How To Clean Shin Guards

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Sports gear has an immense demand across the globe. Shin guards are considered absolute essentials for many sports like football, rugby, track events, and wrestling. As an athlete, using them daily may make them rife with sweat and dirt.

Learning the right way to clean them is critical if you don’t want to be spending on shin guards earlier than you need to.

How To Clean Shin Guards

These are not complex but simple wearables with large groves and curves. We’ve highlighted three ways so you can learn how to clean shin guards effortlessly.

Shin guards

Method 1: Washing Shin Guards By Soaking

Soaking is best for the complete elimination of sweat and other moisture-based dirt trapped on your shin guards. You can do it with everyday household cleaning material.

Step #1: Let The Guards Dry Off

Letting the sweat on the shin guards dry off is important since washing a sweat-soaked shin guard will lead to it smelling afterward.

Once you are sure that the shin guards are dry, you can move on and empty the sink. Grab a saucepan to hold the shin pads in the sink when water fills it in.  

Step #2: Use Baking Soda & Detergent Mixture

You need to prepare a mixture of baking soda and mild detergent to sprinkle over the pan. It is the cheapest of all other shin guard cleaning solutions.

Now, pour hot water into the saucepan that’s sitting atop your guards and let it overflow up. Since the drain will be covered, the shin guards will eventually come in contact with the warm water solution.

If you have a water heating system, you can directly run the sink tap over the pan. 


Remember to ensure that most of the baking soda & detergent flow from the pan to the shin guards.

Step #3: Let It Soak In The Solution

You need to allow the shin guards to soak in that hot water, detergent, and baking soda solution. The soaking time should be around 15 minutes. It will allow the water to cool down, and baking soda will implement its magic. 

Wait patiently, and in the meanwhile, complete some of the other household chores. This is an easy process and doesn’t trouble you much with extra essentials and solutions. Moreover, you just have to stick to the process. 

Step #4: Take Off The Sauce Pan

Now, take off the saucepan and pour out the remaining water into the sink. You will observe that the shin guards are floating on the top. Now, it is time for you to remove them from the sink and rinse them. 

Rinse them properly with a soft brush, and then use a cloth or towel to dry them. You need to place them in such a way that their upper parts are facing downwards. It is because more air should pass into the foam area of the shin pads, as they need time to dry. 

Person pouring out detergent in washing machine

Step #5: Use Disinfectant 

For the final step in this method, it is important that you use a disinfectant. When the shin guards are dry, you must use a disinfectant spray to kill fungal or mold build-up possibilities, it’s an important step for cleaning leather purses as well. It is essential because you definitely would not want your guards to ruin due to such factors. 

Your shin guards are now clean, and this entire process is quite easy and convenient with cleaner outcomes. 

Method 2: Cleaning Shin Guards In Washing Machines

The previous method might be one of the easiest ways of cleaning the shin guards, but there are other ways to go about it. This is a quite favorable method amidst all because of its ease of execution. Here are the steps to execute this method:

Step #1: Eliminate The Dirt & Debris

Before you can go ahead and wash the shin pads, it is important for you to wipe off all the debris or dirt. Use a brush to eradicate them all and prepare for the next step. 

Step #2: Check The Washing Instructions

Not all shin guards are washable with machines. Therefore, you need to check the instructions provided on the packaging cover of the shin guards before washing them. In case your shin guards are not appropriate for machine wash, you can follow the first method to clean them. 


The plastic shin guards are not fit for machine washing. Hand washing is better for such shin guards! 

Step #3: Put Them Into The Washing Machine.

Now, you can put the shin guards in a laundry bag or pillowcase and get them into the machine. The laundry bag or pillowcase is essential to prevent the shin guards from banging inside during wash cycles. Avoiding it will not just hamper the shin guards but also your machine. 

Step #4: Pick The Right Detergent

Now, this is one of the most important things to keep in mind. You need to buy a high-end and recognized sports detergent. You will get a lot of options over the online and offline market.

Buy it and pour the necessary amount into the washing machine. Now, run it on a gentle wash cycle.

Step #5: Air Dry The Shin Guards

Once the wash cycle is complete, do not put the shin guards in machine dryers. But instead, hang them under the sun, in your azek decking, to let them dry by air. It will dry the shin guards without damaging them, and the odor of detergent and sweat will eradicate completely. 

Step #6: Use Disinfectant

Using disinfectant is a common step in all of the methods. It is because, no matter what, fungus/mold build-up is common in shin guards when people neglect the necessity of disinfectant. There are quality sprays available in the market for you to purchase and store for long-term use. 

Player wearing full sports attire with shin guards

Method 3: Hand Washing The Shin Guards

The third and final way of cleaning the shin guards is completely done with hands. Here are the steps for it:

  1. Take one cup of distilled vinegar and one cup of water. Now mix them up and add few drops of detergent to it. Make sure you take a sports-grade detergent.
  2. Spray this mixture over the shin guards and scrub them using a hand brush. 
  3. Once you are done with spraying and scrubbing, now it is time to rinse the guards properly. Use water for the rinsing purpose. Do it properly to remove all residues of the shin guards. 
  4. After rinsing is done, you need to hang them out for drying. Fresh air and sun will work effectively in eradicating all of the bad odors from shin guards. 

Check out this video to have a better idea of how to clean your shin guards. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Frequently Should I Wash My Shin Guards?

Technically, you needn’t need to wash your shin guards after every game or match, as it would deteriorate the quality. It is better if you play with multiple shins to rotate and use, then wash it off once a month. 

When To Know That My Shin Guards Need A Wash?

When your shin guards start to smell really bad, you need to conclude that it needs a wash. Try one of the three methods listed above to get guidance for your cleaning sessions. You can decide on a fixed schedule to wash all of your sports accessories, like your shoe insoles and dirty socks on that day. 

What Else Can I Do To Keep My Shin Guards Deodorized?

You can prefer to use a gym bag deodorizer to eliminate all the bad odors from the bag. It is important to get those odors out from your bag as well because the shin guards would go into it the next day. 

Can I Do A Towel Wipe To My Shin Guards After Training Or Match?

Rigorous washing is not permissible for shin guards after every match, but a towel wipe is fine. You can wipe the exterior surface of it to avoid leather stains due to sweat. 


These are a few of the methods and clear steps on how to clean shin guards. Make sure you follow all of it and take note of all the warnings to make your shin guards last longer. 

It is better to have two pairs of shin guards to rotate during consecutive matches. It is to ensure that you are not using the dirty one without a wash. With this, you can wash and let one pair dry while you can head to the match with the other. Hence, it will be more convenient for the sportsmen.