3 Steps To Washing Knee Pads That Actually Work And Eliminate The Smell

If you are a parent or athlete in the sport you probably know just how smelly volleyball knee pads can get if not washed regularly. Especially for players who sweat a lot in a workout.

The knee pads we are washing in this tutorial are a testament to the fact that you do not need to replace your knee pads if you take proper care of them and clean them regularly. I’ve had them for going on 12 years now.

Yep, I got these in high school.

Now that I’m a coach something I get asked all the time from parents on my team is how to keep this piece of equipment from smelling. I figured there must be a ton of moms and dads out there who really struggle with this problem so today we’re going to solve the issue.

What You Will Need:

  1. A bucket to soak the knee pads
  2. Vinegar and baking soda
  3. Room temperature water
  4. A washing machine or a sink to hand wash
  5. Detergent
  6. An area to air dry the knee pads

The Easy 3 Steps To Non-Smelly Knee Pads

  1. Soak in vinegar
  2. Wash on gentle
  3. Air dry

Step 1: The Soak

The first part is also the most important in this process. The combination of vinegar and baking soda is incredible for knocking out stains and smells when cleaning. It does absolute wonders for washing knee pads where other methods of cleaning just don’t get the stink out of that foam!

Start by placing your knee pads in the bucket you have set aside for soaking. Next add about a cup of white vinegar to the bucket and ensure the knee pads are evenly coated.

You will now want to sprinkle the knee pads with baking soda which should start to fizz. This reaction is excellent for lifting the grime and bacteria from deep inside the foam of the pad. Let the knee pads sit for several minutes to an hour.

Next add water to the soaking mixture (around 36 oz) or just until the knee pads are floating. Allow this mix to soak for several hours up to 24.

Step 2: Washing Your Knee Pads

After you have finished soaking your knee pads, be sure to rinse the remainder of vinegar and baking soda from them. From here you have two options for washing

Hand Washing Knee Pads

If you do not have access to a washing machine, you can always wash your knee pads in the sink after soaking them. Be sure to use a detergent and gently work it through the fabric of the knee pad. Once sufficiently clean, rinse the knee pad thoroughly.

Using A Washing Machine

I typically opt for using a washing machine to clean my knee pads after they have finished their soak. It is a lot less time consuming to pop these babies into the machine and let it do the work.

If you have one, I recommend using a delicates bag for your knee pads. I do not currently own one so I washed mind without and also had great results.

Make sure that you wash your knee pads on a cold or warm cycle, NOT HOT. Again, heat will ruin the fit of your knee pads either in the form of shrinking or destroying their elasticity depending on the brand.

This goes for putting them in the dryer which takes us to our next step.

Step 3: Air Drying Your Knee Pads

As we’ve discussed, heat is bad news when it comes to knee pads. You should give yourself sufficient time to allow your knee pads to air dry fully.

This usually takes 12 hours. For best results flip them inside out and leave in a outdoor spot for an hour or two.

Things To Keep In Mind When Washing

Water Temperature

You always want to wash in cold or warm water NOT HOT. Knee pads are made out of a blend of cotton and polyester. Heat will destroy the elasticity in some knee pads which keep them tight to your body. Others will shrink with the heat leaving them impossible to put on.

Low Spin Cycle

If you decide to machine wash your knee pads make sure you keep the spin cycle very low. It is best to use the hand wash or delicate setting on your washing machine. This will help keep the padding from sliding around inside the knee pad or folding over.

How Frequently Should I Wash My Volleyball Knee Pads

It’s generally a good idea to wash your knee pads about once or twice a month depending on how often you use them and how sweaty they get. Your teammates will thank you for washing them more frequently.

DO Air Your Dirty Laundry

You can help your knee pads and other sports gear from smelling by letting it air out after every practice or game. You don’t want to trap that sweat in, especially not in a dark enclosed volleyball bag

Never Use A Heated Dry

You do not want to put your knee pads in the dryer. When the fiber is exposed to heat like that of a standard tumble dryer on high it warps and will not fit properly. The best way to keep your knee pads in reusable condition is to allow them to air dry. If you are really in a hurry you can tumble dry your knee pads on a non heat cycle.

Products On the Market

There are several companies in the laundry industry who have dedicated their businesses to catering to the needs of athletes and their parents. These laundry detergents are built by athletes for athletes. They can be a great addition to the washing process.


Win Sports Detergent

Coach Alyx

CEO and Founder of Volleyball Solutions. Coach Alyx has been playing and coaching women's indoor volleyball for over 15 years. "Volleyball is my culture. It is an incredible opportunity I have to share my knowledge of the sport, as well as the raw character it develops, with our next generation of players."

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