more water!


The baseball hat is an essential piece of gear for many sports, and can get really dirty, especially on the inside. But putting your hat in the washing machine is definitely not a good idea, unless you like a misshapen hat! A great tip for baseball hats is to put them on the top rack of your dishwasher! Of course, don’t put it in with dirty dishes! Clothespin in onto the rack, wash, and air-dry for a fresh, clean hat.

Take it Outside

Some items just can’t be washed in the machine, such as balls, bats, cones, and leather gloves. These items can be cleaned outside, and if they can handle water, you can use the hose. If they are more delicate, scrubbing them with a dry or slightly damp brush can eliminate much of the dirt and buildup. Items that can handle water can be sprayed with the hose and dried in the sunshine.

So don’t let your kid’s sports equipment become a nightmare to clean! Follow these tips and have clean, fresh gear that everyone is happy about. If you are wanting high-quality, custom jerseys or uniforms, you need to turn to Moneyball Sportswear! We can supply you with uniforms for any sport, all you need to do is keep them clean!