First of all, happy birthday to one of my bestest friends in the world (and Cooking on Skates contributor) DeVeeM!
Before I left for a recent work trip, and also before I got sick with something that may have been bronchitis, I realized I needed to wash my stinky, stinky derby pads. You know it's past time to wash them when you go "Ugh, what's that smell?" only to find out... it's you. It's your elbows, your wrists, whatever.
Your wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads are ready to wash. Take the foam lining out of your helmet, being careful not to tear out both layers of Velcro. If you have any additional supportive equipment (knee brace, Neoprene brace, gaskets), take out any removable pads from those so they can be washed as well. Put all the pads and padding in your kitchen sink. Clean the sink first if necessary.
My kitchen sink is not oversized and I thought it worked just fine. You could use a bathtub, but I think you'd have to waste a lot of water.
First, I soaked all of my pads in warm water with about a cup of plain white vinegar. Let it sit while you go watch TV for a while or something. I think I waited about half an hour.
Drain the sink and rinse off the pads.
Next, fill the sink back up with warm water, unscented/undyed laundry detergent and about half a cup of baking soda. Let sit a while. Then agitate with your hands to get everything all worked up, and sit a while longer. After 15 minutes or more, drain the sink and rinse the pads well.
Let the pads air-dry on a counter or outside. This can take 24 hours or more, so I would recommend washing your pads right after practice one day when you know you won't need them for a couple days.
After I washed my pads this way for the first time, they went from quite funky-smelling to practically good-as-new! I plan to repeat this process every couple of weeks.
Does anyone else have suggestions for how to effectively clean pads while extending their lifespan?