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Now that the we're coming to an end to fall ball, I notice that my son's catcher's gear really stinks (and the bag too for that matter). His gear was used as the team gear and a lot of sweat and dirt have accumulated since March.

How do you guys clean your gear? Can the pads be pulled off and washed? Or do you just replace them? What about the chest protector? Can you throw it in the washing machine?

And as far as the helmet and shin guards go, I'm thinking a good hand wash and then some disinfectant spray might be the way to go.

I'd appreciate some suggestions.

------------------------------------------ I'm a schizophrenic...and so am I.
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Not a catcher anymore, but the equipment I use today is much the same.....

As you know cleaning the gear is imperative to keep it in top condition. As am umpire I wipe down my mask, chest protector and shinguards after every game. Now I its hard to expect every cathcer to do that, but here is my end of season methods.

Mask- I use the traditional mask, so I can undo all the straps and remove the leather pads. I was the metal mask in plain soapy dishsoap water. I wipe the leather pads with a rag sprayed with a kitchen antiseptic wipe. I want it clean and I want to kill any bacteria from sweat and dampness. I have tossed the harness into the soapy water as well...I clean the sun visor with window cleaner reassemble and during the season I store my mask in a mask bag...... Hockey style helmets depending on the quality have some removable padding so the process would need modified.

Chest protector- The main culprit in this is moisture...and then being stuffed into a gear the hot sun.......a sure recipe for odor....

CPs are usually made up from 2 fabrics,a vinyl outside and a fabric inside layer...they can be treated seperately......the vinyl side can be wiped clean with a good antispetic wipe..... For the inside a good in between measure is to lay the gear pad side up in the sun so that it gets good and dry.........then a liberal spray with Fabreeze antibiotic works wonders....

At the end of the season I make a mixture of laundry soap in a small bucket and take a brush...I do not soak the CP, but just brush the soapy foam over the inside layer.....let it air dry and fabreeze it as well......

Shin guards- soapy water wash, treat the inside fabric/padduing the same as the CP.........fabreeze......

Last tip is not to store the gear back in the bag for the off season. I hang it on clothes hanger in my basement......hope this helps....
Originally posted by piaa_ump:
As am umpire I wipe down my mask, chest protector and shinguards after every game. Now I its hard to expect every cathcer to do that....

No, it's really not.

Clean gear after each game or practice and let it air out overnight. Turn the bag inside out once every week or so and wipe it down too. Easy solution for the problem of stinky gear.

It's like raking the field. It doesn't get any easier the longer you let it go.

I'm not trying to be holier than thou or anything like that. Just the way it was put to me when my son started catching. I wouldn't have thought of it either if someone hadn't told me to expect it of my catcher. We've made it a ritual and he now takes pride in showing up with clean gear.

Last edited by deaconspoint
Another tip:

During the season, my son's leather pads inside his mask were holding bacteria and causing break-outs in those areas of his face where the mask pressed. I put a mini bottle of unscented hospital hand sanitize gel in his bag (**KIM brand) and he wipes it over those pads before putting them away at the end of the game. That has made a big difference in his skin.

** This gel disinfects without drying.

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