How to Wash Knee Pads

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Knee pads are one of the most important pieces of equipment for many sports such as volleyball, skateboarding, basketball, and more. Not only do they protect the kneecaps during the game, but they also ensure more comfortable kneeling.

However, they can get dirty and smelly pretty quickly, especially from sweat and that’s why you must clean them regularly. This article contains different methods that will help you understand how to wash knee pads easily.

How to Wash Knee Pads

You can use any of the following methods if you don’t know how to wash knee pads properly.

A volleyball player wearing knee pads

Washing Knee Pads by Hand

Using your hands is the best way to wash knee pads because it doesn’t affect the elasticity of the materials. Use the following steps to wash knee pads by hand.

Step 1: Gather Supplies

The first step is to gather the following supplies:

  • Tub
  • Laundry detergent
  • White vinegar

Step 2: Add Hot Water to a Tub

Add hot water to a utility tub or bathtub about halfway through. Using hot water will help your knee pads to release bacteria and dirt with less agitation. It’s important to note that the water should be hot but not to the extent that keeps you from placing your hand in the tub comfortably. However, if you have knee pads that can lead to bleeding of the fabric color, you should use cold water.

Step 3: Add a Cleaning Mixture

Now you need to make a cleaning mixture and add it to the tub filled with hot water. Pour about one tablespoon of vinegar and ¼ to 1.2 cups of laundry detergent into a cup. Stir them well and add the mixture to the hot water.

Mix the cleaning solution into the water evenly by swirling your hands around the tub. If you don’t have white vinegar, I recommend you use baking soda. Never use bleaching agents or a detergent that contains bleach to wash your knee pads because they can lead to irrecoverable damage.

Step 4: Place Knee Pads in the Tub

Once the cleaning solution is evenly mixed in the hot water, place dirty knee pads in the tub. Use your hands to swirl them around until they get saturated with water thoroughly. Let them sit in water for five minutes and then use gentle movements of both hands to swish the knee pads.

Make sure that you don’t apply too much force, and carry out the swishing process very gently. You’ll start seeing a lot of dirt coming out of your knee pads but don’t be alarmed. Sometimes, the knee pads absorb more dirt than you realize.

If you’re using cold water, I recommend you swirl the knee pads around the tub instead of letting them sit for five minutes. Use your hands to mimic your washing machine’s movement in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions.

If you feel that your knee pads are still smelly, add one tablespoon of white vinegar to the tub. Then swirl the knee pads again for three to five minutes.

Step 5: Let the Knee Pads Soak

After swirling, leave the knee pads to soak in water for 20 to 30 minutes. It’ll allow the cleaning solution to get rid of bacteria to make sure they don’t grow inside the middle of your knee pads.

If you feel that your knee pads are still dirty even after 30 minutes, it means you need to replace the mixture of water and cleaning solution. Remove knee pads from the tub and get rid of the dirty water.

Add hot water and cleaning solution to the tub using the same technique and place your pads in the tub again. Let them sit in the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes to soak in water.

Step 6: Rinse the Knee Pads

Once your knee pads have soaked in water thoroughly, get rid of the used mixture of water and cleaning solution. Run your pads under hot and clean water. Keep squeezing them to remove water from them for one to two minutes.

A volleyball player fixing her black knee pad

Step 7: Let the Knee Pads Dry

Use a clean towel to blot your knee pads and hang them up for four to six hours to dry, preferably under direct sunlight. Not only will the pads dry faster, but the sunlight will also help kill the remaining germs/bacteria if any.

Washing Knee Pads in a Washing Machine

QuickerIt can damage the knee pads
EasierIt can damage other clothes
Great if you are in a hurryIt can reduce their elasticity

Using a washing machine to clean your knee pads is easier and faster than using your hands. However, you should only use it if you’re in a hurry because the fast movement of a washing machine can reduce the elasticity of the knee pads. Use the following steps to wash knee pads in a washing machine.

Step 1: Read the Care Tag

Not all knee pads are safe to wash in a washing machine. Read the care tag stitched to your knee pads to find out whether they’re machine washable or not

Step 2: Place the Knee Pads Inside the Machine

If your knee pads are machine washable, place them in your washing machine. Make sure that you only wash other sports clothing gear, like your knee brace and ankle brace with your knee pads and in a small quantity. Fill the machine halfway through and add a mild detergent accordingly (depending on your machine’s size).

Step 3: Start the Machine

Now select the lowest speed and cold water setting and turn the machine on. The lower speed will keep the pads from damaging and the cold water will kill sweat bacteria and neutralize smells.

Step 4: Let the Knee Pads Dry

Remove the knee pads from the machine and hang them under the direct sunlight to let them dry.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some of the most common questions that people ask about washing knee pads.

Are You Supposed to Wash Your Knee Pads?

Yes, since it is equipment that directly touches your skin throughout the match, it becomes dirty. If you use them often, they can absorb a lot of sweat, dead skin, bacteria, and other substances.

How Often Should I Wash Knee Pads?

If you use your knee pads on a regular basis during long volleyball sets, you should wash them at least twice a month to keep them clean and odor-free.

If you do not use them on a regular basis, I recommend washing them after 8 to 10 uses.

Can You Dry the Knee Pads in a Dryer?

Although you can dry the knee pads in the dryer, you should never do so. This is because the heat produced by dryers can damage the elasticity of the knee pads, causing them to no longer fit properly.

If you’re in a hurry, you can tumble dry them, but the best way is to hang them in direct sunlight.

Final Words

Cleaning your knee pads properly and regularly is important to get rid of bad odors and dirt. Not only does it keep you clean, but it also keeps you from skin infections. I hope now you understand how to clean knee pads using any of the two methods discussed in this guide.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.