Can You Wash Wrestling Headgear (Ear Guards)?


Wrestling headgear can get gross pretty fast. That’s because wrestling is a fast-paced sport, which also means you and your opponent will sweat quite a bit. This leads many wrestlers to wonder if they can wash wrestling headgear (ear guards).  

Can You Wash Wrestling Headgear (Ear Guards)?

You can wash wrestling headgear (ear guards). It’s vital to clean your headgear to prevent a bad smell and the spread of germs. So, wash your headgear frequently, preferably after every use. You may also want to invest in two pairs of headgear.

Let’s go into more detail about washing your wrestling headgear and find the best method for you. 

How To Wash Wrestling Headgear?

You can wash your wrestling headgear with these simple tips:

Soak Headgear in a Water and Detergent Mixture

Mix detergent and water in a decent size bowl and soak your headgear for an hour to two. The type of detergent doesn’t matter, and soap will also work fine for cleaning your headgear. 

Ensure that the whole thing is submerged, but if you have issues with submerging all of it, that’s okay. For any parts that weren’t submerged, take a washcloth, soak it in the mixture, and wipe down any missed parts.

Separate the Inner and Outer Liners

Most wrestling headgear can be separated into layers. If yours is capable of this, then you can get it even cleaner by separating them. The inner liner may be hidden in a flap, zipper, or velcro. So, check your headgear thoroughly for an opening to separate the layers. 

You may want to separate the liners because sweat can sometimes get through the outside layer. This will give your headgear a bad smell if it happens often. So, separate the layers to fully clean them and remove any lingering smells accumulated in the inner layer. 

Add Vinegar to the Mixture To Help With Any Smell

If you’ve noticed a smell in your headgear, then consider adding vinegar to the mixture to help get rid of that pesky smell. Smells are very common in headgear because your head holds a lot of heat. So, you’ll sweat from your head often during a match. This sweat can leave quite a bad smell on your headgear, just like your wrestling shoes.

Spray Headgear Down With Alcohol and Water Mixture

Spraying your headgear down with alcohol and water can give you a quick clean in between washes to ensure they don’t smell too bad or get too germy. The mixture is very simple. Just add one part alcohol and one part water.

After spraying, wipe your headgear down with a clean, wet washcloth to ensure it’s clean, and the alcohol is gone. The alcohol mixture is a great way to ensure that you don’t spread the infection to your opponent through dirty gear. 

Soak the Headgear Separately in Baking Soda

After cleaning, some smells may persist. This is common with wrestling gear because it’s so often covered in sweat. So, the best way to ensure the smell is completely gone is to soak your headgear in baking soda. While it doesn’t need to soak very long, it’s a good idea to let it soak as long as possible to give the baking soda time to strip the smell. 

How Often Should You Wash Wrestling Headgear?

Wrestling headgear should be washed after each use, but if this isn’t possible, then they should at least be cleaned in some way after every use. Germs can spread very easily in wrestling. So, headgear should be cleaned every time to promote cleanliness. 

One of the first rules of wrestling is to wrestle in clean gear. That’s why it’s common for wrestlers not to wear their shoes anywhere outside of the mat. Wrestlers tend to consider it respectful to clean their gear before every use because their bodies are often exposed to the mat. Cleanliness is respectful, as is not spreading germs through dirty gear. 

So, out of respect, you should clean your headgear after every match. This doesn’t mean that you need to soak it every time. Simply wiping it down with alcohol will keep it clean before your next match. However, it’s best to do a complete wash for your headgear once a week. This will help keep your gear germ-free and keep the stench to a minimum. 

Alternatively, you can always get two pairs of headgear so that you’ll always have a clean one when the other is in the washer. While this may not be the cheapest option, it’s worth considering during wrestling season due to the intense schedules. 

Can You Put Your Wrestling Headgear in the Washer? 

Wrestling headgear can be put in the washer on a gentle cycle. You may want to consider washing your headgear by hand, though, as this is the gentlest way to make your headgear last long.

While it’s safe to wash your headgear on a gentle cycle, washing over time can cause your headgear to wear out faster. All gear suffers wear and tear over time with use, but washing can accelerate that process. 

It’s best to wash your headgear by hand to prevent wear and tear from accelerating. Soak your headgear in a detergent mixture or simply scrub it with soap and a washcloth to get it clean without risking any damage.

Also, don’t be afraid to wipe your headgear down in between washes after every use. Use a mixture of your own or just a cleansing wipe to get the sweat and germs off your headgear after every match and wash as needed. 

Wrestling headgear can and should be washed frequently. You should clean your headgear in some way between every match. Then, you can wash it thoroughly once a week or so for a full cleanse. It’s best to wash it by hand, but putting it in the washer is safe, too.

Remember, it’s respectful in the sport of wrestling to keep your gear clean to prevent the spread of germs to your opponent. So, keep your headgear clean and wash it thoroughly to keep the smells out. 

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