Derby stank is an inevitable part of being a derby girl.
It’s a distinct smell—a little sweet, a little sour. It’s not really like body odor or the smell of a sweaty, dirty child. (Or adult for that matter.) Derby stank is something that no derby girl is immune to. The good new is, after a few weeks, your nose sorta just gets used to the smell.
So, how can one try to prevent full blown derby stank or try to get rid of it? Well, I did a little-or a lot of research. I researched derby, soccer, hockey and other miscellaneous sports blogs.
I’ll start with getting rid of the stench that is emanating from you or even your beloved derby wife, sister or teammate.
Wash those stinky pads:
-Velcro your pads and place them alone in the washing machine. (If you must wash with other clothing or fear the Velcro won’t stay, place the pads in a lingerie bag or zippered mesh bag.) Use a mild detergent and fill the bleach dispenser with regular, el cheapo white vinegar. Do not use fabric softener. If you’ve ever read the tag on dry fit/under armor / most sports clothing, it says not to use fabric softener. The fabric softener effects the way materials absorb sweat. Hang your pads to dry. This can take up to two days, so plan ahead. (This is the method I used after borrowing pads. I am happy to report that my pads don’t stink.)
-Soak your pads in the laundry sink, bathtub, a bucket-whatever. Soak with a mixture that is half white vinegar and water. Again, hang to dry. This method may take a little longer to dry because the pads will be more saturated
-I read this one on a few hockey sites. Put pads in Ziploc bags and freeze. Thaw and dry for two days. The freezing kills the bacteria-which causes the stink. I’m not sure if extreme temps are good for derby pads though.
*Avoid washing your pads too often. The materials that protect can eventually break down.
What about a stinky helmet?
-Use a damp cloth or sponge and some tearless shampoo. (My helmet has the sweat saver headband, and I haven’t smelled anything funky coming out of it-yet.)
Now let’s talk prevention:
-Don’t leave your pads in your bag locked in your car! You are allowing your sweat, which is bacteria, to fester in your pads creating an unpleasant aroma. Think of your pads as bread and the stench as the green, fuzzy mold growing on it. Ew! Pinch the mold off and save that bread!
If you are notorious for leaving stuff in your bag-I am a habitual offender-there may be a solution. Make moisture absorbing bags to place in each pad and skate. They are the same things that homemade heating pads are made out of. The link here tells you how to make them and what smell goods can be added. What’s great is, when you get home and pull everything out of the bag, you can heat up the pads to dry them out and use them to soothe sore muscles-double duty, I like it!
Put a baking soda box with itty, bitty pin holes in your bag. The baking soda absorbs moisture and yuckiness. I think you can actually buy little baking soda fresheners now. Of course, a car air freshener probably wouldn’t hurt either.
-Kill the stink monsters on your pads by spraying a mixture of water and vinegar on them after every practice. The vinegar smells for like a second then dissipates. It’s easy on the most sensitive skin and won’t break down the integrity of the pad fillers. It can be used in your skates and helmet too. A mixture of rubbing alcohol and water works too, but alcohol can break foam down over time and dries leather out. I’ve seen Lysol and Febreze used, but I find the smell overwhelming and the fix temporary. If you want to get real fancy, you can buy specially made stench repellents: here, here, here, here, and I am sure a dozen other places.
-Wear pad condoms-gaskets and socks. You can buy fancy arm socks and fingerless wrist socks or get some scissors and have your own arts and crafts day. I used a few pairs of socks I bought on sale that wouldn’t fit past my ankles. I cut a section for my elbow and a section for my wrists. If socks are too tight under your pads, cut a pair of knee high pantyhose. Any little barrier helps.
When it’s hot, the sock/gasket barrier will help with pad slippage. Now, if pad slippage due to sweat is getting to be a problem, powder up. Put some baby powder between you and your pads/condoms. It will absorb excess sweat and keep pads in place. It also smells fresh.
-Help ease dreaded BO. So you started using the clinical strength deodorant and well, you don’t feel like you smell tropical breeze fresh. Wash your under arms with a facial cleanser like Noxzema that has benzoyl peroxide. There are even body washes used to fight acne with this ingrediaent. It kills the bacteria thus killing the stench.
-Don’t forget your mouthguard! If your pads are all gross, what do you think that thing has on it? I read an article here that talks about mold growing on your mouthguard. Vomit! You should keep your mouthguard in a ventilated holder. Brush it with toothpaste after every use and air dry. I also read that it can be soaked in a mild bleach and water mixture, rinsed and dried, soaked in Listerine or even soaked in denture cleaner. Whatever you decide to use (I brush mine and soak it in an antibacterial mouthwash prescribed by the dentist) keep it clean. Pad and body odor stench is enough, I don’t want to smell your crusty, moldy breath on top of all that.
-If you have stinky skates, try swapping out the insoles every thirty days or storing a piece of charcoal (the stuff for the grill works) in each skate. Try the odor eater balls if you feel like spending money. Spay them with your vinegar and water spray after every use.
-One last tip, and it’s one your momma probably taught you-have good hygiene!
Hope this info helps!