From: CrossFit Invictus
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.