Properly preparing football equipment and uniforms for off-season storage extends the life of these items, and makes it easier to distribute them to players next season.
Have players peel off all decals (logo, stripes, award stickers). Helmet reconditioning companies have a per-helmet charge for removing decals, and this step may help reduce costs. Players need to remove mouth guards and chin strap covers as well. Store helmets in an accessible location to make it easier for the reconditioning company to pick up the helmets. When the helmets are returned, store in a dry area.
Many helmet reconditioners also offer shoulder pad repair and cleaning services. Thorough cleaning and repairing will extend the life of the shoulder pads. Many teams choose to save money by cleaning their own shoulder pads. Visually check all shoulder pads for missing, damaged, or loose parts. Discard any shoulder pads that cannot be repaired. Use an approved anti-bacterial cleaning aid to remove dirt and germs. Using a sponge, clean all areas of the shoulder pads. Allow the shoulder pads to completely dry prior to storage. Investing in a shoulder pad rack reduces storage space needed. Make it easier to hand out shoulder pads next season to players by stacking the shoulder pads by size.
Hip, Thigh, and Knee Pads
Have the players remove all pads from their football pants/girdles. Inspect pads and discard any damaged pads. Sponge-wipe these pads with an approved anti-bacterial cleaning aid to eliminate dirt and germs. After the pads have dried, use athletic tape to group the pads for easier distribution next year (wrap tape around two hip pads and a tail pad, wrap tape around a left and right thigh pad, etc.). Use separate containers for each grouping.
Wash and dry all practice and game uniforms per the manufacturers instructions. Inspect them for any tears, loose seams, etc. For game uniforms, many teams opt to have these services done commercially to assure proper care, and to extend the life of the uniform.
- Large plastic trash cans with lids make excellent containers for hip, thigh, and knee pads.
- When storing uniforms in boxes, place dryer sheets on top of every fifth garment to help prevent any musty odors from developing.
- Instruct helmet reconditioners to leave all facemasks unattached when returning the helmets. It will save time when issuing helmets to players the following season, as managers or coaches will not have to first remove a facemask to replace it with a suitable type for the player's position.