This was the question of another child to mine, overheard at the club recently. My son didn’t think twice about loaning his extra glove to his classmate. As a fencing mom, I know that the stickiest item of fencing gear is the fencing glove (well, except perhaps for the easily washable socks!)
Well, we all know that fencing gloves do not smell roses. The thing is that sweaty gloves always have lots of naughty bacteria happily living in them. Bacteria like these little perfect “homes” – dark, warm, wet and closed off to outside intrusion. That’s why fencing gloves often have that terribly strong odor if you put them into your training bag after fencing.
Now that we agree that fencing gloves have the potential to be pretty gross, how can we go about taking care of them, and most importantly cleaning them? Here I’ve put together my best suggestions for you when it comes to cleaning fencing gloves.
Tips for how to take care of a fencing glove
First off , most of these are about changing simple habits rather than about spending tons of time cleaning something. Which is a really super bonus.
1. Air dry fencing gloves often.
Take the glove home after training, open the Velcro and air dry it completely. A circulating air will dampen the ability of germs and bacteria to breed in there. Remember – those little buggers like to be wet!
2. Use disinfectant sport sprays.
In-between more serious cleaning, sports sprays can work really well. Do a quick Google search to see some great inexpensive brands on Amazon, or check the sports aisle of your local big box store. Spray, then let the liquid evaporate (remember to let it dry!). Really worth a try!
3. Put crumbled up newspaper inside the glove.
This is old style grandma advise works on stinky sport gloves and on shoes as well, though it’s not as magic on shoes. Kids really like this one, something about stuffing things into odd places. Be sure to keep the newspaper fresh! It wicks the moisture away, helping to keep everything dry and free from bacteria.
4. Freeze them in sealed zip bag.
This one sounds a little odd, but it’s not funny at all! Freezing will kill the bacteria, if not completely, then at least enough so that the odor will be significantly less noticeable. Air dry after the freezer.
5. Wash the glove occasionally.
Make sure they are washable! Read the manufacturer’s notes and then the tips below.
Tips for how to wash a fencing glove
Of course, the easiest way is to wash it in a regular washer. And honestly I do it for my little fencers with their inexpensive gloves. For my other two bigger kids that already have Leon Paul gloves, I am not quite so lazy prefer to hand wash them. Truly, it’s not hard to do nor is it really time consuming.
- Prepare warm water with hand wash detergent and dip the glove in.
- Wash it gently inside and outside by rubbing with your hands or with a soft sponge/cloth.
- Rinse well several times under running water and squeeze softly to get rid of extra water.
- Gently dab the remaining water with old towel. Don’t wring or twist between palms (that will damage and deform the glove).
- Pull it over your hand or blow out the fingers with a fan to restore the good shape of your glove.
- Air dry or lay out in the sun with the Velcro open.
- Don’t put a fencing glove into washer with white fencing gear – you’re likely to find that it will be the last time that fencing jacket is ever snow white.
- NEVER put your fencing glove into the dryer. The material is changed by heat, and will become much less strong. Heat is a definite no-no!
- Don’t rub out competition stamps or autographs from champions. Your fencer will be very angry with you! Believe me, I’ve tested this one! 🙂
Good luck with your fencing gloves!
Stay well, fence good.
A Fencing Mom.