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Can I wash my belt?

Updated: Jun 1, 2022

There are many myths in the martial arts world. One such myth is that you should never wash your belt. You can wash your uniform (dogi). It is OK to wash your gloves too. You may also wash your groin protection (Thank God for that!) And it is in order to wash your shin guard. In fact, you are allowed to wash all of your gear, just not the belt.

One explanation I've heard is that the belt has been with you on every training session. The knowledge you have acquired has mysteriously accumulated in your belt. If you wash your belt, you wash out your knowledge at the same time! Can you believe it?


Of course, this is just nonsense. The knowledge sits in your head, not in your belt. What sits in the belt after a hard workout, however, is sweat, bacteria, skin residue and fungal spores. Sometimes even blood. These substances come from yourself, from the ones you have trained with and from the mat. Therefore, you can safely wash your belt. Not only that, but you also have a duty to wash it. Otherwise, you may risk spreading the bacteria and infection that may sit in your belt onto your training partners.

How often?

How often to wash the belt depends a on its use. It is usually not necessary to wash it after every single workout. Personally, I wash my belt about once a month. However, what I also do, is take out the belt from the bag after each workout and hang it up to air itself. In the summer, I air it out in the fresh air. That's why I don't need to wash my belt more often.


Washing the belt is not difficult. You wash the same way as other workout clothes: in the washing machine with ordinary detergents. Fabric softener is not required, but use it if you want to. The only thing to watch out for, is that you don't wash your belt at more than 40 degrees (Celsius). If you use a higher temperature than this, you run the risk of the belt shrinking.

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