Each piece of equipment is designed and made to be as durable as possible for its intended use, but it can easily be damaged when mishandled.
After your game or practice rinse off each piece of equipment that your body has been sweating in. Set your shower to a lukewarm/tepid temperature, and spray each piece of equipment under the shower head. The goal is to rinse-off any sweat that has built up on the unit.
A skin safe mild soap (non-irritating) can be used periodically (not every rinse), to assist in removing sweat, body oils, dirt and dead skin cells from equipment. Make sure to rinse off the soap thoroughly so it does not irritate your skin.
It is not necessary to submerge your equipment in water to clean it. If you do submerge your equipment in water, be mindful that it will take longer to dry as many protective foams will absorb water and increase the weight of the unit.
A wet piece of equipment can be an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Only consider submerging your equipment in exceptional circumstances.
This is an optional step in your cleaning routine. A quick misting of disinfectant spray can help keep your equipment smelling great, and free of bacteria. There are commercial spray options available online or some goalies make their own. Do a spray test patch on a small area of your equipment to make sure it does not adversely affect your equipment.
Caution: some sprays may contain an essential oil for fragrance, and that can leave a subtle oil spray pattern on equipment. It may or may not wash off when rinsed.
After you have rinsed and disinfected your equipment, you need to thoroughly dry it. Wet equipment can be a breeding ground for bacteria (eg. stinky hockey smell) and it is also heavier. Keep in mind that your equipment is made of materials that will deform, melt, easily burn if subjected to intense heat.
Airflow is the best tool in drying your equipment; a simple oscillating fan on a high blower setting is sufficient to assist in the drying process. A slightly warm fan will speed up the drying process, but it should never be hot. Never place a heat source too close to any equipment.
Jerseys will shrink if put in a clothing dryer. It is best to hang dry them. Never put any equipment in the clothing dryer.
Pack your gear and get back out on the ice. Have fun!