What a strange word “knickers” we use in the US for fencing pants, right? For British fencers, for example, “knickers” means female underpants. But in North America it’s almost synonym of nobility! To be honest, looking at the dirty fencing knickers of my kids, with the dense black stains on their knees, I am in serious doubt about whether the history of fencing pants is really somehow connected to kings and noble knights! My little fencers absolutely look adorable with those smallest size knickers that, though they’re as little as they are available, still come down almost to their ankles, but my goodness it seems as though they are ALWAYS dirty! So I am sure many parents and fencers wonder how to clean fencing knickers and win the “dirty knees war“!
In our club we have gone so far as to purchase 30 yoga mats for stretching exercises to save the nerves of moms who watch their children at the club, all in an effort to keep those knees clean. Well, guess what – it completely did not work! Somehow kids still found some way to come home with blackish, uneven stains on their knees! What an incredible talent on the part of these kids! At the end of the day after moving to mats for stretching, I found myself again staring at four dirty pairs of pants that only yesterday were brand new and spotlessly clean. But the joke is on those dirty knees because I am not an easy quitter! I declare war! Either stains or I will be victorious!
The first step in this war is to go over a few common tips for washing fencing clothes in general and knickers in particular:
Check the manufacture’s tag – Read the specific washing instructions for your brand, especially for fancy brands. The company that made them often knows best.
Wash in warm water – They may shrink in a hot water, especially cotton knickers. Don’t let them get too small!
Don’t mix lights and darks – When washing fencing gear, either wash it separately or combine with white clothes.
Soak them in water with laundry detergent – This can be for as little as 30 min all the way up to overnight and will help to remove lots of stains.
Hang to air dry if you have time – The dryer may shorten their lifespan, make them unsafe to use or destroy their elasticity.
Do not bleach!! – Bleach will cause yellowing on most of the materials in fencing clothing and affect the strength (protection) of the fabric.
Wash knickers inside-out – This will help to avoid piling of material (those little dots of lint like stuff), especially on synthetic or partially synthetic materials.
Do not keep sweaty knickers in a bag – They will smell! Dirt will stick firmly to the material and any weapon that’s rolling around may leave marks on them as well.
Now, here is the cherry on the top of our ice cream sundae of filthy fencing pants – are you ready? After many tries and mistakes, I am quite proud to reveal my very best trick for getting rid of naughty stains from snow-white elegant fencing pants.
*First an important note – I have no affiliation whatsoever with the cleaning brands mentioned in this post. Well, unfortunately I don’t have any 🙂 This is just what I know works, no paid advertisements here!
Have you ever tried Mr. Clean Magic Eraser? If not, then it’s time you were introduced. These things really are magic! I made an interesting discovery that these little, unassuming sponges work perfectly not only on walls and tiles – they are the best fighters for stains on fencing gear! Yes! Follow my TWO simple steps and wash your fencing knickers better that you ever have before:
1. Put a little bit of dish soap on the Magic Eraser and rub it into the dirty places on the material. Don’t stop yourself, you can pour all your energy into this process! Rub out those frustrations. The sponge is so gentle that it will not destroy your gear!
Note: If you’re in the mood for scrubbing then go ahead, clean those dirty cuffs on the sleeves of fencing jacket!
2. Without rinsing that soap from stains, put the knickers into the washer with other white washable gear and wash as per the instructions above.
You are the winner – most of dirt is gone! Isn’t it cool? Should I give the company an idea for a new TV ad? Please enjoy this cleaning tip, join my army of clean fencing gear fighters and share your results with me!
BONUS TIP: One last tip before we leave the topic of fencing knickers. What to do if knickers appear to have pilled bumps on the material –
Go onto Amazon and order a “Fabric Shaver” and for only ten bucks you will safely remove fuzz, lint & pilling from any material, not just fencing knickers! Quick, easy, and well worth it.
By the time you’ve done all of this, your kids will think you’ve bought them new gear! And who are we to burst their bubble?