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TAKING CARE OF YOUR DO-BOK

One part of a great black belt attitude is presentation. Martial artists show respect for their art and their instructors and fellow students by coming to class in a well-cared-for do-bok (uniform).

RESPECT

Always treat your do-bok with care and respect, just as you do your belt and your weapons. Don't leave it stuffed in a bag or crumpled on the floor—unless it's in the laundry hamper or on your body, it should be either on a hanger or neatly folded.

BRIGHT WHITES

If you only use regular laundry detergent, after a while your do-bok will start to look dingy and greyish or yellowish instead of bright white. It needs a little extra care to stay fresh and sparkling (or to get back that "new" white look it lost).

Only wash your do-bok with other white or nearly white items. This may sound silly if you're not in the habit of separating your wash loads, but dye can transfer from dark or bright items to your whites, making a noticeable difference over time.

Use an oxygen-based wash brightener such as OxiClean every time you wash your do-bok. It's easy—the instructions are on the package, but usually you just put a couple of scoops of the Oxi powder into the machine before you load your clothes. You can also get laundry detergent with an oxygen-based brightener already added, or pre-measured packets that you can just throw in with your load.

Do not use regular bleach! It will strip the colour out of your patches.

For stains or areas where sweat tends to be a particular problem (armpits, waistband, crotch area, collar), it's also a good idea to pre-treat the do-bok with a stain-fighting spray as needed; again, oxygen-based products are a good choice and tend to be effective on sweat. Lemon essential oil is great for getting out blood stains.

If your do-bok is seriously stained or discoloured, you can soak it in a bucket of water and OxiClean for several hours before washing. You may have to do this two or three times for the worst damage to be undone, but it will work.

HATE IRONING?

If you take your do-bok out of the dryer promptly when the drying cycle is finished, you can avoid having to iron it and still be proudly wrinkle-free.

While it is still hot from the dryer, remove it and immediately place it on a hanger or fold it flat.

TRANSPORTATION

If you're not heading directly to your taekwondo class from home, you may need to transport your do-bok to where you'll be getting ready. There is a way to fold it so that it can be carried in your gear bag and still look nice when you put it on—ask an instructor to show you how.