It’s been a month since I started Roller Derby, and I decided to clean my gear once a month, so it’s time!

Here are my tips on how to take care of your gear. These come mostly from the Internet, and for the ones I tried, I only tried them once, so just keep that in mind 🙂 (that means I’m not responsible if you fuck up your gear)

Note: nobody is gonna force you to wash your gear, and if you don’t mind the smell, you might think that it’s no use to wash them. But keep in mind that it’s really not hygienic, and that your fellow skaters will mind when you do exercises together. Just saying!

Everyday routine

After every practice, I take out all my gear and display it on top of my washing machine so that it doesn’t marinate in a closed bag. It’s even better if you use a drying rack, but mine takes took much space.

As you probably all know by now, gear starts smelling quite funky, quite quickly. This is not only due to your sweat, but mostly to the bacteria that make their tiny nest in this warm and moist environment, and decide to start a family. To prevent some of the smell, you first have to prevent the bacteria growth, which can be done by simply taking the gear out.

Some people spray the gear with vodka to kill all smells, but vodka is expensive in Finland, and to be honest I prefer to wash them regularly than to have them not smelling anything but still full of old sweat…

How to wash your pads

Even if you take your gear out after every practice, there will come a time it will start smelling anyway. And if you don’t want to be one of these skaters that can be recognized by smell alone, it’s time to wash them!

Important: Pads usually take between 24 and 48 hours to dry, so be careful to not wash them too close to a practice!

Washing Machine

A vet in my team told me I could put them directly in the washing machine, but at the same time mentioned that it once damaged some of her pads. So it might be a solution for very busy people, but I preferred a safer way.

If you put them in the washing machine, here are a few advice:

  • Attach the velcro straps of every pad, so that they don’t catch on another pad and stretch accidentally
  • Put them in some kind of bag (I heard an old pillow case works fine), which should prevent the plastic parts to get damaged against the metal parts of the machine
  • Add a cup of vinegar with the laundry detergent
  • Hottest temperature (that would scare me because of the plastic parts, but that’s what all websites say, so…)
  • Gentler / softer cycle
  • Even better if you have a “soak in” option

Hand washing

This method actually doesn’t take as long as it seems! You just need to let your gear soak for a total of 45+ min so make sure you have the time to do it 🙂

You’ll need:

  • dirty pads, paddings from your helmet
  • a sink (or bathtub, or something similar)
  • white vinegar
  • unscented & undyed laundry detergent
  • baking soda
  • gloves if you want to protect your hands

Let’s do this!

  1. Fill your sink with warm water, put all your pads and helmet padding inside, and add 1 cup of white vinegar (at the end to avoid the nasty vinegar fumes in your face)
  2. Let sink in for about 30 minutes
  3. Rinse everything and drain the sink
  4. Fill sink with warm water again, this time adding 1/2 cup of baking soda and some laundry detergent. Add your gear and stir it a bit.
  5. Let sink in for about 15+ min
  6. Rinse everything well
  7. Put somewhere to dry!



Bonus: it will also clean your gear from dust and will make it shiny again 😀