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The Best Ways to Wash Martial Arts Gear

February 19, 2019

Martial arts can be divided into several different categories. For instance, there’s karate, jujitsu, judo, aikido, and kung fu. While they all differ slightly, such as their country of origin, they all have one thing in common—they all involve moves such as punches, kicks, and throws.

Like any type of exercise, it comes with a number of health benefits. By practicing martial arts, you not only improve your muscle strength, but you increase your mental concentration as well. On top of that, rigorous training lowers blood pressure and heart rate, both of which is great for cardiovascular fitness.

Unlike hockey or volleyball, martial arts is unique in that it doesn’t require any type of specialized equipment. Generally speaking, all you’ll need is a uniform; the rest you can do with your hands and feet.

If you’ve ever participated in these types of combat, you’ll know that it can be quite tiring. After all, it involves non-stop movement for a set amount of time. If anything, you’ll work up a sweat in a matter of minutes. Given this, it only makes sense that your uniform would need to be washed. At the end of the day, no one wants to be stinky at the gym. Aside from that, it only makes sense that you’d want to take good care of your uniform. In the end, they do cost a bit of money.

What are the best ways to wash martial arts gear? What should you avoid doing? Can the items be thrown into the wash? These are some of the questions that we’ll be answering below. Without further delay, let’s take a look at how you can clean your gear!

How to Wash Taekwondo Uniforms (Doboks)

how to wash taekwondo dobok

Taekwondo uniforms, also known as doboks, come in a variety of colors, though white is the most common. For the most parts, they are made out of traditional cotton; however, some also contain polyester, a synthetic material that pulls sweat away from the skin. 

Cleaning Doboks in the Washing Machine

First things first, you’ll want to remove any patches that you have on the uniform. To prevent shrinkage, always wash the uniform with cold water—this is particularly true if it is made out of cotton. Add a bit of ACTIVE detergent and set it for a gentle or delicate cycle. Do not use fabric softeners or bleach as these chemicals can lead to yellow staining.

Note: Traditionally, the belts should not be washed. If it’s so dirty that it bothers you, however, you can give it a clean.

Remove the dobok when the wash cycle is complete. Hang it up and allow it to drip dry. If possible, do not put it in the dryer; some types of uniforms are more prone to shrinking than others.

Getting Rid of Uniform Stains

Over time, your uniform can get stained, often from sweat. If this is the case, you’ll want to pre-treat the area before putting it in the washer. Rub a generous amount of ACTIVE detergent or soap onto the stained spot and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Afterward, you can put it into the machine as normal.

Note: The above method works great for all types of martial arts uniforms.

How to Clean Karate Uniforms (Karategi)

Karate uniforms are known as Karategis. White in color, they are typically made from smooth cotton, a material that offers both comfort and unrestricted movement. Ideally, you’ll want to wash them after every class; this will prevent them from being stinky.

how to deodorize karategi

Are Karate Uniforms Machine Washable?

Yes, they are. As a matter of fact, it is recommended that you put them into the washing machine. Select a gentle cycle and wash it with cold water; use a detergent that works for cotton. We recommend ACTIVE detergent. Never use hot water as cotton tends to shrink in high temperatures.

Press the start button and wait for the cycle to finish. Do not add any fabric softener. Avoid using bleach. While it is effective for cleaning, the chemical can damage the uniform in the long run. When the cycle is done, take the uniform out and allow it to air dry; this will maximize its lifespan. If you must, however, you can put it into the dryer on the lowest heat setting.

Pro-tip: Do not wash your karate uniform with other pieces of laundry; this will prevent it from damaged.

Can You Hand Wash Karate Uniforms?

Yes, you can—however, it’s probably a better idea to just put them into the machine. For one thing, they can be difficult to rinse properly; skin irritation is a possibility if soap is left on the cotton.

If you really wanted to, though, you could hand wash it in the bathtub. Fill it with cold water, add a bit of ACTIVE detergent, and mix. Afterward, place the uniform into the tub—make sure it is saturated with the solution. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes before hand washing.

To get rid of the sweat and oils, rub the fabric gently against itself. When you’re done, rinse the soap out with water. From there, press out the extra water and hang it up to dry. In some cases, it can take upwards to two days to dry completely.

Note: Depending on how much detergent you added, you might have to rinse the uniform a few times.

Washing Instructions for Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) Uniforms (Gi)

The Jiu Jitsu Gi is typically made out of heavy cotton. While most are white, they can also be black or blue. Similar to other martial arts, the gi also includes trousers and a belt, the latter of which is used to determine rank.

best way to clean jiu jitsu uniform

Machine Washing Your Jiu Jitsu Gi 

Given that these uniforms are made out of cotton, they can safely be cleaned in the washing machine. To prevent them from shrinking, always wash with cold water on a gentle cycle. Do not use bleach or fabric softener. Avoid washing your gi with other clothes as that can lead to color bleeding and damage.

Once the cycle is finished, take the gi out of the machine. Hang it up and allow it to drip dry. Depending on how thick it is, it can take up to a couple of days to dry completely. Do not put it in the dryer as there is a high chance that it will shrink.

Pro-tip: Consider buying more than one set of uniform—that way, you won’t have to worry about it drying on time.

How to Deodorize Muay Thai Shorts and Gloves

Muay Thai is a type of boxing that originates from Thailand. Aside from headbands and armbands, fighters wear shorts and gloves, the former of which is often made out of satin. 

Hand Washing Your Muay Thai Shorts

Satin shorts made of silk are quite delicate. For this reason, they should be hand washed. Before you do, however, it’s a good idea to soak them in soapy water first; you can do this by filling the sink with water and adding a bit of ACTIVE detergent. Mix the solution by gently agitating the water with your hands. Place the shorts in and allow them to saturate in the liquid.

After letting it sit for 15 to 30 minutes, wash the shorts by gently rubbing the fabric against itself. When you’re finished, rinse the soap out with clean water. Hang them up and allow them to air dry. Do not put them in the dryer—that will lead to shrinkage and fading.

Putting Your Muay Thai Shorts in the Washer

You can put your shorts into the washing machine if they are made out of other materials such as cotton or polyester satin. To prevent the colors from fading, turn them inside out; this will also prevent embroideries from peeling off. For extra protection, you can also put them in a mesh laundry bag. Choose a delicate cycle and wash with cold water after adding an appropriate amount of ACTIVE detergent. Do not use bleach or fabric softener.

After the cycle is done, take the shorts out, hang them up and allow them to air dry. Do not put them in the dryer or under direct sunlight.

Getting the Stink Out of Your Muay Thai Gloves

how to clean martial arts gear 1

Your gloves can get pretty stinky—especially if you don’t air them out. Luckily, there are a few simple things that you can do to keep them smelling fresh.

Pro-tip: Consider wearing hand wraps when you’re training. Not only will they support your hands but they will absorb a good amount of sweat, which helps to prevent the smell.

While you can’t throw them into the washing machine, you can use a disinfectant spray to clean the surface—just wipe them dry afterward. Alternatively, you can use anti-bacterial wipes on the outside. To get rid of the smell, stuff the inside of the gloves with dryer sheets.

Pro-tip: Even if you don’t have time to clean your gloves, you should keep them dry; this will prevent the growth of odors. To absorb residual moisture, you can stuff newspapers inside.

How to Wash Judo Uniforms (Judogi)

Traditional Judo uniforms are called Judogis. Similar to karategis, they consist of three parts—the uwagi, obi, and shitabaki, all of which are made from different fabrics. In general, though, the heavy jacket is made from heavy-weight cotton.

Using the Washing Machine For Your Judogi

To prevent it from smelling, wash it immediately after practice. Put it into the machine (including the belt) and wash with cold water on a gentle cycle. Avoid adding too much detergent; it can damage the fabric if not rinsed out properly. Do not use fabric softener or bleach. White vinegar can be added to help with the smell. Press start and wait for the cycle to finish.

Once the uniform is washed, put it on a hanger and allow it to dry. Do not put it in the dryer—this will cause the cotton to shrink. Avoid drying it under direct sunlight.

How to Properly Clean Sparring Gear – Headgear, Chest Protectors, Hand Guards, Shin Guards, Foot Guards, Groin Protectors

cleaning sparring gear

Cleaning sparring gear is a little different in that you can’t just throw everything into the washing machine—that will ruin the padding and materials. Instead, you want to use anti-bacterial wipes (or something similar such as alcohol) to clean the items; this will kill most of the germs on the surface that is causing the odor. Alternatively, you can wipe your gear down with a damp cloth (a bleach/water mixture works great). Allow everything to dry thoroughly afterward.

Note: If you have cloth items, you can treat them like regular laundry.

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Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

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