Replacement of Practice Uniform

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by nyc-mum, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. nyc-mum

    nyc-mum Rookie

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    My college fencer needs to replace their practice uniform. Their current uniform is made of 350N material and causes heavy (smelly) sweating and does not wick nor dry quickly. This has resulted in us having to wash and dry the uniform on a daily basis in recent times. Can anyone recommend a better replacement given the shortcomings in the practice uniform we are currently using?
    We are prepared to buy a practice uniform that is FIE compliant if it will solve the issues we are having.
     
  2. RebelFencer

    RebelFencer Podium

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    I use Uhlmann FIE gear and have never had that problem.
     
  3. dcchew

    dcchew Podium

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    I don't know if buying a FIE uniform will solve your issues with a smelly uniform. I think the key is to hang up the uniform up to dry out after you use it. Let it dry out if possible.

    If that's not possible, buy a second uniform and alternate between the two uniforms. I know people who have 2 or more sets of uniforms and regularly switch between them. The same also goes for gloves and plastrons.
     
  4. SevenDad

    SevenDad DE Bracket

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    We have used the Absolute "stretchy" for practice uniforms with no issue. Fully synthetic, I think. We do rotate two uniforms for practices and wash in between. One thing to consider is what sort of t-shirt your fencer is wearing...is it just a plain cotton T or a wicking one. Agree that the drying part is key...try at all costs not to leave sweaty whites in bag for any prolonged amount of time.
     
  5. ReadyFence

    ReadyFence Podium

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    Love Allstar for everything :) but both Blue Gauntlet and LP have jackets with wicking layers.
     
  6. jjefferies

    jjefferies Podium

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    You're asking opinions so IMO this is a good practice to get into. You can't imagine the smell where you walk into a changing/dressing room and there are multiple uniforms hung up to dry. Or even worse thrown into a fencing bag and left until the next usage. I can only believe that some people have no olfactory senses at all. Wicking or non-wicking, the stink of human perspiration remains. Wicking may make a uniform feel more comfortable when being worn but I do not believe it does anything to remove the oils, salts and stinks given off by a sweating human.

    My own suggestion is that until the fencer is competing at a level which requires FIE gear get a second 350 newton uniform such as Absolute Fencing offers and alternate uniforms. I fence 4-5 times a week and this is my preference. The only major issue is how to get them dry. So I toss mine in the wash when I get home and hang it up to dry immediately. Of course YMMV.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
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  7. SevenDad

    SevenDad DE Bracket

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  8. ReadyFence

    ReadyFence Podium

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    I also soak white jacket and plastron in a sink full of 20 mile team borax every few washes (I wash gear every weekend). Helps quite a bit with the funk, although nothing gets rid of it completely. I have tried sport washes but they don't seem to be a big improvement over Ultimate Tide.
     
  9. SevenDad

    SevenDad DE Bracket

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    @ReadyFence: I guess it's a YMMV thing. I found that the sport wash worked surprisingly well vs. Persil (which is what we use for the rest of Laundry). In my quick online search yesterday for that link above, I saw that Tide now offers their own spin on the sport wash game.

    Regardless of what you use to wash things, I think the "having a few sets of whites in rotation and never letting them fester in an enclosed fencing bag" is really the key to keeping whites relatively fresh.
     
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  10. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee Podium

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    Follow jjefferies' advice and have your fencer at least rinse after every practice. As the guy who has to ref him (it's usually a guy) - *please*!:)
     
  11. SevenDad

    SevenDad DE Bracket

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    @MacABee: As the parent of a JWE fencer, I can assure you that guys do not have a monopoly on funk!
     
  12. kmecke

    kmecke Made the Cut

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    ugh, the boy's plastron is the worst. Once the smell gets into the synthetic it is tricky to get it out.
    Make sure you don't use any detergent with softener in since that "locks" it in. I presoak everything in the tub with Oxyclean, and when it gets really bad, I soak in cleaning vinegar and water. You can pick up a gallon at Home Depot for cheap. It sounds weird but it really works.
     
  13. Black Widow

    Black Widow Made the Cut

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    I have 2 sets now, Uhlmann FIE and Absolute FIE. I wash them and the plastron after each wearing. Once the smell builds up it can be really tough to get out :(. I have tried some sports detergents but haven't been satisfied thus far. I might try some of those suggested here. I do add Borax to each wash and put the washer on the soak cycle for a bit prior to the wash cycle. This stuff is expensive so I take care of it.
    I also have the mask with the removable liner and rinse that out after a couple of wearings.
     
  14. nwtrout

    nwtrout Made the Cut

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    To echo comments - mandatory at least two sets; rotate and/or dry out between uses; wash at least once a week - prewash, warm water, appropriate detergent, extra rinse, hang dry with "large" suit style hanger to open up the jacket for air movement; and periodically soak in bucket with water and white vinegar. And on days when possible, hang outside in warm breezes to really air dry.

    My son has three sets - his current good FIE Allstar, an older slight small FIE Uhlmann, and a FencingArmor 350n set. He mostly keeps the Allstar set for comps and rotates between the others for practice. At NACs if we've had an off day between events, we've done a simple water rinse in the hotel tub and hang dry. Makes subsequent events nicer.

    The worst thing to do is keep stuff in the bag, in your car, and rarely wash. A few 20-something youngsters in our area do this. Stench is a good reminder on maintaining distance.
     
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  15. ReadyFence

    ReadyFence Podium

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    While I'd love to wash the white kit every night, it just isn't practical :). The competition kit is washed as soon as it comes home from the event, but the practice kit stays at the salle during the week. Yes, after 7 practices in 5 days it gets pretty funky, but I am resigned to it now :)
     
  16. dcchew

    dcchew Podium

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    A couple of comments.

    Wash your uniform in cold water, mild detergent, and hang dry. Never use hot or warm water or aggressive detergents. This preserve the fabric.

    If you have the option, carry your uniform in a separate mesh bag outside of your fencing bag. Yes, it's a bit of a hassle, but, it allows the moisture in your uniform to vent out to the atmosphere. Here's a link to a mesh bag similar to the one I carry my gear in.

    http://www.martialartsmart.com/99-38b.html?gclid=CLq_7p7kwtQCFQhrfgodM5oGjQ
     
  17. jjefferies

    jjefferies Podium

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    Just a couple more thoughts:
    1. The knickers/pants (dependent on the individual) aren't as subject to sweat as is the jacket & plastrom. So have alternates of and wash and rotate the jacket & plastrom more.
    2. Wicking under garments simply move the perspiration products elsewhere, i.e. to the jacket/plastrom. Why not use a heavy undershirt to collect the perspiration. Well that means you stay warmer and more "fluid?". So I guess you have to make a choice sweatier and keep the perspiration in or cooler(wicked) and let the jacket stink. No easy solution.
     
  18. Grey Sabreur

    Grey Sabreur Rookie

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    Be careful - based on the manufacturers information there are some fabrics used in fencing clothing that should not be cleaned with bleach or Oxyclean (or the other peroxide based products).

    I'm liking the suggestion to do the 20 Mule Team Borax pre-soak. I'm also suspicious of anti-static sheets because they leave a residue on the fabric. That may not be a big thing on normal clothing but on clothing that you sweat into, this can create a problem for people with sensitive skin. Alternatively how about a bit of white vinegar as a rinse-aid?
     
  19. ReadyFence

    ReadyFence Podium

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    And if you fence saber or foil, you don't EVER want something washed in Oxyclean to touch a conductive lame, it will kill it.
     
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  20. nyc-mum

    nyc-mum Rookie

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    Thank you for all the helpful comments, opinions and advice that has been posted!

    We have decided to invest in 2 possibly 3 sets of 350N practice uniforms as the fencing laundry facility at college has a 2 day turn around period. This should allow for a clean uniform at every practice.

    SevenDad recommended the use of a sports detergent, in fact, I have previously used the one he recommended and like others was not impressed. Because I still had half a bottle left I decided to give it another try but this time I doubled the recommended use per load and I was pleased with the results. All sweaty odours are gone! The clothes now smell of 'nothing' and at first, that was a problem as I was expecting them to smell of 'something' even if it is Downy fabric conditioner. I will continue to use the Sports detergent but will double the recommended amounts.
     
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