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How To Clean Soccer Shin Guards? 4 Methods

How To Clean Soccer Shin Guards? 4 Methods

Of course, the soccer shin guards play a vital role in protecting the player’s legs. And it will be right to keep them in top condition after use, as it will help retain their integrity and extend their useful life.

Generally, one of the significant challenges most players face with the shin guard is the odor. Due to the nature of the game, sweating into the shin guards is inevitable. Along with many other elements, this sweat forms up in the shin guards to give off offensive odors.

Occasionally using disinfectants or even replacing the shin guards may not be sustainable to solve the problem. This is why learning how to clean shin guards is necessary.

Moreover, having them clean and readily available is key to maintaining the safety of players, ensuring their all-round performance is not affected in any way.

How do we clean shin guards? What are the necessary materials needed? How often should they be washed and cleaned? These and more will be extensively discussed in this article.

Let’s dive in!

How To Clean Soccer Shin Guards?

Learning to clean shin guards is relatively easy as several methods are available to get the work done. When selecting a method, keep in mind the amount of time you are willing to dedicate and available resources.

Finding the perfect washing solution for a mixture of sweat, dirt, water, grass, and mud can be tricky. Apart from the actual cleaning process of removing dirt, applying chemical cleaners or disinfectants to help combat bacterial growth is also necessary.

Certain materials like baking soda and vinegar help remove odors and kill germs. Therefore, they are used alongside other cleaning products in the cleaning process.

​For instance, white distilled vinegar is a common household item because of its many benefits in cleaning carpets, laundry boosting skills, and cooking advantages. Vinegar is highly acidic, and it has an excellent cleaning property, making it tough on stains.

It can also kill bacteria and remove odors with no adverse effect on cleaned material. Due to its affordability, vinegar is a good additive that will help greatly achieve the desired result of a clean shin guard.

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You will be advised to mix a half and a half to water ratio for vinegar-based cleaning mixes in most cases. This helps remove the pungent smell of the shin guards and reduce the acidity of the whole mixture. However, when cleaning smelly shin guards, feel free to exceed the 50/50 ratio.

On the other hand, baking soda is also used. It is a popular item for deodorizing and stain removal that is usually found in your fridge or pantry, keeping odors at bay. Due to its odor-neutralizing properties, baking soda is highly effective against strong-smelling items.

It can also be mixed in a 50/50 ratio with water meant for cleaning. Keep in mind that baking soda for cleaning would also result in having to rinse shin guards thoroughly. This is to get rid of the leftover pieces of baking soda.

What Type of Method is Suitable for My Type of Shin Guard?

Two significant types of shin guards come in different varieties. These are the hard shin guard and the soft shin guard.

1. Hard shin guard

The hard shin guard is made of plastic, glass fiber, carbon fiber, and synthetic resin. The cushioning part is made with materials such as polyurethane and a sponge on the side facing the shin.

Made for strength, protection, and excellent durability, the hard shin guard possesses the advantage of retaining its shape after long usage. Due to the components used in manufacturing, hard shin guards, such as plastic, cannot be washed in a washing machine.

Clean by washing with water and then use a sponge or a hand brush with a body wash to remove dirt. Rinse thoroughly and dry in the shade.

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2. Soft shin guard

The soft type of shin guard is made of soft materials, making them flexible, with easy fittings on the shins of legs. They are light and can be easily modified to suit the leg structure of the wearer.

They are usually composed of polyester, EVA, mesh, polyurethane, and sponge rubber. They can be washed using any of the above-listed washing methods, including washing machines and dishwashers.

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3. Shin guard with anklets

The shin guard with anklets is a mixture of both the hard type and the soft type of shin guard. It comes with protective shields for the player’s shin, secured to the shin. They also possess pads that surround the ankles.

They are suitable for younger players who lack experience in protecting themselves during a game. This is due to soft padding on both sides of each foot, which provides more protection against kicks.

When pressed for time, it is advisable to use the soaking method for this type of shin guards, handwashing, and dishwasher methods.

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Some of the best methods for cleaning soccer shin guards include:

Method 1: Basic Hand Washing

The basic hand washing procedure involves using a mixture of vinegar, water, and a detergent. A cup of water, vinegar, and a few drops of a preferred detergent is mixed together and applied to the shin guards. After spraying the mixture on the shin guards, use a hand brush to scrub extensively.

The next step would be to rinse in water and hang for drying. Ensure you dry out the shin guards at a location with access to maximum sunlight. The combination of sunlight energy and fresh air will help remove any remaining odor.


  • Thorough and Effective

This cleaning method deals effectively with all the issues associated with cleaning shin guards. Therefore, you can rest assured that you will have a deeply cleaned shin guard at the end of the cleaning process.

When compared to other methods of washing, it gives the best result. It is also suitable for all types of shin guards.

  • Fairly Natural

The washing process is followed by hanging out in the sun for drying, which is natural. This allows the natural escape of moisture into the atmosphere, removing odors and killing residual germs that depend on darkness to thrive.

  • It is cost-effective

Hand washing helps you save money as most of the items needed are primary household products. It also doesn’t require electricity in any way, ensuring that you don’t run up your power bill unnecessarily.

Cleaning shin guards by Hand Washing


  • Slowly dries

The drying process usually takes a while. Also, there are certain times when you may not quickly get optimum sunlight.

  • It is stressful and time-consuming

When pressed for time, handwashing may not be your best option. It requires dedication to follow the cleaning process, from washing with a hand brush to hanging them out in the sun to dry. This means the success of the entire process depends on a variable beyond the user’s control.

Method 2: Soaking

This method is excellent when you are busy and have little time for washing. It affords you the opportunity of getting the cleaning done while you attend to other issues. It involves placing the shin guards in a dishpan.

Placing something heavy on them to keep them pinned down in the water and not floating. For example, apply a laundry detergent of your choice and a few spoons of baking soda. To help dissolve the baking soda, add a measured quantity of hot water.

Once all these materials have been added with the shin guards well pinned down, you can leave for a while to let it all soak. About half an hour is enough for baking soda, and the detergent reduces the odor and cleans the shin guards.

The soaking process allows the cleaning mix to get to work, effectively removing the dirt and germs locked within the shin guard. After the entire process, you can empty the pan and place the shin guards on a dry towel. That way, they can dry out overnight.

Soaking shin guards with washing powder and hot water is a good way to clean it


  • It’s easy

The soaking method is the easiest of all the washing methods, as it doesn’t require too much supervision and can be done while attending to other things. It is also suitable for all types of shin guards regardless of the materials used in designing them.

  • It’s effective

The soaking method is also an effective method when done correctly. It ensures the removal of dirt and germs. The shin guard’s length of time in water ensures that the cleaning mix seeps into every corner of the shin guard to remove dirt all around.

  • It requires little effort

This method is not strenuous, as it requires little effort from start to finish of the cleaning process.


  • It is not guaranteed to be fully clean

Some stubborn stains find ways to survive the soaking method. Therefore, this method is only effective when dealing with shin guards that are not thoroughly stained.

Method 3: Using the Washing Machine

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Can washing machines be used in cleaning shin guards? The straightforward answer is yes. Washing machines can be of great help in the washing of shin guards. The process, however, is a bit different when compared with other methods of washing shin guards.

It is advisable to remove all inserts if your shin guards have them here. The soft fabric pieces are placed in the shin guards for comfort and protection. You can bring them out and toss them into the washing machine.

Should the shin guards be all one piece attached to a plastic guard, you can wrap them in a pillowcase. This is done to protect the shin guard and the washing machine. Ensure that the shin guard is secured and well tied in the pillowcase.

Once finished, you can run the washer on a gentle cycle with cold water. Next, add your preferred detergent and a measure of white distilled vinegar to help increase the mixture’s cleaning strength and bacteria-eliminating power.

Do not use the dryer after washing as the shin guards may damage them. Instead, place them out in the sunlight to air dry. You could also place them on a towel, making sure to flip them over to ensure even drying. Both sides need to be properly ventilated to dry out adequately.

The shin guards can be cleaned by a washing machine



  • It is effective

Washing your shin guards using the washing machine is one of the most effective methods of cleaning shin guards. The spinning motions of the machine ensure that the cleaning mix gets to all parts of the shin guard, giving a thorough wash.

  • It saves time

This cleaning method is also guaranteed to save time. You can include washing the shin guards as part of your regular cleaning routine for your household laundry.

  • It is easy to use

The washing machine requires little effort to operate. Making the entire process a stress-free one. It can also be done while attending to other duties.


  • It requires electricity

This method depends solely on electricity. Usually, washing machines tend to consume a lot of electricity which may run up your power bill. Also, you may want to cycle more than once to have a thorough wash.

Method 4: Using the Dishwasher

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As an alternative to washing machines, dishwashers can also be of great help. To clean thoroughly, you can place the shin guards in the top rack of the dishwasher. A significant advantage over the washing machine is the absence of spinning motions.

Unfortunately, this results in the shin guards being tossed back and forth, often giving off a disturbing sound. If you have an all-in-one shin guard that doesn’t allow removing the plastic piece, a dishwasher is a great alternative.


  • It is simple and easy to use

The dishwasher method is easy to use and requires little supervision. Ensure the dishwasher is well placed to get the desired result

  • It saves time and effort

Unlike the hand washing method or even the washing machine, the dishwasher cleans the shin guards with little effort and in ample time. The cleaning mix of detergent, baking soda, or distilled vinegar performs the cleaning and odor removal duties.

The shin guards can be cleaned by a dishwashing


  • It may not yield a perfect result

Using the dishwasher may not necessarily give the desired result compared with the hand washing method.

  • It requires electricity

Dishwashers consume electricity; hence the whole cleaning process depends on its availability.

How Often Should Shin Guards Be Washed?

It is not necessary to wash shin guards after every use. Doing this can reduce their efficiency and durability and eventually damage them. This also means that they will remain damp from not properly drying out.

It is advisable to use disinfectants during a period of frequent repeated use. This will help prevent bacterial growth, which causes pungent smells, during the week.

Shin guards also grow mold. Mold requires a dark and cool environment to grow. This is provided when the shin guards are kept in a bag. Empty the bag and use a gym bag deodorizer. This will help remove the odors left by the shin guard and other materials.

The frequency of washing depends significantly on the frequency of use. That being said, it is acceptable to wash shin guards once a week. As long as they are disinfected after every use, this is viable.

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Importance of Cleaning Shin Guards

For clarity and to understand the dangers presented by the regular cleaning of shin guards, it is necessary to enumerate the importance of the cleaning process

It helps to keep them in top condition

The longevity of shin guards depends greatly on cleanliness. Having them operating in the right conditions is dependent on how often they are washed and cleaned. Simply put, a clean pair of shin guards last longer.

It helps to Remove Unpleasant Odor

The smell given off by sweaty, mud-stained shin guards is quite unpleasant. Using them in this condition often leaves players with an itchy sensation. This makes them uncomfortable and reduces their all-round game performance.

It helps to Kill off germs

The frequent application of disinfectants reduces the chances of bacterial growth, but it is with a thorough cleaning that one fully achieves the desired result. These germs are harmful to both the player and the shin guard.

Due to the nature of the game, tackles are inevitable. These tackles sometimes result in open wounds. Germs can infect an open wound worsening an initially simple injury. These germs can also degrade the materials used in the production of the shin guards.


Learning the art of washing shin guards is not as difficult as it may initially appear to be. Shin guards are mandatory requirements for playing soccer; the shin guard should be kept clean and germ-free to protect the player. Whichever method you decide to use, ensure you dry them out on time before the next game.