Updated: Jul 20, 2020
So not only do you know all the names of the parts of fencing gear–practice and competition–but now you’ve taken the step of buying your own. Yay! No more sweaty, stinky club masks and plastrons!
Your practice whites–jacket, plastron, glove–are easy to keep clean. Just throw them in the washing machine with whatever laundry detergent you normally use. You can even toss them in with other clothes, just make sure that nothing will bleed color onto your jacket. It’s embarrassing to show up to practice with pink splotches all over it. I usually wash mine on the warm/cold regular cycle. Make sure to AIR DRY them all. Putting your practice gear in the dryer will shorten their lifespan and may actually make them unsafe to use. The dryer is hard on the fabric and can wear it thin pretty quickly. Thin jacket or plastron fabric = danger at practice.
Competition gear is another matter entirely. Lames, masks, and cuffs need to be washed more gently or the metal fibers in the fabric break and create dead spots, making them unusable for a tournament. Wash your lame and cuff in the kitchen sink by adding equal amounts of Windex and Woolite to lukewarm water. Let them sit in the water for 10-15 minutes. Rinse them well in another lukewarm bath, then remove most of the water by rolling them between two towels. Air dry.
Here’s a video to show you how to wash your lame:
Your mask can be washed using the same “sink technique”. It’s harder to get the water out of it, but you’ll need to blot it dry with towels, then air dry. I wash my gear often in the summer–the Texas heat dries everything in less than two hours. In cooler weather, count on everything drying in about 24 hours.
I have heard that you can wash your mask in the dishwasher but have never been brave enough to give it a try. Has anyone done that? Did it work?