How to Clean a Baseball Helmet and Other Gear?

Michael Claunch

Baseball is a sport that requires a lot of different equipment for players in certain positions, from bats and helmets worn by the hitters to heavy padding and face masks that catchers have to put on. Since the game is very intense and mostly played during warm months, players sweat a lot during practices and games, which tends to leave stains on the gear and give it a bad odor. This is especially true for helmets, which can get quite grimy on the inside unless proper cleaning is performed from time to time.

Learning how to maintain equipment is a big part of becoming an athlete, and young players should acquire good habits in this regard as early as possible. To help with that process, we tried to provide simple and actionable tips on how to clean a baseball helmet and which chemical products to use to get rid of any residual smell.

Cleaning baseball helmets

Baseball equipment tends to get dirty after a period of use, necessitating a thorough cleaning to remain functional. Like all other items the players wear on the field, helmets accumulate dirt and sweat every time they are used. While the outer shell is made of plastic so it can be washed with detergent and scrubbed with a wipe, removing deeply stuck stains from the soft fabric and removing the odor from the inside of a helmet is not so easy, especially for those who never did such a thing before.

The proper way to clean the inside of a baseball helmet involves the separation of the padding from the shell. Both elements should be sprayed with a disinfectant and scrubbed to remove any particles of dirt, but it’s important to be careful not to soak the padding too much. Using deodorant is also recommended at this stage so that any lingering smell disappears from the soft fabric. After all parts of the helmet are meticulously wiped they should be left for a while to dry out before being put back together. This should occur naturally and without using any intense heat sources, which could permanently damage the helmet.

How to clean a catcher’s gear?

Catcher’s gear could be even trickier to maintain than baseball helmets, and novice baseball players may be unsure how even to try. There are several pieces of equipment that catchers wear, and each of them needs to be cleaned in a slightly different way. A catcher’s glove is the most obvious item to start with, as it doesn’t require disassembling and can be easily wiped with a sponge and soft cloth. You shouldn’t forget to turn the glove inside out and carefully clean both sides.

After this, soft parts of shin guards and chest protectors need to be completely separated and thoroughly cleaned individually without being submerged. The plastic shell can be hosed with water as it dries quickly, but with the padding, it’s recommended to use the hand-cleaning method. You should use natural drying methods for this purpose and avoid machine dryers, electric heaters, and similar gadgets.

Applying deodorant spray to the paddings is another crucial step in the process, as it helps to get the smell out of the catcher’s gear. This should be done after the pads are washed with water and dried, but before shin guards and chest protectors are reassembled. Not only should this help you to instantly eliminate the unpleasant odor, but the use of deodorant should keep the equipment smelling nice for a while.

Which products to use for cleaning baseball equipment?

It’s absolutely essential to choose the most optimal cleaning products that are powerful enough to handle the hardcore grime but not as strong as to damage the equipment. Solid results can be achieved with regular household chemicals such as soap or detergent, but for maximum impact, it’s better to use specialized products manufactured specifically for the maintenance of athletic gear. Espro Sports Cleaner solution is a well-known cleaning solution that can keep different types of equipment in perfect shape, and it should be at least tested by every baseball player who uses a helmet and chest protectors.

Another type of chemical product indispensable to young athletes is the deodorant spray for the equipment. Needless to say, this type of deodorant is different than body deodorants and is intended for various foam-based gear including yoga mats, running shoes, boxing gloves, and protective pads for multiple spots. One product that matches all these uses is Vapor Fresh, which can be found in local stores or ordered from Amazon. There are certainly many alternatives in the market, but it makes more sense to get a product with a proven track record for something as important as the maintenance of your personal baseball gear.

How often should baseball gear be cleaned?

Another important aspect of cleaning baseball helmets and other gear is deciding how often this needs to be done. Obviously, the gear will look and smell better immediately after being washed, so players have the incentive to clean it as frequently as possible. However, for most youth or amateur players, this is not realistic, as they only own one set of protective gear which is needed every day at practice. The full cleaning and deodorizing process take time because of the slow-drying fabric of the padding, so it should be performed only when you have several free days between scheduled events.

On the other hand, removing dirt and patches of grass from the catcher’s gear and other pieces of equipment can be done on a daily level. This prevents the buildup of bad smells and delays the moment when you need to take everything apart and thoroughly wash and spray it. It’s very important to learn how to clean a baseball helmet on your own – perhaps professional players have equipment managers to care about it, but there is a lot of baseball to be played before you reach that level and you simply can’t compete well with a stinky helmet on your head distracting you from the game.

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