How To Wash Lacrosse Gear: (16 Tips)

How To Wash Lacrosse Gear

Lacrosse is a high-intensity sport and you will be drenched in sweat at the end of the game. To make sure you are not the stinky player on the team and your equipment is taken care of, this guide takes you through how to wash lacrosse gear.

Lacrosse gear should be cleaned and deodorized on a weekly basis after a couple practices or games. For pads, gloves, and cleats, use a damp cloth and low-pH detergent to wash them. Your uniform can be machine washed using a cold cycle. Wipe all parts of the stick and helmet including inside, the chin guard, and the face covering using a mild detergent on a cloth. Wipe the inside of your gear bag with a damp cloth or antibacterial wipe and spray with a sanitizing spray.

Lacrosse gear, like most sports gear, is going to get covered in sweat. Not cleaning it properly can lead to more than just bad odors. Bacteria can grow putting your health at risk. 

You should always strive to keep your lacrosse gear clean. But what if you are unsure about the best ways to do this? This guide has all your answers in one easy spot.

Some equipment or gear may require special washing and drying, whereas other items can go in the washing machine. Knowing how to wash all your gear properly will ensure it gets clean and maintains its integrity. 

Washing something incorrectly can cause shrinkage or weaken materials. The tips here will help you wash all your lacrosse gear the right way, so you are good to go for game time.

Can You Wash Lacrosse Equipment

The sweat you lose during a lacrosse game absorbs into all the gear. Everything from your jersey and gloves, to your cleats and stick are drenched in sweat. 

While this means you played hard and are healthy, it is not so good for your lacrosse gear. Sweat that is allowed to sit develops unpleasant odors. This is the result of bacteria collecting which is poor hygiene and poor for your health.

This is why you want to keep your lacrosse gear clean. There are different ways to wash your uniform and gear and some items require specific cleaning methods. 

It is important to know how to wash your lacrosse gear properly to keep it in good shape. Always follow the instructions on the tags of your gear. The best ways to wash lacrosse gear include:

  • Hand Washing: Gloves, shoulder pads, and jerseys should be washed by hand when possible. They can be machine washed, but there is a risk of damaging them. Pads and gloves, especially, are better when washed by hand because they are partially made from leather. The same goes for your cleats. The laces can be washed in the washing machine or soaked in bleach if they are white. For pads, gloves, and cleats, use a damp cloth and low-pH detergent to wash them.
  • Machine Washing: This is ok for most of the lacrosse gear, especially if it is really dirty. Your uniform can always be machine washed. Just be sure to follow the instructions on the tag regarding temperatures. When in doubt, use a cold-water cycle. Never use hot water when washing any gear that is made of leather such as pads and gloves. Cleats that are very dirty can be washed in a machine too.
  • Washing a Helmet: This will be done by hand, using a damp cloth. Wipe all parts of the helmet including inside, the chin guard, and the face covering. You can use a mild detergent to the cloth to help remove and prevent bacteria. Alternatively, you can use an antibacterial wipe.
  • Washing a Stick: The handle can be wiped down with water and detergent if it is very dirty. The pocket can be rinsed with cold water and you can then shape it the way you like before it dries. Stuff the pocket with newspaper to remove moisture and help hold its shape.
  • Washing Your Gear Bag: Always empty the bag after games and practice. Wipe the inside with a damp cloth or antibacterial wipe and spray with a sanitizing spray. If the bag is really dirty, you can also throw it in the washer using a cold cycle.

Best Way To Wash Lacrosse Gear

It is important to keep your lacrosse gear clean and deodorized. Each time you play, you sweat and if this accumulates in your jersey and gear, it will begin to smell. 

Not only is this unpleasant and unhygienic, but it can be bad for your health. The smells are caused by a buildup of bacteria that are attracted to your sweat.

This guide will take you through the different ways to clean, dry, and deodorize your lacrosse gear, but the best way will always be hand washing. 

Because much of the gear is made from leather, hand washing offers a more delicate wash. Air drying also protects the leather from extreme heats that can crack and shrink the leather.

With hand washing, you can use a mild detergent that will get the gear clean and remove odors. It is important to always use cold water or lukewarm water. 

If items are heavily covered in mud or dirt, they can soak for about ten minutes in soapy water. Use a soft cloth to wipe away dirt. For very tough stains, you can apply detergent directly to the spot with a little water, gently rub it in, and then let it soak.

Shoulder pads and cleats should always be washed by hand because of the leather. Your jersey can be machine washed, but to protect fading hand washing is the better option. 

Washing too often can damage the leather, so you want to minimize how often you do this. To help reduce odors in between washes, always hang your gloves or pads out to dry after wearing them. Do not put them in your bag until they are dry, and you can place dryer sheets in the bag too.

How To Clean Lacrosse Gear

Lacrosse gear can be washed by hand or in the machine. It depends on what you are washing. What matters is that you wash the equipment regularly. 

There are specific ways to wash, dry, and deodorize each piece of your lacrosse gear. To make sure your gear lasts, follow these steps to get all your gear properly cleaned and ready for the field.

How To Wash Lacrosse Gloves

You can wash your gloves by hand or in the machine. Depending on how dirty they are, hand washing is usually the best method. For gloves that are not really dirty, you can ripe them down with a damp cloth and light detergent. 

If they are very dirty you can wash them in the tub. Fill the tub with warm water and add ¼ cup laundry detergent. Let them soak for ten minutes and then wipe them clean with a soft cloth.

If you use a machine for your gloves, put them on a gentle, low cycle. Do not use any detergents that contain bleach. Gloves need to be fully dried before wearing them again. 

Do not put them in a dryer. Hang them up to dry and do not put them back in your bag until they are dried all the way through.

If you have practice or games frequently, it may be better to hand wash using a cloth instead of soaking. They will dry quicker this way. Save the more thorough cleaning for when you have more time between wearing them.

How To Clean Lacrosse Pads and Elbow Pads

All lacrosse pads should be hand washed. These are usually made from leather and can be damaged by machine washing. 

Mix a detergent that has a pH less than 10 with water and wipe the pads with a cloth. You can also add a tablespoon of fabric softener to help remove odors and help maintain flexibility of the material.

Pads cannot go in the dryer and must be air dried. The leather and plastic pieces of the pads will be damaged by the heat. Stuff the pads with cloth or newspaper to absorb moisture and let them dry overnight.

Remember that shoulder pads will have straps and you will want to undo these and allow the pads to stretch out as much as they can. The more open they are, the better the airflow. 

If you are not able to do this right after you play, make sure you set them out as soon as you get home. Be sure to apply deodorizing spray to both sides. Let one side completely dry before flipping to clean the other side.

How To Clean A Lacrosse Helmet

Your helmet will be hand washed using a damp cloth. Create a mixture of warm water and a mild detergent to wash the inside and outside of the helmet. The ratio of the solution needs to be 1-part detergent to 16 parts water.

You also need to wipe down the chin guard and face mask. You can also wipe down the surfaces with a sanitizing wipe or use a sanitizing spray and cloth. 

The helmet will need to be air dried as extreme heat will cause damage. Using a dry towel, wipe off any excess moisture, then let the helmet sit out until it is completely dry.

When it comes to the helmet, many cut corners and assume a simple wipe across the surface will work. You also need to wipe inside and use a disinfectant spray. 

Many of the sports deodorizing sprays are designed to be left on. You can spray and wipe every surface of the helmet and then spray again with a coat to leave on. Do this after each time you wear the helmet.

How To Clean A Lacrosse Stick

Your lacrosse stick can be sprayed down with a hose and then wiped with a cloth to remove dirt and debris. You can dry the stick with a towel or leave it to dry. The lacrosse stick pocket needs to be washed with cold water and a very mild dish soap.

Let it soak in a solution of soapy water for between 5 and 10 minutes. Rinse the soap away. Shape the pocket as you like. It should be facing outward in the position you use it when playing. 

Stuff it with newspaper to help keep its shape while drying. This also absorbs any excess moisture. The pocket needs to be allowed to air dry.

You need to make sure the pocket is pounded out so it can dry properly. If it dries crumpled up, your game play will be affected. The plastic at the throat of the stick can also deform as the stick ages. 

There are rules about how pinched a throat can be so make sure you check your league for the rules on this so you are allowed to play. If you do notice that the throat is getting too tight, stick a softball in there when it is not in use.

How To Wash Lacrosse Cleats

Cleats that are extremely dirty can be washed in the machine on a cold cycle. Washing them by hand is preferred however, if they are not caked in mud. Cleats can be washed using a mixture of vinegar and cold water.

Create a 50:50 solution using distilled white vinegar. Untie or remove the laces so the cleats can be fully opened up. 

If you remove the laces, they can be washed separately in a machine or soaked in soapy water. Rinse the cleats out on the inside and then the outside. The vinegar will help clean and deodorize the cleats.

If you are machine washing your cleats, use a delicate cycle and cold water. You also need to make sure the detergent is mild so as not to damage the leather. 

Put the cleats in a pillowcase or shoe washing bag before putting them into the washer so they will not bang around as much. Make sure the cleats are alone in the machine and do not wash anything else at the same time.

Before drying make sure all excess water is removed. Squeeze water from the tongue and foot supports. Use a towel to dry the exterior and interior. Do not put cleats in the dryer. 

Stuff them with towels or newspaper to absorb water and to help keep their shape. Leave them outside to air dry, but not directly in the sun.

You can also try using a deodorizing powder for your cleats. You can use the same powder on your gloves as well. This additional step is helpful because the cleats and gloves typically have the most leather which can absorb and trap a lot of sweat. 

Place the powder inside the cleats to soak up any moisture. Amazon has a great powder that is safe and natural and fragrance free. It is best to apply this each time you use a deodorizing spray, once it has fully dried.

How To Wash Lacrosse Uniform

Your uniform needs to be washed after every game and practice to keep it fresh. Your uniform can go in the washing machine on a gentle cycle. 

Only use cold water to preserve colors and prevent shrinkage. Use the same laundry detergent you would use for the rest of the laundry. You can add fabric softener unless your uniform is made from spandex. This will restrict the elasticity of the material.

The uniform should go in the dryer as soon as it is done washing. Do not allow it to sit in the washing machine. Set the dryer to a low heat. 

If the uniform is still damp after one cycle is complete, repeat the cycle on the same low setting. Do not dry clean or iron your uniform because this can discolor the fabric.

How To Disinfect and Deodorize Lacrosse Gear

Damp lacrosse gear should never go in a bag. If you must carry them home, do so, but remove the items as soon as you can and get them hung out. Leaving them in the bag increases the risk for bacteria and odors. And they will be tougher to remove.

You can disinfect and deodorize your pads and gloves by spraying them with deodorizing sprays designed for sports gear. Do this after every game or practice and then let the items hang out or lie flat to air dry. Again, make sure items are thoroughly dry before putting them back in your gear bag.

If your gear has never been disinfected before and is especially smelly, you can treat them more than once to remove the odors. Typically, one spray will work, but if you have gone a long time in between deodorizing, you may need to double up on the next application.

You can also put the gear in a washing machine on a gentle cycle if it has a terrible smell. Do not machine wash every time. Then, once dry, apply the deodorizing spray. 

Occasionally using a gentle machine cycle is not an effective way to remove bacteria. You will need to use a disinfectant as well. This is the only way to remove bacteria, viruses, and fungi, that cause those unpleasant odors.

It is also important to never use bleach or chlorine products on lacrosse pads, as these harsh chemicals will destroy the pads over time. 

Use a spray that has been designed for sports gear that will not corrode the materials. Always use mild detergent and a soft cloth to better protect the materials.

How To Wash Lacrosse Goalie Gear

Goalie gear includes extra thick pads which can get smelly quick. Lacrosse goalie gear is not cheap, so you want to keep it clean and prolong its life as much as possible. 

Cleaning the gear propeller y will keep your goalie gear free of bacteria. That way if you get any cuts or scrapes, there is no worry of infection. Proper cleaning will also keep your gear around for longer.

Bacteria prevention is essential with goalie gear. So, you do not ever leave the gear in a bag after wearing it. Festering gear is the first step to bad odors and bad hygiene. Let your goalie gear air out after wearing it. If you are driving home after a game, lay it out and leave the windows open for better airflow.

There are different things you can do to help clean and deodorize your lacrosse goalie gear. Glove dogs are devices filled with cedar chips that work to naturally absorb odors. 

You can find these on Amazon, and they are great for goalie pads, gloves and shoes. Just hang it in the closet where your gear goes, and it will help eliminate odors before the next time you need them.

Lacrosse goalie gear should be hand washed in most cases. You also need to use a sanitizing and deodorizing spray designed for sports equipment. You can use these sprays to wipe down the gear after play and to leave on when the gear is stored away.

You should only use the washing machine for really funky smells and do not use bleach or other harsh chemicals. 

Always air dry your lacrosse goalie gear and squeeze or soak up as much water as you can before leaving it out to dry. You can also leave deodorizers in your lacrosse bag to help absorb odors. Just be sure to change the product regularly.


Through the cleaning instructions above, most of the information you need to know has been covered. You should be able to properly clean, dry, and deodorize your lacrosse gear. 

Because there are so many different items involved and methods of cleaning, there are often questions left unanswered. Some additional FAQs are answered below to make sure you have all you need on how to wash lacrosse gear.

Can You Put Lacrosse Pads In The Washer?

Pads are usually made from leather and also have plastic pieces on them. Because of the leather, it is best to wash them by hand. That being said, every few months, you can give them a more thorough clean in a machine wash. 

Pads can go in the washer on a gentle cycle with cold water. You also need to use a mild detergent so as not to damage the leather. Always check the labels first to make sure your pads can go in the washing machine. 

So long as this is only done every few months, your pads will stay clean and last. Never put pads in the dryer. Stuff them with newspaper to absorb water and leave them out to air dry.

Can You Wash Lacrosse Gloves In The Washer?

Like pads, lacrosse gloves are often made of leather, so hand washing is the better cleaning option. You can put them in the washer sometimes, especially if you find they still have an odor after hand washing. 

Just try not to do this very often to preserve the leather. For gloves to be machine washed, you need a gentle cycle, mild detergent, and cold water.

Treat the same way as you would pads. In fact, you can wash pads and gloves together if needed. Let the gloves hang out to dry and do not put them back in your bag until they are fully dried. 

Otherwise, you risk mildew and bacterial growth. You can also soak gloves in a tub of soapy water for about ten minutes. 

Use the same mild detergent you would use in the washing machine. Again, make sure they are wiped down and hung out to dry.

How To Keep Lacrosse Gloves From Smelling?

Lacrosse gloves are probably the item that gets the smelliest. Especially goalkeepers’ gloves, because they are thicker. The thicker the material, the deeper the sweat gets absorbed. 

This makes it harder to remove the odor when cleaning. A simple wipe over the surface will not always cut it.

There are a few steps to take to make sure your lacrosse gloves are odor-free for every game.

  • Spray the gloves down after every game or practice with an odor eliminating spray. If it contains antimicrobial and antifungal compounds that is even better.
  • When you have the gear at home, place it near a dehumidifier to help remove any moisture stuck in the material. This will help your gear to dry faster which reduces the chance for bacteria to settle in.
  • You can also use the sun to dry out your gear. The UV rays not only dry your gear, but they kill bacteria. It is important to not leave gear in the sun for too long so as not to crack any leather in the gloves and pads.
  • When you play, wear a layer of clothing between your body and your gear. This keeps the sweat from getting to your gear and clothing is easier to wash. The best materials to look for will be those that wick moisture away. Amazon has moisture wicking t-shirts and long sleeve shirts as well as leggings that work perfectly. This material also dries quickly so bacteria does not get a chance to gather.
  • Spray your gear disinfectant spray after every game and practice and make sure all items are dry before storing them in your gear bag.
  • You can use big Ziploc bags to store your shin pads, cleats, or even gloves in the freezer. Put them here for 48 hours when you have time as this helps get rid of bacteria and smells. Just make sure they are dry before they go in the bag and that it is sealed tight.

Helpful Tips To Clean & Deodorize Lacrosse Gear

With lacrosse being such an active sport and you ended up covered in sweat, chances are your uniform and gear will get smelly from time to time. It is inevitable. 

With regular washing you can reduce this. There are also helpful tips to help you keep your lacrosse gear fresh and odor-free throughout the season.

  • Prevention: Unventilated places are ideal for bacteria growth and odors. You can stay ahead of them by keeping your pads, gloves and other gear out to dry before putting them in your bag. Even in the car on the way home, leave your bag open and have the windows down to increase airflow. This is a great preventative measure that will reduce odors. Wash everything right away as soon as you get home and leave time for everything to air dry before the next game.
  • Sports Spray: Spraying everything with a designated sports deodorizing spray is one of the best ways to prevent smelly gear. Spray after every use and leave your gear in a ventilated area to dry. There are specialized sprays designed for sports gear that do not contain harsh chemicals like ammonia or bleach. Use a spray that contains natural, non-toxic ingredients to effectively remove bacteria and odors without damaging your gear.
  • Deep Clean: Once or twice in the season, you should give all your lacrosse gear a deep clean. You can do this with a large bucket or the bathtub. Fill with warm water and gentle soap or detergent. Allow your gear to soak for ten minutes. For thicker items like your gloves, you can soak for fifteen minutes. Rinse everything really well and place out to dry on a towel. For some of the heavier gear, you may have to allow a few days to fully dry, so plan to do this deep cleaning when you have the time.
  • Routine: Your cleaning routine needs to be a priority. If you want your gear to last and stay as fresh as possible you will need to develop a cleaning and deodorizing routine and stick to it. You don’t want to have to keep buying new gear so when you make cleaning a priority, your gear will stick around for many seasons.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt about it. Lacrosse is intense and you will sweat. Your lacrosse gear will catch the brunt of this sweat and will need to be cleaned. 

Cleaning after every game and practice is essential in maintaining the gear and prolonging its lifespan. With this guide, you will know how to wash lacrosse gear, how to dry it, and how to stay odor-free all season long. 

You may get sweaty in the game, but it doesn’t have to stick with you. Wash your lacrosse gear the right way so you can play the game. Don’t let the game play you.

Drew Thomas

My name is Drew Thomas and I’m the creator of Fun In the Yard, your one stop site for all your outdoor games, sports, party activities, outdoor gear, and lawn & gardening tips.

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