How to Clean Up at Sports’ Matches

When you play hard your equipment is going to get dirty and cleaning it up after use will make sure everything will be ready to use at the next match.

Maintain tennis racquets

Modern graphite racquets happily withstand rain. If you can hack playing through showers, so can they! (The balls tend to get a little soggy, however.) After a game, simply wipe with a cloth then put your racquet back into its protective cover.

Clean cricket bats

Wipe with a dry cloth when you remember, but resist the temptation to over-oil. New bats typically come already coated with linseed oil and won’t need a second coat until the next season.

To revive a battered bat, peel off the plastic fascia then rub over the wood with fine sandpaper. Apply a thin coat of linseed oil and when it’s totally absorbed, stick on a fresh plastic fascia.

Sweep up hockey sticks

Mostly field hockey play is on artificial turf, so sticks now get more knocked than dirty. Use specialist putty such as Stick Fix to replace chunks that get knocked off the stick’s head.

Buff balls

Clean according to the surface of your sports ball. Plastic can take soapy water and a non-scratch kitchen scourer. With leather and vinyl, use a soft, wet sponge wrung from a bowl of washing-up liquid. Don’t try to clean tennis balls, simply let mud dry and brush off.

Wash water wear

Eventually, chlorine rots the rubberised elastic that holds goggles tight and keeps your hair dry. Giving goggles a quick spritz under the shower before you put them away extends their life. Always wash out latex caps in cold water, then wipe dry. Occasionally, sprinkle the inside with talcum powder. Rinse swimming costumes promptly to remove the chlorine, then wash according to fabric care labels.

Get squeaky-clean trainers

Many quality training shoes (sneakers) are machine-washable. However, if it doesn’t specifically say so on the care label, don’t lob your shoes into the machine: they’ll probably shrink. Instead, use upholstery shampoo on the fabric parts of the shoe. Put the mousse (foam) onto a cloth first, then onto the shoe. Rinse off, using a damp sponge.

Leather trainers can take a cream-based polish. To be thorough, take the laces off whilst you polish. Clear polish gives a more natural look than white.

If it’s odour rather than staining you’re looking to fix, use a proprietary odour-banishing product. A homespun version is to sprinkle bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) inside your trainers. Let it dry – stick the shoes close by the radiator – then brush out.

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