How To Care for Your Hapkido Uniform

Like most martial arts, Hapkido comes with its own uniform that is worn during training and can become stained and smell unpleasant after classes. So how should you care for your Hapkido uniform properly to avoid those issues and unnecessary wear and tear?

The best way to care for your Hapkido uniform is to wash it on a gentle cold cycle in the washing machine immediately after training. If your uniform smells bad, soak it in baking soda prior to washing to remove odors. After washing, air dry or tumble dry on low heat and ensure it is completely dry.

The rest of this article will discuss caring for your Hapkido uniform in detail in order to avoid shrinkage as well as a step-by-step process for washing your Hapkido uniform and deodorizing it.

What Do You Wear in Hapkido?

You wear a uniform called a dobok in Hapkido. This consists of a white jacket, pants, and a belt that is color-coded according to the student’s rank. Hapkido does not include shoes during training and shirts or rashguards are worn underneath the dobok.

Hapkido is a grappling-oriented martial art; therefore, it’s crucial to use the correct uniform so that it can stand up to the wear and tear of those techniques. The uniform is made from cotton or polyester and is traditionally white, with no patterns, logos, names, or other markings on the exterior. 

Make sure you contact your training school to confirm uniform expectations. Most schools also provide or sell acceptable uniforms, or you may purchase one that meets their requirements. 

How Do You Wash a Hapkido Uniform?

Maintaining your Hapkido uniform and keeping it free of stains and odors shows respect to your school and is also simply good manners to your training partners. You really don’t want to be the smelly person in the class. The best way to accomplish this is to properly preserve your uniform’s condition by washing it correctly.

To wash a Hapkido uniform, you use a cold or delicate cycle, then hang out the uniform to dry or put it through a tumble-dry set on low heat.

Here is a step-by-step method to wash your Hapkido Uniform: 

1. Soak Your Uniform in Cold Water Before Washing

If you have stains or odors on your uniform, soaking it and scrubbing stains beforehand helps break apart any stains left behind in your training session. So, fill a bucket, dish, or sink with cold water and add two tablespoons of laundry detergent to help remove stains. 

You can also add a cup of baking soda to eliminate any odors. Ensure that you soak your uniform in cold water because hot water can damage your uniform through shrinking and fading.

It is also best to leave your uniform soaking for at least an hour for effective stain removal; however, you can leave it overnight if you have the time.

2. Inspect Your Uniform for Any Remaining Stains

After soaking your uniform, if there are still stains remaining, lightly scrub the area with laundry detergent. This should loosen the stains, making them disappear during the actual washing.

3. Put Your Uniform in the Washer

Now that you’ve completed the pre-treatment phase of washing your uniform, it’s time to put it in the washer. Ensure it’s inside out because can prolong the life of the uniform.

Don’t wash your uniform with other clothes as the colors from your clothes can run into the uniform. Furthermore, it could also tear due to zippers and buttons. It is okay to include clothing you wore underneath your uniform like a shirt, rash guard, or sports bra if you wash it on cold and they are not brand new colorful clothing articles.

Use only detergent to wash your uniform, and avoid using bleach. Bleach can weaken the fibers in your uniform and may separate colors from the fabric, making it look yellow. It can also cut the material, leaving holes in it.

Turn your washer settings to a cold temperature and a gentle setting. You should also use the lowest spin cycle. This way, your uniform will spin gently, which is suitable for the fabric and will make your dobok last longer.

Also, if you have a new colored belt, don’t wash this with your white uniform because the color will bleed and damage it. Instead, hand wash your belt with mild detergent and hang it out to dry.

4. Dry Your Uniform

Technically, it is the best option to air dry your uniform as this is the gentlest way and will preserve it the longest. Using a tumble dry on a low heat setting can still cause it to wear out a bit faster over time. However, for most people tumble drying is a legitimate option and the one that I use for all my martial arts uniforms.

Do Hapkido Uniforms Shrink?

Hapkido uniforms will not shrink if washed in cold water, hung out to dry, or tumble dried on low heat. However, if you wash your Hapkido uniform with hot water and dry it on very high heat, shrinkage can occur.

Some shrinkage may occur over time when you dry your Hapkido uniform in the dryer even on low heat. Therefore, it’s optimal to solely wash your uniform in cold water and air dry it if your uniform fits snugly or is already at the perfect fit.  

This is also the best way to preserve the condition of your uniform the longest. 

Should You Iron Hapkido Uniforms?

It is not necessary to iron a Hapkido uniform for daily training. However, if you want to eliminate wrinkles, iron your uniform on the cotton setting or use a steam iron.

You should always begin with the pants and iron the legs, so the creases are on the side rather than the front. Also, iron your jacket like you would a shirt, with the creases on the side of the sleeves. 

How To Deodorize a Hapkido Uniform

To deodorize a Hapkido uniform, you can use baking soda or a laundry detergent like Tide Sport. You also want to avoid keeping your uniform in your bag. It is essential to completely dry the uniform as bacteria need moisture to survive. If appropriately dried, germs won’t survive, and your uniform will stay odor-free.

Let’s explore these options further:

Use Baking Soda to Fight Odors

Baking soda is an old staple that can be used to clean and deodorize your Hapkido uniform.

To use baking soda:

  1. Add a cup of baking soda to some cold water. 
  2. Soak your uniform in the mixture for at least one hour. 
  3. Wash as usual.

Use a Good Laundry Detergent 

I recommend Tide Sport Odor Defense from because it has been by far the most effective detergent for me in keeping my martial arts gear smelling fresh.

To use Tide Sport:

  1. Pre-soak your uniform in water containing the detergent. 
  2. Wash the uniform in the washer. 
  3. Dry the uniform.

Avoid Leaving Your Uniform in Your Bag

It’s easy to throw your uniform into your gear bag after training. However, bacteria grow in sealed environments and can cause nasty odors to accumulate if you forget to unpack the bag.

After practice uniform handling:

  1. Remove your uniform and place it in your gear bag after practice.
  2. Get home and put the uniform directly in the washing machine
  3. Let the gear bag air out in a well-ventilated space.

Dry Your Uniform Completely 

It’s essential to dry out your uniform completely after every wash. This will prevent moisture from growing mold and mildew. After drying on low heat make sure you hang up the uniform in a well-ventilated area to prevent odors from setting.

How Often Should You Wash a Hapkido Uniform?

You should wash your Hapkido uniform after every use. This is primarily to avoid common skin diseases like ringworm and Staph. Odors can also be set in the uniform if you don’t immediately wash it and remove bacteria and other potential odor sources from the uniform.

You should never wait until your uniform starts to smell or look dirty. However, if you can’t wash it immediately after use, you should own multiple rotating uniforms and ensure that your uniform gets completely dry either by setting it in the sun or hanging it in a well-ventilated space.

However, washing the uniform after every use really is the best idea from both a health hygiene and odor hygiene points of view.

Final Thoughts

Taking care of your Hapkido gear is not particularly complicated, but nobody tells you exactly what to do outright. In general, making sure you wash your gear on cold delicate settings and ensuring it gets air-dried or dried in the dryer at low heat will cover most of your needs. It is also worth noting that incorporating Tide Sport was a game-changer for me personally in dealing with odor control for my martial arts gear.

For more check out What To Expect in Hapkido | A Martial Arts Overview


Hi, I'm Andre and I am the author of this website. I currently train primarily in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but supplement with other grappling martial arts as well as help to coach my kid's blended grappling program.

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