After Playoffs, Hockey Stinks

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Congratulations Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals! Their defeat of the Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup Playoffs, was an exciting series. For most, the hockey season has come to a close for the summer which means the smelly, sweaty gear has likely been zipped in a sports bag, tucked away until next season.

First Response’s Contents Manager, Debbie Starling has a different idea for your hockey gear this off season, “I’m familiar with the hockey smell,” she laughs. “I have a brother who played. Everyone knows someone with a bag of smelly hockey gear.” Starling has witnessed the rapid transformation of a few sets of gear this Spring already. Her job involves putting the full sets of gear, bags, skates, helmets and all through the Esporta Machine Cleaning System at the First Response warehouse. “On one piece of equipment we did a swab and there was 500+ bacteria units on the one item. Once it went through our machine it had one unit of bacteria remaining. The change is significant.” Knee pads, one of the sweatier items, can have up to 86,000 units. Generally a count of 25 bacterial particles or less on surfaces is considered acceptable under provincial guidelines. Anything more is considered a potential health hazard and disinfection is required.

The Esporta Machine Cleaning System uses soaps and disinfectants that are specifically developed for cleaning sports equipment. The Patented Hydraulic Cleaning Process forces detergents and disinfectants deep into the equipment foam and fabrics, eliminating bacteria and viruses. The soaps are deep penetrating, low sudsing, bio-degradable and environmentally safe. Each set of hockey or sports equipment is put into its own mesh bag before being loaded into one of four separate compartments. The cleaning cycle takes 2 ½ hours and is agitation free. The equipment is then laid out to dry in a controlled drying room with a dehumidifier and air movers. The full process takes 24- 48 hours.

“If you look after and clean your sports equipment properly it will last longer, and be in better shape for hand me downs, resale or a long hockey career,” explains Starling. “Especially for adults unlikely to grow out of their gear, maintenance is key. If you think about putting equipment on that you’ve been sweating in again and again… that bacteria is just going to keep growing and lead to skin problems and irritation, not to mention the smell!”

“The best place to keep hockey equipment is somewhere cool where you can leave the bag open, allowing air flow and ideally, hang the gear up,” advises Starling. “The garage is good if the bag can be left open and allow air flow. That’ll slow bacteria growth and help with the smell. Remember, smell equals contamination. If there’s a strong odor and especially if there are signs of skin problems or rashes, discontinue use and have the gear professionally cleaned.”

So now that even the Capitals are finished sweating, spare a thought for your neglected gear and either hang it out or bring it down to First Response. And if any of the Stanley Cup finalists are reading, send your gear in, First Response will clean that playoff stress and stench away, on the house! (Seriously, call us.)

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