How to get rid of kote smell?
Can I wash kote?

Kote smellYour Kote Stinks!

Kote smell has been the number one problem in kendo even in the past and probably in the future too. How do we get rid of this smell? Do we have any good products to remove the kote odour? Can we even wash them?

Good questions.

Probably if we overcome this problem, kendo may become more popular, don’t you think?

I have some solutions. Some of them I tried but some of them are quoted from a Japanese kendo forum site, called Ichini-kai, hosted by Hidekatsu Inoue Sensei.

I do not take any responsibilities for damages it may cause to your bogu as a result of applying any methods introduced here.

Please try these methods on your own responsibility. 

1: Have more than 2 pairs of kote (most recommended)

If you are devoted to kendo, you want to think about getting some spare bogus. As we know, bogu is not cheap so we want to take a good care of bogu.

However, as mentioned above, it does not matter how much you try, the result wouldn’t be what you really hoped. By the way, you want to dry your bogu completely before you use it.

So give your bogu some more time to dry out. The kote smell problem will be gone and your bogu will last longer. Have one or two spare bogu at home. You do not have to have pricy fancy bogu as a spare. You should have some pairs of kote with decent price. 

2: Take a good care after training

  • After training, make sure to dry your kote with a dry towel.
  • Then, dry your kote in the shade with good ventilation.
  • When you dry your bogu in the shade, spray an odour remover.

You must choose an odour remover that does not give any funny smell to or does not damage your kote.

By using an odour remover, kote smell can be lessened, not completely gone. But apparently this works quite well.

3: Wash your kote

You must be careful when washing your kote. I have washed a pair of kote before. It did work.

But I probably don’t wash expensive fairly new kote with leather tenouchi. You may want to try this method on used kote when you are thinking to get a new pair.

Basically, if you mess up this method, your kote will be too hard or too soft to be worn for training. I am talking about the tenouchi (the palm part) and kote-gashira (the fist part).

  • Use mild laundry detergent and put it in the warm water. Don’t apply too much detergent. Just a little so it is easier to rinse off.
  • Wash your kote softly like giving them a massage.
  • Rinse them off with the warm water until you get the detergent off completely in a bucket. Give the kotes a good shower with the warm water at the very end.
  • Shape the kotes nicely. Dry them with a dry towel. You may want to use as many towels as needed to dry the kotes. You may want to apply a hair dryer to speed up the process but you do not want to completely dry them with the dryer.
  • Air them in the shade.
  • Give them a good massage before they get completely dried; otherwise, the leather parts of kote will get too hard.
  • When still wet, apply a new tsuka on the surface of the fist part. This (supposedly) gives a good looking on the kote.
  • Dry the kote in the shade completely. Don’t apply any dryers.

I did not use any dryers and I did not give a good massage before my kote completely get dried. My kote got a little harder than they were so probably you want to give a good massage before they completely get dried.

You can search some products by entering "kote smell remover" or "kote odor remover". I don't know these products work or not since I have not tried them myself.

Hope these methods work on your kote and hopefully this makes kendo more popular :)

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