Maintaining your fencing mask

Fencing masks.jpg

Mask maintenance is essential to prolong the life of the bib, and certainly for hygiene.  We recommend washing the mask monthly during the fencing season.

Masks with removable parts are much easier to wash, than single piece masks without removable parts.  Both types of masks are washable, though.

Note:  Washing will cause the tournament stamps on the bib to fade.

cleaning Masks with removable parts

Usually the bib and internal padding can be removed from the mask and hand washed separately.  Masks with removable parts are now much more available compared to a few years ago.  The bib on my son's Leon Paul X-Change mask has crossed the 2.5 year mark even with regular use at practice and tournaments, so regular washing definitely pays off.

To ensure there is no cross-contamination of dirt, it is recommended that you hand wash the bib, lining and mask shell separately with mild detergent in the kitchen sink. 

The Bib

Like the lame, dead spots develop from dirt overlay or dirt jammed between wires in the bib.  Regular hand washing removes the dirt, and prolongs the life of the bib.

I find that the kitchen sink is the best place to hand wash the bib and other mask parts.  

Make sure the sink and drainage holes are thoroughly cleaned and all grease and other substances are removed first. 

Fill the sink with water, put in a good dash of mild detergent (Woolite, 365 brand natural detergent or equivalent), and submerge the bib in the water for about 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, you can use your thumb to gently rub of any visible dirt marks.  Do not scrub the bib!  Rinse the bib off thoroughly and make sure there is no remaining detergent. 

Try and remove as much water as possible from the bib by pressing gently on the bib before placing it on a rack to dry.  It can take up to 24 hours for the bib to dry off because of the padding in the bib.

Mask Lining

These pieces are foam padded, and are easily hand washed in the kitchen sink employing the same method as hand washing for the bib.  It can take up to 24 hours for the lining to dry off because of the padding.

Mask Shell

Similarly, the mask shell can be washed in the kitchen sink.  Submerge the mask shell in warm water coupled with a generous dash of detergent.  Soak it for 10 to 15 minutes, and then rinse it off thoroughly.  You can gently rub the rubber lining around the bid to remove dirt marks.

Never wash the mask shell in the dishwasher!  It will cause any glue holding your mask parts together to wash off!

cleaning one piece masks

It is much harder to keep a one piece mask clean.  The best way to clean a one piece mask is in the kitchen sink.

After thoroughly cleaning the sink and drainage opening to remove grease and other substances, fill the sink with warm water and add a generous dash of mild detergent (Woolite, 365 brand natural detergent or equivalent).  Submerge the mask in the water and soak for 15 to 20 minutes.  You may have to turn the mask to make sure all parts are soaked properly.  Use your thumb to gently rub off any visible dirt marks on the bib (never scrub it!), and then rinse the mask fully,  Make sure the bib is clear of all detergent. 

Gently press on the bib and lining to remove excess water.  Place the mask on a table or rack to dry.  It can take up to 24 hours for the padded parts to dry.

Do not wash the mask in the dishwasher as the glue holding any mask parts together will wash off.

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Donna Meyer