Taking care of your martial arts uniform never seems to be covered when you first sign up for classes, this is also true in Taekwondo. So how do you care for your Taekwondo uniform to keep it in good condition, presentable, and odor-free?
Washing your Taekwondo uniform immediately after class on a delicate cycle and ensure that it dries completely through tumble drying on low or hang to air dry. Sometimes it is necessary to deodorize to eliminate odor, especially if you are not able to wash your uniform immediately after training.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss what to wear in Taekwondo, Taekwondo uniform shrinkage and whether you should iron Taekwondo uniforms. I’ll also cover steps on how to wash and deodorize a Taekwondo uniform.
What Do You Wear in Taekwondo?
When taking part in Taekwondo, you will wear a Taekwondo uniform (dobok) to enhance your performance. Taekwondo involves full-body movement, and your uniform will be designed to be flexible, comfortable, and allow you to perform techniques in many ranges of motion.
The Taekwondo uniform for beginners usually includes:
- A plain white jacket with a wide V-neck.
- A pair of white pants with an elastic waist for increased comfort.
- A belt to show your rank.
If you are just starting Taekwondo and need a uniform, I recommend this uniform (available on Amazon) as it is of good quality and follows the guidelines for Taekwondo doboks used in most Taekwondo gyms.
Typical Materials Used To Make Taekwondo Uniforms
When shopping for a Taekwondo uniform, you’ll come across uniforms made from different materials. Some of the typical materials used to make Taekwondo uniforms are:
Taekwondo uniforms made from light materials are ideal for beginners and children. A uniform made from a light material prevents you from sweating too much, dries your skin, and keeps you comfortable. Some of the light materials used to make Taekwondo uniforms include:
Pure cotton is one of the heavy materials used to make Taekwondo uniforms. Taekwondo uniforms made from 100% cotton are crispier and more durable than those made from light materials.
However, a heavy material could make you feel a bit heavy and hot and is, therefore, more suitable for advanced practitioners and instructors.
Do Taekwondo Uniforms Shrink?
Taekwondo uniforms may shrink after the first few washes depending on the uniform’s material. For instance, pure cotton and poly-cotton Taekwondo uniforms may shrink. Polyester uniforms are less likely to shrink, but they could shrink if you wash them with hot water.
It’s, therefore, better to buy a slightly big uniform to allow room for shrinkage. If you wash your uniforms on cold delicate settings and hang dry you should sidestep most shrinkage issues.
Should You Iron Taekwondo Uniforms?
It’s not necessary to iron your Taekwondo uniforms for daily training. As mentioned above, using excessive heat on your polyester or poly-cotton uniform can cause shrinkage and potentially damage it. It is best to use steaming to eliminate wrinkles from your Taekwondo uniform if needed.
How Do You Wash a Taekwondo Uniform?
It’s essential to wash your Taekwondo uniform immediately after training to keep odor-free and safe in terms of reducing the chances of skin infections. Typically, it’s best to wash your Taekwondo uniform on a cold water delicate cycle and either tumble-drying on low heat or hang it to dry.
How To Wash a Taekwondo Uniform
- Add a normal amount of detergent to the washer.
- Choose the delicate wash setting with cold water.
- Load the Taekwondo uniform including your belt and any clothing that was worn under the uniform into the washer and start the wash cycle.
- Remove the uniform from the washer.
- Either hang the uniform out to dry or put the uniform through a tumble-dry with low heat (which is my personal approach)
- Ensure that the uniform has dried completely to prevent odors by hanging it in a room with space for air circulation.
- Fold up the uniform carefully when it’s completely dry to prevent creases and wrinkles, or keep it hanging in your closet.
It’s best to avoid using bleach or fabric softeners on your uniform, as the chemicals in these products can cause yellow stains.
How To Deodorize a Taekwondo Uniform
Taekwondo can be physically intense and involves training partners, so between the sweat and the bacteria present in the training area, your Taekwondo uniform can end up with bad odors sometimes. Your uniform absorbs all the sweat and bacteria from yourself and your training partners, so odor control is sometimes necessary when cleaning your uniform.
It’s, therefore, a great idea to deodorize your Taekwondo uniform when you notice smells to keep it smelling fresh. There are several options for deodorizing your Taekwondo uniform, as explained below.
Using an Odor Removal Detergent
A good odor removal detergent gets rid of sweat odors and keeps your Taekwondo uniform smelling fresh always.
One of the excellent laundry detergents you can use to clean and deodorize your uniform is Tide Sport (available on Amazon.com), I don’t know exactly why this detergent has been so useful in helping me to remove built-up odors, but it has made the biggest difference in keeping my martial arts gear smelling decent.
Most of the time, if your washing machine has a soak cycle, just washing it normally on cold water delicate settings with a soak cycle included using that detergent is enough and is a great simple first step to try.
Pre-Soaking Using Water and Vinegar Solution
If your Taekwondo uniform really needs some help to remove odors, you can pre-soak it using a vinegar and water solution. This solution is an excellent deodorizer because it eliminates the favorable bacterial environment that a sweaty martial arts uniform has.
You can deodorize with vinegar pre-soaking by going through these steps:
- Put enough water in the washer to cover the uniform.
- Add one cup of vinegar to the water.
- Mix the solution.
- Immerse the Taekwondo uniform in the solution.
- Allow the uniform to soak in the solution for about one hour.
- Wash the uniform on a cold water delicate cycle using Tide Sport or whatever detergent you like to control odors.
- Hang the uniform to dry or put it through a tumble-dry with low heat.
- Ensure the uniform is completely dry to prevent bad odor, most easily accomplished by simply hanging it up in a room with some air circulation afterward.
Taking care of your Taekwondo uniform is pretty simple, and if you just follow the rules of washing it as soon as possible on a cold setting that is meant for delicates and hang the uniform to dry or tumble dry on low heat you should sidestep any issues with caring for a typical Taekwondo uniform. Ensuring that the uniform gets completely dry prevents most odors from setting.
Odor treating soaking treatments may need to happen occasionally but it really shouldn’t need to happen often, or you might be not executing well enough on the general principles of caring for the uniform and should revisit those.
For more check out Do You Wear Shoes in Taekwondo?