Let’s face it, our children’s sparring gear can start to smell rancid if it is not cleaned and stored properly. Also, you want to keep in mind that the Karate gear is exposed to sweat, blood, and bacteria if not other things, so want to make sure the equipment is aired out and cleaned routinely. Outside of the smell, bacteria, and other infectious germs can increase your family’s chance of catching colds, the flu, or other unwanted illnesses and infections. Here are some suggestions for cleaning your child’s karate gear.
- Air It Out – As soon as your child returns home from practice or a match, do not leave the gear in the bag or it will quickly start to smell. Take the gear like the helmet, gloves, shin guards, and foot paddings and spread them out to air dry in a place with good air circulation.
- Mouth Guard – The mouth guard can be washed with soap and water, rinsed, and left out to air dry. The mouth guard can also be soaked in mouthwash for a few minutes after washing, which will kill most germs left behind and leaves it fresh for the next use.
- Machine Wash – Cloth shin pads, hand wraps, foot paddings, and any other fabric equipment are often cleaned like other clothing by running them through the washer and dryer. You can add a small amount of chlorine bleach to the amount the color can handle without fading. This will help reduce unwanted germs.
- Gloves – The gloves can become a problem due to sweaty hands being inside of them being unable to launder them. Air drying after each use will help. The best idea to keep the gloves from smelling is by using techniques to keep the inside as dry as possible. Here are a few techniques:
- Spray the outside of the gloves with disinfecting spray or a mixture of water and alcohol, and then wipe them dry or allow them to air dry.
- Spray your child’s hands with a mix of water and alcohol (a small amount of alcohol added to a spray bottle of water) before they wear the gloves.
- Take two old socks and fill them with talc or baby powder, tie them off at the top, and place one in each glove after they have air dried and leave them until the next use. The same technique can be used with cedar chips instead of powder.
- You can purchase pads that absorb glove sweat. These usually are made of cloth material and filled with cedar chips, and they work the same way as you creating your own from old socks. Because they work the same, it is your personal preference to buy or make these absorbers.
- Foam Protective Gear – You can wipe down any foam protective gear with antibacterial wipes, or you can spray them with disinfectant and then wipe them down to remove any sweat, blood, or other infectious material.
Creating a routine with your child to help get them in the habit of cleaning and airing out their Karate gear after use will help decrease unwanted smells from the gear and their bag. Soon they will be in the habit and either take charge of the cleaning or do it without your supervision. The cleaning route will help keep your family safe from infections by reducing unwanted bacteria or other infectious material that is carried into the home from Karate.