Fencing equipment isn’t quite like others sports equipment. Your gear and weapons can be fragile and need to be carried, cleaned, and stored away carefully between use. Taking care of your gear will ensure it’s always in great shape, capable of protecting you the way it should. Here are a few tips to consider.
Dry Your Gear Out
Never, ever, ever leave your practice uniform or gear in your bag between practices. Your gear is sweaty after practice, whether you realize it or not. Leaving your gear wadded up in a bag is a great way to end up with mildew and mold. Your gear will break down faster and need to be replaced. And, to be quite honest, it’s going to start to smell. Take your gear out of your bag between every practice — all of it. Even your lamé and mask bib need to be aired out so they don’t develop dead spots or lose their shape.
Traveling a lot for tournaments? Know your gear will be in your bag for a while? Put the sweaty uniform pieces in a plastic bag before you put them in with the rest of your gear. This will keep your dirty uniform pieces from contaminating your other, cleaner gear and your bag itself.
Protect Your Blades
Never store your blades with other equipment. The aforementioned sweaty gear can create moisture that will ultimately rust and destroy your blades over time. The blades themselves will also react with the salt in your sweat, leaving stains on your clothes if your blades are already rusty.
Most fencing gear bags have multiple compartments. Reserve one for your blades and one for the rest of your gear. This way there will never be any cross-contamination. Can’t store your blades separately? Buy a piece of cheap PVC pipe and slide the blades inside to protect them from everything else in your bag.
Hand Wash Your Gear
Believe it or not, hand washing is the standard for cleaning fencing uniforms and gear. It’s normal for younger fencers to not be as familiar with hand washing techniques, though. Grab a large bucket and fill it with room temperature water and a small amount of detergent. Close any zippers or velcro fasteners and then submerge your gear into the water. Let it soak for several minutes, swishing it around a few times to soak and cleanse it.
You’ll probably see the water get a little dirty. Dump the bucket and refill it with a second round of water and detergent. Swish for a few more minutes and then rise with clean water until there is no more visible soap. Avoid twisting or wringing your fencing gear, as you can damage the fabrics.
Fencing gear is an investment, so you’ll want to do all you can to keep it clean and usable for as long as possible. Besides, the less you have to spend on new gear, the more you have left to spend on extra lessons and new pieces of equipment!
Below is a sample list of useful Youtube links showing how to fix and care for your gear:
Body wire //www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRGlvo3WeG8
Cleaning your gear https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6V7O4z-tHyk