Beating Pad Stink

It’s very difficult to play roller derby without getting sweaty.  But hey! Comparing sweat marks after practice is one of the perks, right?!  One of the downsides to this is stinky pads; so I wrote this little guide on how I battle pad stink!

But first this…

Smell = bacteria
Bacteria + fusty kit bag = more bacteria
More bacteria + skin = nasty skin infection = time out from playing roller derby.

Sounds extreme – and completely grim. Don’t believe me? Google it.



Take your pads out of your bag as soon as you can after training and air them out! Using an indoor airer, open up the pads as much as possible to let maximum air flow to them. An outdoor line is fine but the sun can damage the elastic – as can the heat from radiators.

Handy hint: if you do want to air them outside, make sure it isn’t going to rain! Airing the pads is key to preventing the buildup of horrible bacteria that likes to use the inside of your lovely pads as a breeding ground! 😉

Wearing a barrier between skin and pad can help prevent bad odour.  Just like wearing a bandana under your helmet, a barrier soaks up sweat.  Gaskets are really good at giving you added protection but also double-up as a sweat soaker and  can be bought from most skate shops, or online. Alternatively, you can improvise with cut up tights/socks (clean of course) and can be chucked in the wash so they are fresh for each practice; although they don’t provide the extra protection that the gaskets do.


It is possible to ‘freshen-up’ your pads to prolong the time in-between washes.

Some suggestions that I have come across are sprinkling bicarbonate of soda onto the pads before leaving for an hour or two, then vacuuming off.  After this, sprinkle a few drops of tea -tree oil onto them for an effective antibacterial remedy too.

Foam refresher can also be bought to use on your pads, just make sure it dries out before wearing!


This shouldn’t be done very often, (exceptions are wrist guards) not only as your pad stink prevention will be now be top notch, but the spin cycle on the washing machine can damage the protective padding.

*Always check manufacturers instructions prior to washing*


  1. Don’t wash pads the day before you are training, they will  probably still be wet!
  2. Make sure no velcro is loose, i.e. strap it up! A big ball of soggy pad isn’t the most fun thing to detangle.  More importantly, it won’t damage the fabric on the pads by sticking where it shouldn’t.
  3. Place pads in a pillowcase or a net bag that can be tied up.  This keeps them together and not clunking around your washing machine drum.
  4. Set the machine to delicate/cool/low spin cycle.  Basically, the most gentle cycle it has!
  5. Remove pads from the wash – they may be dripping when using a low spin cycle –  place them on the indoor airer as above, not on the radiator.

Once dry they should smell fresh and new!

Obviously pads don’t last forever and should be replaced if they are damaged – but if you look after your pads they should look after you 🙂

(information provided with a little help from

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