Fencing Jackets are traditionally made of white canvas and cotton batting. You may clean a fencing jacket easily, but find it difficult to keep lustrous. We’ve detailed our tried and trued methods below for keeping jackets in their best condition. Remember, regular washing will make future cleanings fast and efficient.
Prevention & Post-Use Care
Separation: Always separate your fencing clothes from other equipment especially steel weapons. Transport your jacket and gloves separate and isolated in cloth bags (a pillow case is perfect). Do the same for your mask, pants, etc. Keeping sweaty cloth away from steel prevents rust stains. Don’t rest your jacket on dirty surfaces between use. Politely request your opponent not rest his or her weapon’s tip on the ground to prevent transfer onto your jacket.
Air Dry After Use: Have a dedicated space in your closet or bathroom with enough hangers to air dry all of your equipment after use. It should only take a few hours to dry and will keep your clothes from growing mildew.
How to Clean a Fencing Jacket
Warnings: There are many manufacturers of fencing jackets who know the specifics of their garment more than can be detailed here. Check the manufacturers cleaning instructions before considering any advice given here. When you get a new jacket wash it before use removing any chemicals from the manufacturing processes, and any excess dye. It’s very important to never use bleach on fencing jackets. Bleach will deteriorate the jacket’s puncture resistance.
Washing: Machine wash the jacket alone or with other washable, white fencing garments (like underarm protectors or knickers). Use cold water unless you’re certain the jacket has already shrunk (or if you’d like it to). Cold water should not shrink the jacket. We recommend using OxiClean White Revive to clean and brighten jackets. If you have sensitive skin we recommend running the jacket again with a detergent of your choice after a wash with OxiClean.
Drying: Allot enough time after washing to hang and air dry the jacket. Air drying has the least chance of shrinking the jacket. If necessary use a machine dryer but on the lowest heat. High atmospheric heat may also shrink the jacket, so don’t air dry outside in 100 degree weather!
Soaking: Soaking the jacket can help remove stubborn stains and make machine washing more effective. Immerse the jacket in a cleaned basin, tub, or bucket with cold water and OxiClean White Revive according to their soaking instructions. Do not mix garments; soak one at a time! Use enough water to submerge the garment but not dilute the solution too much. Soak for at least an hour and repeat if necessary. If there’s some really tough stains and discoloration soak the jacket with a few capfuls of Rit Whitener & Brightener. Agitate the garment occasionally in the soaking solution by hand. Once the stains are gone or diminished follow the washing instructions above.
Don’t Let it Set In! So you spilled your cappuccino on your fencing jacket? Don’t panic! You can fix it! Take the jacket off off and sponge up the liquid with a dampened paper towel. Get as much of the stain out by blotting only, don’t wipe, scratch, or smear! Wash the jacket as quickly as possible after blotting the stain, but do not dry until the stain is gone. Repeat soaking, washing, or spot removing prior to drying. If you dry a jacket with sweat or spot stains it “sets them in” making them far harder to remove
Stain Removing: Stains can be very stubborn and will tempt you to break the ‘no bleach’ rule. Don’t do it! The best technique we’ve developed requires sunlight, salt, and lemon juice:
Benjamin’s Spot Removing Technique
In a small bowl or ramekin stir together until mixed:
-1/3 cup room temp. lemon juice
-1 tablespoon salt
After blotting the stain (see above) and washing in OxiClean (see above), hang the jacket outside and expose the stain(s) directly to the sun. Using a spoon or eyedropper, bead drops of the mixture onto the stain until saturated. Set in direct sunlight and reapply the mixture as it dries. Repeat until the stain is removed. Rotate the jacket to keep the stain directly facing the sun.
Rust: See above spot removing technique to clean a fencing jacket of rust stains.
Sweat Stains: Ivory soap has been around since 1879 and is a fine product. It’s incredibly good at dissolving natural oils making it useful to remove sweat stains & body odor. If you have some particularly tough collar or underarm stains, try hand-washing the jacket with Ivory soap.
Odors: Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) shouldn’t only be found in your refrigerator or cupboard. Add a cup of baking soda when machine washing your jacket and it will better balance the pH of the water making your detergent more effective and help remove odors. You may also clean a fencing jacket with detergents specified for athletic wear.
Blood: Take extreme care with blood, even your own! Be considerate of the possible biological contagion blood presents (which is probably minimal), but more so people’s psychological fears of it. Spot clean a fencing jacket with the above mixture as quickly as possible and properly dispose of any materials containing blood.