Recently, I wrote an article on how to take care of your karate uniform (http://jesbromley.com/taking-care-of-your-uniform/ ).
Taking care of your uniform is just as important as taking care of your belt, maybe even more so, since your belt is what represents your success as a karateka.
Taking care of your belt is definitely a worthwhile activity, as it will eliminate the odors trapped in your belt from your sweat, as well as removing the dirt and grime acquired from hardcore training sessions, which will ultimately give your beloved belt a longer life.
In this post, I will show you how to take care of your belt, and all the different methods of doing so.
Just like most things you own, the key to taking care of them is to keep them clean.
This the same with your karate belt, if you want to take care of it, you have to keep it clean.
You can do this by washing your belt.
There two main methods you can use, machine washing and hand washing.
In my opinion, the best option is hand washing, as it is more effective and washing machines can damage your belt (causing them to wear away easier).
For this method, all you will need is a sink, detergent and vinegar, so this option may be ideal if you don’t have a washing machine.
Fill the sink up with cold water, and add a little bit of delicate detergent.
You can also add some vinegar (only optional). Vinegar is good, as it will soak into the middle of the belt where it will eliminate the dirt and grime, as detergent only cleans the surface.
Let the belt soak in the water for a while (around five minutes) then use your hands to turn the belt over, twist it and occasionally wring it out.
After washing it for about ten minutes, rinse the belt under a cold tap.
This is done to get all the vinegar out (if you used it), and to wash off the detergent.
After you have rinsed your belt thoroughly, wring it out as much you can, then flatten and stretch it (to prevent shrinkage, even in cold water).
This method is good for those who want their belt to keep its color and not to fade too much. If you are after the “experienced” worn out look, then machine drying will help you achieve that a lot better.
For this method, you need to set up your washing machine in a specific way.
Have it on the lightest spin cycle, and set the water temperature to the coldest possible setting.
You want to use mild detergent, or detergent that is advertised as delicate.
Try to wash your belt separately, as washing it with other items can wear away the belt’s fibers.
Machine washing is the easiest option, but is not as effective as hand washing.
You need to be prepared for your belt to fade in color and shrink dramatically when using machine washing.
Although washing your belt is the main part, you need to pay attention to how you dry it.
Tumble drying your belt may seem attractive simply because it is easy, but just like your karategi, manufacturers advise against it.
This is because tumble drying will increase shrinkage, and will also damage the fibers in your belt.
The most ideal option for drying, is to hang your belt in a warm and dry place, but not in the direct sunlight.
Before hanging it out to dry, stretch your belt out as much as you can (to reduce shrinkage).
You can wash your belt as much as you deem necessary.
Washing your belt often is not exactly compulsory, but it doesn’t hurt to wash it regularly.
Personally, I wash my belt at least once a month.
When you wash your belt, don’t use hot water.
This is because hot water increases shrinkage.
When using detergents, try not to use those with bleach. This is because bleach will slowly deteriorate the fibers in your belt, meaning it will eventually wear away to nothing.
Because of this, when washing, it is best to use mild detergents or delicate detergents.
That’s how you take care of your belt!
If you follow these simple rules, you can be sure that your belt will stay in good condition.
If you treat your belt the exact same way you treat yourself, with care and respect, you can prolong its life.
If this post has helped you, feel free to comment down below or share it with your friends.
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P.S. Thanks Kevin for this comment:
What about belts, should we wash them? Will a worn out belt look better or worse? Thanks for your tips.” – Kevin
This is what motivated me to write this post!
In regards to your question, yes, you should wash your belt, and the look of your belt really comes down to preference.
If any of you want to suggest ideas for blog posts, feel free to let me know down below. Also, if you guys have any questions, you can contact me or leave your question in the comment section.