Wowza. You know how I mentioned the whole spring hockey adventure? The rink we go to for hockey is often the site for local tournaments. So while my Initiation level kid isn’t particularly stinky, we do share change rooms with older kids and adults. This week, we arrived at the change room and the minute the door open, I was hit with “that” smell.
The scourge of hockey moms every where. It burns the nostrils. It crushes the sinuses. And it lingers. Oh does it linger.
There is no adequate way of coming close to explaining the smell. You can’t breathe past it and I swear it follows you home.
There comes a point, towards the end of every winter hockey season where it seems that no amount of cleaning of the change rooms banishes the smell. Some brave souls will perservere and dress their player regardless of the smell. They are either super human or have no sense of smell.
And some of us will dress their player out in the lobby and send them in for the before-game (or before-practice) coach pep-talk.
Guess which category this hockey mom falls in?
So it is in my best interest to avoid hockey gear that brings that smell home, at all costs. Here’s how we prevent rink stink.
1. The bags go inside after every game or practice. They are taken down to our basement and, at minimum, are opened to air out. None of my boys like cold gear and I don’t like the smell the hockey bags collect after accompanying me on my daily commute for a week. It’s in every one’s best interest to bring the bags in after hockey.
2. Once a month, pull out all the practice jerseys, socks, anything that can be thrown in the wash, and send it through the wash cycle. Incidentally, we did the same with the game jerseys. Depending on how many games we had that month and the timing, the jerseys were washed every 3-4 weeks.
3. Put a dryer sheet in the bottom of the bag and switch it out every month or so. It absorbs the smell. For us, because of multiple chemical sensitivity, we use a fragrance free dryer sheet and it does the trick. At some point, I want to try a dryer ball and see if has the same effect but I haven’t yet.
4. Bake the gear. This tip comes courtesy of my ever-so-smart cousin who has a daughter in competitive soccer. And she knows what she’s talking about. Sunshine, sweat and soccer. It’s the trifecta. When the smell gets too unbearable, the gear goes outside on a sunny day and bakes. Now, in the middle of winter, we don’t have a lot of sunlight and heat to work with so I do the next best thing with the hockey gear. Set it up downstairs in front of a heater. Not too close because you don’t want things to melt, but still in front of a heater. I would imagine a similar (though noisier) alternative would be the dryer. I’ll let you know if I ever try that one.
There you have it. How to prevent rink stink. So far, it has worked in the House of Hockey. We’re cruising up on the teen years and I anticipate my methods being challenged. There will come a time where we have to focus on getting rid of rink stink rather than preventing it, but for the time being this keeps our nostrils from burning out.
If anyone has other suggestions, throw it in the comments. With three boys in hockey, I can use all the help I can get and sooner rather than later.
See you at the rink,