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How To Wash Your Smelly Knee Sleeves
Written by Calvin Sun

Coach Nick wrote a great post on the benefits of knee sleeves a while back. Here’s the link in case you missed it: The Benefits of Knee Sleeves. He mentions that neoprene sleeves can start to accumulate a distinct odor. I’ve worn knee sleeves for years and I can attest that they will definitely begin to develop a smell if you don’t take care of them properly.

Method 1: Prevention Is The Medicine

The best way to keep your knee sleeves smelling fresh is to prevent mildew (and who knows what else) from growing in the first place. If possible, don’t throw your sweaty knee sleeves into your gym bag and seal them up until your next training session.

– Turn your knee sleeves inside out after use and allow them to air dry.

– Depending on how frequently you use them, wash your knee sleeves with a normal load of laundry as needed and air dry them completely before putting them back in your gym bag.

– If you find that homeless people grimace when you run by with your knee sleeves on or maybe the UN has requested an inspection of your gym bag for biological and chemical weapons, you might want to try one of the two methods outlined below.

Method 2: Boil Your Knee Sleeves

I first heard of this method from Freddy Camacho of CrossFit One World. It’s pretty simple, all you need is a pot of water and some soap.

– Boil your knee sleeves in a pot of hot water for about 5 minutes.

– Remove the pot from heat.

– Add a small amount of dish soap to your sweaty neoprene mildew broth.

– Allow your knee sleeves to cool in the pot.

– Rinse your knee sleeves off and allow them to air dry.

Method 3: Hot Water and Vinegar Soak Before Washing With Laundry

The idea here is to use two methods for killing mildew and whatever else might be growing in your knee sleeves: heat and distilled vinegar. Bleach and other chlorine-based cleaners are not recommended for knee sleeves. Bleach can possibly weaken the textiles that comprise your knee sleeves.

– Heat up a large pot of water.

– Pour into a large bucket.

– Add 2 to 4 ounces of distilled white vinegar.

– Add your knee sleeves and allow them to soak for at least 10 minutes.

– Add your knee sleeves to a normal load of laundry with chlorine-free detergent.

– Allow your knee sleeves to completely air dry, you can leave them outside in the sun to speed up this process.

Besides allowing people to share a squat rack or lifting platform with you, washing your knee sleeves also has the added benefit of tightening them up a bit so you can be sure you have a secure knee support. As I mentioned, prevention is the best method but if you (or a friend) have particularly putrid knee sleeves, consider using one of the methods listed here.

kneesleevesoak

 

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Sebastian CervantesSpankpete288Melissa Calo-oyDavid Recent comment authors
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Sebastian Cervantes
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Sebastian Cervantes

How do you deal with knee sleeve rash? Will the boiling work?

Spank
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Spank

The best way to clean the brace is to use white vinegar and blue Dawn dish soap with cold water. Let soak about 10 minutes. Remove and rinse thru out with cold water. Use a clothes hanger and allow to air dry hung on the shower bar or where ever you might wish to dry.

pete288
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pete288

This idiot realise hot water is bad for neoprene?! smh you need to treat them like a wetsuit, cold water only, dont stick in the wash then you can use basic cleaners on them such as soap or dishwashing liquid

Melissa Calo-oy
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Melissa Calo-oy

Nothing wrong with soaking, but you can knock out that step if you just switch to Rockin’ Green Sport Rock laundry detergent. It’s got tea tree oil in it, so that knocks out the bacteria. It just leaves your gear smelling clean and fresh so you can funk it all up again later! The Stinky Gear spray is awesome too since you can spray it on stuff that’s hard to wash. Definitely grab a bottle and keep it in your car!

David
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David

I also use the sma e method I soak them in vinegar and warm
water. I’ve only had to do this twice, and used about a 1:3 ratio of
vinegar to water. Let them soak for a few hours, and then consider
rinsing them with some soapy water or throwing them in with your laundry
and they should be odor free.
Strap up your knee and enjoy the additional support with Gripped Knee Wraps

liz humeston
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liz humeston

I have found a pretty good method. Been doing this for about 8 yrs. Soak them in hot soapy (Dawn) dish soap for about an hour. Rinse and wring them dry by rolling in a towel. air dry them with a dryer sheet stuck in the center.

Keira Martins
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Keira Martins

These are really good ones for lifters, I have used it. Thanks for sharing

Rehband
Knee Sleeves

Brian Fogarty
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Brian Fogarty

Hi, Calvin. Brian Fogarty here (I did 14.4 with you a few weeks ago). Thanks for this article. Quick question. I have TCK knee sleeves. Same treatment for those? I think material is different. Thanks, buddy. Hope you are well.

Calvin Sun
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Calvin Sun

Hi Brian! I’ve never personally used those but some other lifters have told me that the same treatment should work. Thanks!