How to Clean Baseball Equipment at the End of the Season
Is there anything sadder than that last baseball game of the season? My kids and husband (and honestly, myself as well) all go through a couple days of being low key depressed following the end of every baseball season. It’s almost like we don’t know what to do with ourselves in the late afternoon and evenings. For the first time in months, we’re not rushing to a practice, responding to a baseball parent chain text, or loading up the car with baseball equipment on Saturday morning to head to a tournament.
After we break out of our temporary slump (and try to get the kids motivated for basketball season and off season baseball training), we usually spend at least one day going through all the equipment and uniforms from the season and making decisions about what will make it through winter training and beyond.
Here are some tips for your own family’s Post Season Equipment Clean Up. I’ve included helpful resources such as a Post Season Checklist to go through uniforms, equipment, parent gear and more to evaluate for wear and tear and decide what will make it through til next baseball season. If you go through all the gear and decide there are things your kids have outgrown and won’t use, I’ve included a helpful list of organizations where you can donate used sports equipment.
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In general, it’s a good idea to spend a weekend afternoon going through this season’s Uniforms, Equipment and Parent Gear to decide what can be cleaned and stored, and what needs to be replaced before next season. It’s also a good idea to give the car a deep clean, and then organize your garage or mudroom for equipment storage.
- Go through all uniform pieces to decide what can be cleaned and kept for next year, or what should be trashed or donated (or kept for eventual reuse by younger siblings).
- If you will need to reorder new uniform pieces, measure your son and keep a record of the measurements (this record can come in handy for those late night online shopping sessions when you found a great end of season deal on something your son will need next season). Here is a printable Uniform Size Tracker Worksheet you can use to record current sizes, along with preferred fit and brand for key items. As I’ve found in the past, every brand of baseball pants fits differently, and based on that experience we’ve found certain brands that fit best for each of our kids. Download the worksheet here.
- Clean uniform pieces that will be kept for next season. If you’re looking for tips, check out our handy printable reference How To Clean Baseball Uniforms. I keep this posted in my laundry room so that my kids can walk through the steps when they’re getting their uniforms ready for washing.
- After a year’s worth of use, white baseball pants are going to be stained. Before you throw out white pants that may have embedded red dirt stains or grass stains, try to remove the stains using a laundry whitener like OUT. If that doesn’t work, you could designate the pants for ‘practice only’ pants in the Spring. Honestly, I think the stains bother us more than they do our boys!
OUT White Brite Laundry Whitener is a miracle worker when it comes to reviving white baseball pants!
- What to do with those Jerseys that won’t be used next year (because of a new team, new number, or new uniforms altogether?). One idea is to store the jersey (along with all the other jerseys collected over the years) for eventual re-purpose into a quilt, pillow, or wall hanging – – this would make an amazing high school graduation gift! Search on Etsy or Facebook to find seamstresses that specialize in making these keepsakes.
Catchers Gear, Cleats, Etc.
Baseball equipment smells awful, and the off season is the perfect time for a deep clean of the smelliest gear, including Catchers Gear, Cleats, and your son’s favorite Ball Cap.
Some of my favorite sports equipment cleaning products are linked below. I use these products to give some of the smelliest, dirtiest equipment we have a deep clean before storing away until Baseball season starts again in the spring.,
- Catchers gear can be hand washed using a mild detergent, rinsed well, and then hung up to dry. Make sure that the gear is thoroughly and completely dry before storage. If bad smells persist, you can give the gear a spray with an enzymatic deodorizer like Funkaway Aerosol Spray
- Cleats can be washed, but must be thoroughly dried before storage. Check out our post, How to Clean Stinky Cleats here.
- After thoroughly cleaning cleats, and ensuring they are completely dry, store with a Marsheepy Charcoal Shoe Deodorizer Bag stuffed in each cleat.
- If your son is superstitious about cleaning his ball cap during the season, the off season is the perfect time to finally clean that sweaty, dirty cap. If you’re wondering how to clean a baseball cap, here’s your answer. Did you know you can wash your ballcaps in the dishwasher or washing machine? Use the Ballcap Buddy to maintain the shape while gently washing the cap from a years worth of sweat, dirt, and hair oils.
Coolers, Water Bottles, Parent Gear
Parent gear, including chairs, coolers, and wagons, also needs a little end of season care before storage.
- Are you even a baseball parent if you don’t have a wall of different sized coolers stacked in your garage? The end of the baseball season is the perfect time to clean up those coolers before you store them for a couple months. Clean your cooler inside and out using regular dish soap , and then dry well before storage. If you have leftover dessicant packets (like from a pair of new shoes) you can throw a couple of those in to keep moisture from taking over if you store the coolers in your garage in the off season.
- Have you ever cleaned out the trunk of your car only to find a water bottle or jug, where the interior now looks like a science experiment with mold and mildew growing? I know my husband has. These tablets have saved me from throwing out hundreds of dollars of water jugs over the years. If while cleaning out your car you find a long forgotten water jug (or coffee mug – yuck), you can use Bottle Bright Cleaning Tablets to deep clean the nastiest, moldiest water bottles. Just fill the bottle with warm water, drop in a tablet, and let sit for 15-30 minutes, or longer depending on how dirty the container. The longer you let it sit, the better it will work. I have used this on stained coffee pots, coffee to-go mugs, and mildewed water jugs with amazing results.
- For chairs and wagons, just wipe off any accumulated mud or dirt using a sponge or wet paper towels. Allow to fully air dry before folding up and storing for the winter.
Car Clean Up
If there is one thing I love doing to mark the end of baseball season, it’s treating my car to a deep clean to rid the floor mats of dirt and sand. Once your car is clean, check out these tips for keeping your car neat and organized during Baseball season:
Garage and Mudroom Storage
The off season is the perfect time to reevaluate your garage and mudroom storage. Check out my favorite garage and mudroom organization systems in the following post: How to Organize Sports Equipment
The end of baseball season is always sad. Taking an afternoon to clean up uniforms and gear gives us a chance, as a family, to reflect on what a great season it was, and how much we are looking forward to Spring 2022.
Looking back, the 2021 baseball season was an amazing one for our family. My sons both grew as athletes. I loved watching them challenge themselves on the field, and watching them grow as young men during their wins and losses. They both developed strong friendships, on and off the field. Our baseball family expanded, and has become our most treasured group of friends. We traveled throughout New Jersey and New York for games, and to Cooperstown and Aberdeen, Maryland for two amazing tournaments. We treasured this return to an almost sense of normalcy after a rough 2020. In conclusion, I hope that your family’s 2021 baseball season was filled with amazing memories that will last a lifetime!
Resources: Download the following checklists and printable tools here.
Motivated to clean and organize all.the.baseball.things? Check out these related posts for cleaning and organizing baseball equipment: