All of the fencing equipment should be washed and cleaned from time to time as we, “cleaning servants” of our kids, know. Sweaty equipment is disgusting, no doubt. We already know how to simply throw a cotton jacket into a washer and dryer – but what about the Lamé? Let’s be honest, this one is the last piece on your list to clean because you’re afraid you’ll totally destroy its conductive ability. No one wants to admit it, but 90% of fencers NEVER clean their electrical vests – NEVER! If you are not a millionaire who can buy a new lame once it’s dirty, please use these 7 simple tips to clean your child’s lame. Stop the sweaty madness of this most whimsical element of fencing clothes. No more odor and greenish rust spots on your lame!
Even during winter days fencers sweat, not to mention hot summer battles. Once it’s sweaty and not pleasant to wear, wash it over the weekend and you are good to go and fence again on Monday. Don’t think that water will cause lame to rust – in fact the salt in sweat is the number one thing that will destroy a lame. So, if you clean lame once every few weeks, it will actually serve you longer – amazing! What I actually do is to pause my Netflix movie for a few minutes and wash four – YES FOUR – of my kid’s lames. That’s how easy and quick this process is.
7 Tips for Cleaning a Fencing Lame
- Get a big bucket (I use the same one that I use to wash masks) and fill it up with slightly warm water.
- Add one detergent cup full of mild detergent and the same amount of (surprise!) Windex. Note: For a mild detergents, look for those labeled eco-friendly, hypoallergenic, dye- perfume-bleach- free, baby formulas, etc. Instead of Windex you can use ammonia and you’ll get the same effect, if not better.
- Zip the lame up and put into this bucket (fencing SPA tub) and gently bathe it in the detergent/water/Windex mixture. You can let it rest there for 5 minutes.
- Take it out and rinse several times in a clean, lukewarm water – you can use your shower to rinse it well under a gentle stream of water.
- Shake off the excess water, put it between two old fluffy towels, and gently dab the remaining water.
- Hang it on a hanger in the bathroom and let the water drain out. (Don’t forget your lame is there though, because it’ll make you really upset to find it in the bathroom a minute before bed time.
- Air drying is your best friend! Avoid direct sun, but hang outside to dry. I am lucky to live in California, but if you live in Iceland, find a good sunny day for this Mission Impossible. Good luck!
That’s it, you can go back to your favorite movie or book. Well done!
NEVER-EVER bonus points:
- Never Ever put your lame in a washing machine or dryer – if you do you’ll create a crumpled piece of art for an exhibition “Postmodernism in creative fencing gear”
- Never Ever wash it in a hot water – please don’t bother to experiment, because I’ve already seen the results in our club!
- Never Ever wring out lame after washing – it may destroy the conductivity.
- Never Ever put sweaty lame to a fencing bag – the metal threads are too fragile and can break and oxidize.
- Never Ever use bleach or other wipes – better keep them in your bag in case of a lunch disaster.
- Never Ever blow dry it with hair dryer – read Never Ever tip #1.
And to that end, here is an interesting suggestion from the Leon Paul website: “If you have a lame that has a small dead spot, or a spot that fails inspection, you can try spot-cleaning the lame with a bit of ammonia-based cleaner such as Windex. Gently spray on a little bit of Windex and let it dry. If you lame is still totally dead, however, you will need to patch up the lame.”
Hope this will help! Stay clean, fence well. Okay, where is my “Fencing Mom of the Year” medal? 🙂