One of the most popular posts in this blog over the years has been the one that gives you information about how to wash your fencing gear. And no wonder! It’s not like we often buy white clothes that you aren’t allowed to bleach or jackets with metal fibers woven into them.
“Whites”: jacket, plastron, knickers, glove
Wash these in warm water in your washing machine. You can combine them in a load of “regular”, similarly-colored clothing. If you accidentally put a red t-shirt in there with them, the resulting pink tint will delight and amuse your teammates for months. This has never happened to me *clears throat*.
Do NOT use bleach on whites. This will potentially weaken the fabric and will make them unsafe to use. If you get a stain on them, you’re pretty much going to have to live with it. If you’re a saber fencer, your lamé will cover it up anyway. Foil fencers have a 50/50 chance. Kind of the same odds as their attack actually landing on target.
Some fencers get blood stains on their jacket. This will help intimidate opponents and should under no circumstances be removed.
Always hang up your whites and air dry them. Putting them in the dryer will potentially weaken the fabric and will make them unsafe to use. You might have heard this somewhere before…
Replace your whites when you have A) outgrown them–for kids this means one thing, for adults quite another–B) you are tired of them not being white anymore but rather a sad, grayish tone, C) when their straps and zippers no longer function and have been long replaced with duct tape, (You laugh. People do this. Ask members of the World Team and Vets.) or D) you just washed them and still make the career Armourers gag. This does not hold true for epéeists who use their B.O.-permeated gear as an offensive weapon on strip.
“Competition gear”: lamé, cuff, mask bib
None of these pieces should ever go into a washing machine, much less a dryer. The metal threads in the fabric will be destroyed faster than a stack of nicely-folded clothing during a Black Friday sale.
Click here to go my video on how to wash your lamé. It was shot with a huge budget. You’re gonna love it.
Wash your cuff and mask bib with the same magical ratio of ingredients. Get as much water out of each as you can with a towel. Hang up to dry.
Side note: I love washing my gear during the summer because the Texas heat dries it all in approximately 17.029 seconds. It gets a little warm here in July. August too. And October. It was 80 degrees here the first week in February. Heck, just bring your gear here any time of year and you’ll be fine. If you live in the North, use the half day of summer you get every year. Hot weather for y’all is as hard to come by as a ripe avocado. Too cold, too cold, too cold, 23 second window of warmth, too cold, too cold….
Note: if you run a fencing club, you should never follow any of these instructions. Fencers get soft if they get to wear fresh club gear. Besides they’ll never buy their own if you don’t gross them out every time they have to put on a jacket and mask used by “Sweaty Bob” from the previous class.