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How to Clean and Disinfect Sports Equipment

Athletic gear tends to get dirty. Learn how to clean and disinfect sports equipment like soccer cleats, shin guards, gym equipment, and football shoulder pads.

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Jerseys, cleats, shin guards, shoulder pads, gear bags*…they all harbor germs and bacteria and can really smell! Even if you teach your little athlete great habits (like hanging equipment to air dry after use instead of leaving it in the gear bag until the next practice), sports gear gets dirty and needs to get cleaned and disinfected.

It’s good to know the same Clorox® Regular-Bleach2 with CLOROMAX® that sanitizes your laundry (including that smelly nylon soccer jersey) can also clean and disinfect sports equipment, even your favorite plastic coated kettlebell. Any equipment with a hard, nonporous surface (think plastic, nylon, and even painted wood and polyurethane coatings) can be wiped down with a bleach and water solution, making it a great choice to kill bacteria, including MRSA. Here’s how:

Materials needed:

  • Clorox® Regular-Bleach2 with CLOROMAX®
  • Measuring cup
  • Plastic dishpan
  • Gloves
  • Sponge
  • Clean white towels
  • Lingerie bags


  1. 1

    Measure ½ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach2 with CLOROMAX®, and add it to 1 gallon cool water in a plastic dishpan.

  2. 2

    Wearing gloves, use the sponge to apply the bleach and water solution to hard, non-porous sports equipment. Reapply as needed to keep the surface wet for 5 minutes.

  3. 3

    After 5 minutes, rinse with clean water.

  4. 4

    Hang equipment to air dry; alternately, lay on a clean towel or prop up to air dry.

It’s also great to know that a lot of sports gear can just be added to your regular bleach load! Shin guards can go in a lingerie bag (so the velcro doesn’t tie up the rest of the laundry). So can the fabric component of some pads. And so can nylon sports jerseys and socks; just be sure to check the care label and make sure there’s no spandex, and check a hidden area for colorfastness to bleach: Add 2 teaspoons Clorox® Regular-Bleach2 with CLOROMAX® to ¼ cup water and apply a drop to a hidden area; wait 1 minute, then rinse and blot dry—no color change means the item is can be safely added to the bleach load! Here’s how to sanitize laundry with Clorox® Regular-Bleach2 with CLOROMAX®:

  1. 1

    For high efficiency clothes washers, add 1/3 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach2 with CLOROMAX® along with your favorite detergent; use the bleach dispenser if your clothes washer has one.

  2. 2

    For traditional deep-fill clothes washers, add 2/3 cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach2 with CLOROMAX® along with your favorite detergent.

  3. 3

    Ensure that the bleach contacts the load for 10 minutes.


Do Wipe mud off of cleats before treating with the disinfecting bleach and water solution.

Don't Forget your gym bag—if it’s nylon or polyester, it can be machine washed. Just add a few towels along with the bag to help balance the load, and wash as directed above.

* Items must be white (not colored) for bleach use.