Caring for your belt
In Japan, according to one manufacturer, "belts are not designed to be washed, just hung to dry and Japanese people do not wash their belts." They also recommend replacing belts when they get old, or having more than one belt to use.
However, in the interest of hygiene and civility we believe you can actually clean your belt! There is no need to possess an old smelly, mouldy belt in order to prove your dedication to training or your seniority.
If you follow some simple rules (at your own risk), you can have a quality belt which will serve you for a long time.
These belts are probably machine washable though we recommend hand washing and hanging to dry or gently spinning in a machine to dry off excess water. You should stretch it as much as possible before hanging to dry.
1. Wash as needed
You do not need to wash your belt so often, but regular washing is technically viable. Depending on your training frequency, I recommend about once a month for frequent trainers. In summer and humid climates it is better not to let sweat dry on it too often, so more frequently might be advisable. Be aware however that the more you wash, the more likely your belt is to fade and shrink.
2. Wash seperately
Do not wash with your belt with your dogi unless grey is your preferred dogi colour. Also washing with a lot of clothes will cause it to be tangled and mangled with the clothes. If you use a machine, use a delicate cold wash cycle. As I said, we recommend hand washing, by soaking in water and mild detergent solution.
3. Do not hot wash
As with dogi, cold wash is best. This not only preserves the colour of the belt and minimizes shrinkage but it also prolongs its life. Note: It is easier to cold wash by hand.
4. Use mild detergents only
Obviously don't use detergents with bleach. "Hand wash" or "delicates" detergents are best and you only need a little.
5. Do not use commercial dryers or tumble dry
We recommend a light spin or ideally hang drying outside. Stretch and flatten the belt before hanging out, but not in direct sun.
6. Stretch the belt before hanging to dry
As expected BELTS SHRINK WHEN YOU WASH THEM (people have reported upto 10cm or more).
In order to minimize shrinkage, we recommend stretching and flattening the belt as much as possible before hanging it to dry.
Silk and Satin Belts
As the outside covering is more delicate, we recommend only lightly hand washing with "delicate" or silk detergent and not machine washing at all. A delicate spin cycle can be used to dry the belt a little, before hang drying but hand washing is recommended. See above.
Dry cleaning may be an option too.
Frequent wiping with a lightly damp cloth/towel after training and allowing to fully dry by hanging outside, will prolong the lifespan of your belt as well as negate the need for frequent washing.
Should you wish to ignore the recommendations above then we suggest soaking your belt in acid overnight then drying it in bright sunlight. I then recommend purchasing a new belt from us and repeating the process every month!