There will be times throughout your Jiu Jitsu career, when you may wonder if you should wash your Jiu Jitsu belt. I mean sure, you wash your Gi because you’re supposed to right? I hope so! But should you wash your Jiu Jitsu belt after each time you train? Maybe once in a while? Never? Good luck in getting anyone to agree on this.
You can look back through martial arts history and find some believe that washing your belt will remove the skills and talent you have gained like Samson losing his hair (google it). Ask your coaches and training partners what they do, but you will only find mixed answers and potentially confusing superstitions. I even went so far as to run a Twitter Survey @FighterInside and got mixed results. 22% of people responded that you should wash belt, 22% responded that you should wash it once in a while and 56% said you should never wash your belt.
So me, I wash it as often as possible along with regular loads of dark laundry while I wash my Gis after just one training session. Some BJJ practitioners argue that the belt doesn’t touch your skin so surely it doesn’t matter whether you wash it or not, but they forget you use your hands to tie your belt, training partners grab your belt while rolling, therefore making contact with your skin. Not to mention the fact that more than likely you have children in classes before and after yours that need to be kept safe.
Whilst it’s great to hold onto tradition, it is in your best interests to be aware of the amount of sweat, dirt and bodily fluids your belt will pick up during any given training session. Coming into contact with people from various walks of life may present you and your belt, with Propionibacterium and Staphylococcus epidermidis to start…sounds nasty doesn’t it? It is! Lets not forget the smell either.
I’ve seen people put rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer over their belt to kill germs and other applying Ax Body Spray to take care of the smell, but this simply doesn’t cut it. These method have little or no effect on getting rid of germs. The only way to be sure your Jiu Jitsu belt is clean and avoid typically gym skin diseases, it is best to wash your belt at a high temperature (usually 60 degrees or higher) with laundry detergent, vinegar or soak it in a salt water solution. I like the vinegar option for my blue belt and dark coloured Gis and bleach for any white Gis and gym equipment.
As with all things in life, to wash or not to wash your belt is completely up to you, but in order to keep you and your training partners safe, it is a really good idea to wash your belt and all of your equipment regularly.
I’m just sayin’...