Roller Derby Equipment Care & Gear

Washing your equipment is essential. There are several ways to wash them from putting them into the shower with you after practice to running them in the dishwasher. The way I prefer is to hand wash with a mild soap or shampoo in the sink. Cold water rinse well. You can put pads into the washing machine on the spin cycle only to get the excess water out, blot between a towel or let drip dry in the tub or sink on hangers or clothesline. Never use laundry soap for hand washing without using gloves. Never say never. Can you say c-h-e-m-i-c-a-l p-e-e-l ?

Alternately to hand washing, you can put the pads into your automatic dishwasher and run a normal/light load and rinse cycle. Again you can run these on a spin cycle only in the washing machine to remove excess water. I recommend using my homemade dishwasher powder recipe.

If you have the freedom & luxury to be able to hang on an outdoor clothesline, this is a great way to dry your pads during warm weather. The sun kills bacteria that causes odors. If you can’t wash your pads as frequently as you want, hang them out in the sun to freshen & kill germs.

Helmets are a hidden equipment stench of derby! Ever washed your helmet? Check your chin straps! Can’t find that stench you keep smelling? It’s right under your nose (chin)! Remove the Velcro pads in your helmet and gently hand wash in warm water with mild soap & cold water rinse. Hang or gently squeeze in a towel to dry. Don’t rub the inserts vigorously, they are usually made of thin foam rubber and are delicate. Submerge whole helmet in sudsy water while washing with your hands paying particular attention to those sweaty straps. Rinse & hang or hand dry.

To clean your gear in a pinch, stop the shower drain up while you shower, drop pads in. Give ’em a squirt of shampoo, stomp, stomp, stomp, rinse, rinse again, hang or spin dry. (That is so Derby!)

Mouth guards are mandatory. You will be ejected from the building without one. I have a snap on lid little plastic container to use. A plastic bar soap travel container or a denture container would work too. rinse mouth guard as soon as you can & dry well. Store wrapped in paper towel inside container to keep fresh for next use. Most mouth guards have an insurance form for dental coverage should you come to the event of having a mouth injury. Fill that out and send it in for coverage.

Well fitted, properly operating equipment is a major part of derby. Must haves are knee & elbow pads, wrist guards, helmet & mouth guard. I also strongly recommend sweatpants, tights, 2 layers pantyhose/fishnet stockings, yoga pants, leggings, long socks (poly blend to minimize friction & blisters), something to cover all the skin on your legs for those falls or baseball slides! The floor will peel the skin right off your body! Speed+contact=friction+rinkrash! And while I think the fishnet scars are the only scars I ever want if I ever wanted scars, the rinkrash I want to avoid! It is one of the most painful injuries you can get, sans, sitting on a wheel, broken bones, bashed backwards knees & busted tailbones. Rinkrash hurts! When skating/falling outdoors it’s known as roadrash. You can also get carpet burns at the rink, if you get too close to the wall. It’s all about the equipment. The safer & more protected you feel on the floor, the more confidently you can exercise your derby skill and bounce off the floor and walls with minimal repercussions. I also recommend using a poly sports bra. I use to get total nipple hard-ons from my cotton sport bra getting saturated in my sweat then cooling off ‘the girls’ to such an extent that my nipples were hard the whole practice. If you ever experienced this it isn’t pleasant! It hurts! The poly bras wick the wetness away, keeping the girls happy & calm. That’s one of my highest recommendations.

Optional equipment may include headband or bandanna under helmet to protect hair from breakage & absorb perspiration, elbow, knee or ankle support worn under pads, bottom/butt pads with or without plastic inserts, fingerless gloves or wristies, headband, leg warmers, (sometimes worn on the upper arms/elbows, too).
If your hair is long enough to braid or put into ponytails make sure you do so at a point on your head that won’t interfere with the fit of your helmet. Have helmet strap fit under chin snugly. Double chins are sexy! Intact heads are sublime!

My pads & equipment are my constant skating helpmates. I would have knocked myself out a long time ago had I not been properly equipped! And while stinky pads may be an effective defense, it’s offensive. We will sniff you out and destroy you. Bwaahahahahahaaa….

When hanging laundry is illegal only outlaws will hang out clothes.


About Laura K

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