Football players wearing pants with integrated thigh pads.

How To Wash Football Pants: The Ultimate Guide

Fed up of having a sweaty, grass-stained girdle?

Every player’s pants will almost certainly be soiled following a football game or practice. Even if a player was successful in avoiding grass and soil stains, sweat alone would need washing the trousers before the next use.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to wash any pair of football pants – without wrecking them.

We’ll also show you how to wash white pants specifically, as they can be a little difficult to keep clean.

Here are all the steps involved:

  1. Preparation
  2. Stain removal
  3. Washing the pads
  4. Washing the girdle
  5. Drying everything

1. Preparation

Football player wearing a girdle under football pants.

First of all, you need to consider the type of pants that you’re wearing.

If you’re using an integrated girdle, then the pads are stitched into the actual fabric. Therefore, they cannot be removed prior to washing.

However, if your pants aren’t the integrated variety, you’ll need to remove the pads before washing them.

Once you’ve removed the padding (if necessary), you’ll need to check for stains. This is especially important if you wear a white girdle.

If there are stains, continue to step 2. Otherwise, you can skip to step 3.

2. Stain removal

Different materials respond differently to different stain removal methods.

The first thing to try is a regular stain remover, like Napisan. Apply the solution to the affected area (being careful not to rub too hard), before letting the girdle soak in hot water as per the packet instructions.

However, this solution doesn’t always work, especially with grass stains. There are other methods you can try though.

Most football girdles actually respond really well to stronger products, such as carpet cleaner.

Folex Carpet Spot Remover

Once again, apply the solution to the stain-affected area, and leave it to soak in as per the packet instructions – normally for a few hours.

For whites, you can also try a stronger soak in water containing bleach.

Fill a bucket with enough hot water to cover your girdle, and then add a cup of bleach and a cup of regular detergent. Leave it to soak overnight, before putting it through a regular wash.

Do not simply pour bleach onto the affected area. Bleach must be diluted with water prior to use, and using it in an exclusive spot can lead to discoloration in that area.

Note: if you’re trying to soak your football pants, but the padded areas keep floating above the water level, you can weigh them down with a towel to keep them underwater.

3. Washing the pads

This is for non-integrated girdles only – if you’ve got separate pads, you’ll need to wash them separately.

The pads in your football pants are especially delicate, and therefore they cannot be put in the washer like you can with your actual pants.

Fill a bucket with warm water and add detergent. Throw in your pads, give them a gentle wipe-down with a microfiber cloth, and allow them to soak overnight.

Your pads should never get stained (because they’re behind the outer layer of the girdle) but if they do, a soak with a stain-removing solution is generally your best football gear bet.

Like with the actual girdle, you don’t want to be vigorously rubbing your football pant pads. You can use a very gentle wipe to remove surface-level dirt, but a soak is going to be much more effective at getting the pads clean.

If the pads still smell sweaty after a long soak, try using an antibacterial spray – bacterial buildup is likely the cause of ongoing smells.

Lysol Disinfectant Spray Crisp 2X19oz

4. Washing the girdle

Football players wearing pants with integrated thigh pads.

Football pants can go in the washer, but you’ve got to be very careful with them.

Girdles are generally made of polyester, which is quite a fragile material.

Therefore, you should wash your pants separate to any other clothes, on a cool, gentle wash. Set your washer to delicate settings and a low spin cycle.

If you’re not having any luck with regular detergent, try using an extra-strong product, such as one containing bleach.

However, this solution doesn’t always work, especially with grass stains. There are other methods you can try though.

Most football girdles actually respond really well to stronger products, such as carpet cleaner.

OXI Clean


5. Drying

Football pants can wrinkle or begin to shrink in the heat. You can compare it to the effect of hot water when breaking in your cleats, which is why using a cool washing cycle is so important.

The same goes for drying. Never put your girdle in the dryer, and keep it out of direct sunlight too.

Try to find a cool, dry place to hang your pants to dry. The best places are shady outdoor areas, such as under your patio. Avoid dank, damp locations such as the basement.


If nothing is getting your pants clean, increase the strength of the products you’re using – not the amount of heat.

Girdles can resist most chemicals just fine – bleach is particularly effective against whites.

The secret to removing stains, and achieving a good clean, is finding the right product, or combination of products.

Every girdle is different, so don’t be afraid to try a few things out. Just make sure to read the label beforehand – some manufacturers will recommend that you stay away from certain products.

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