If you wear a knee brace for an extended period of time, certain odors will begin to develop which are not only unpleasant, but may force you to get rid of the knee brace altogether if not dealt with quickly. To prevent that from happening, I have provided a list of tips that you can use to wash your knee brace.
Tip 1 – The first thing I recommend is to read the instructions manual that came with your brace. It should provide some basic information on how to wash it and maintain it. If it didn’t come with one, most of the time you can find the user manual by using a simple Google search. (e.g.: Go to Google.com, type “McDavid Pro Knee Brace User Manual” and then click the Google Search button).
Tip 2 – For all non-metal type braces, simply soaking the material (foam, plastic, neoprene, etc.) in cold water mixed with a small amount of detergent. For metal-supported braces, you can remove the material from the brace and soak it, however keep in mind that some material may be a bit difficult to put back on afterwards. Soaking instructions:
a. Fill a tub or sink with water
b. Add detergent (1 tablespoon per 2-3 gallons)
c. Soak the material
d. Wash the material by moving it around with your hands and kneading the material.
e. Rinse, rinse and rinse again.
Do not use an excessive amount of detergent. When you rinse the material afterwards, make sure that all the soap has been rinsed away. This is extremely important because leftover soap may breed bacteria and mildew over time, causing additional odors to develop which defeats the purpose of what we are trying to accomplish.
Tip 3 – Use specialized products designed for cleaning sports equipment, such as “Penguin Brands Sport Wash”. They are more expensive however they do an excellent job at removing odors.
Tip 4 – Some people put their entire knee brace (metal, material and all) in the washing machine on gentle cycle with cold water. Only use a small amount of detergent and if possible, use an extra rinse cycle to ensure all the soap is gone before air-drying it.
Tip 5 – One final step for metal-supported braces is to lubricate the hinges. A light touch of red grease or auto grease is enough.
It is highly recommended that you try these tips before the odors develop.