How To Care For Your Weight Lifting Belt: Cleaning Guide
The more you care for anything, the longer it stays with you.
You can arguably say this about relationships but I am talking about gym accessories.
Whether you have resistance bands, loops, or even a whole garage gym setup, you need to take care of it.
When it comes to weightlifting belts, care is more important since it could be leather or Nylon.
This is a full guide on how to take care for your powerlifting or weightlifting belt. I go over all the best ways to take care of leather or Nylon lifting belts. If you have another material, you can use the same guidelines but some factors may not apply to you.
Washing Your Lifting Belt
For those of you in sports, how bad does your gym bag smell? This is a strong indication of how well you’re taking care of your fitness accessories.
If your lifting belt smells like an old gym bag, listen up!
You need to wash your lifting belt routinely.
Especially for those lifters wearing their belt without a shirt. The sweat from your workout absorbs into the lifting belt. The heat and moisture is perfect for bacteria which results in that foul odor.
Always hand wash your lifting belts. Even if they have a washing machine tag of approval, use your hands.
First, remove any chalk dust or debris using a brush. Next, get some warm soapy water and use a clean rag. Dip your rag into the soapy water and apply it on your lifting belt. For those of you with suede interiors, you can dab with more intensity on those deep stains.
Leather lifting belts are quite easy to clean since they don’t stain. You can use the soapy water and rag to clean surface stains.
Please don’t submerge your lifting belt in the soapy water. You’re NOT waterboarding your lifting belt for answers.
For Nylon and any other non-leather lifting belts, you can feel free to use the wet rag more liberally. Nylon is a great fabric to wash rigorously. But don’t over do it here. Hand wash until you don’t see any more stains.
If you’re concerned about the smell, you can use some fabric freshener after washing. Alternatively, you can add some essential oils to the soapy water. The oils will help with disinfecting and deodorizing.
Drying Your Lifting Belt
So now your lifting belt is wet and needs to dry.
Whenever leather lifting belts contact moisture you want to be sure to dry it quickly. Leather tends to shrink and then crack if overheated.
For most leather and Nylon lifting belts, you can air dry by hanging it on a hook or nail. Be sure to keep the lifting belt in an uncoiled position while drying. I will get to why in the next section.
You can dry your lifting belt at room temperature, don’t leave it out in the Arizona desert heat. It will crack if you do this. Think of your skin when out in the sun too long.
If you have a leather lifting belt, you can break in your belt while it's wet here. Put a shirt on and wear your leather belt to do your daily chores around the house. For more tips on breaking in a leather lifting belt check out our guide.
Depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations, some belts are also ok to put in the dryer. Don’t blast the heat on and max out your timer hoping the belt will dry. If you spent a lot of money on your lifting belt make sure you treat it right.
I would select the lowest heat setting and tumble dry the belt in 15 minute increments. Check the belt after 15 minutes and only put it in again after letting it cool. Keep following these steps until the belt is dry.
Caring and Storing Your Lifting Belt
For 90% of your lifting belt’s lifetime, it will remain in your gym bag or room.
How you care for your lifting belt during this time is how it will perform during that 10% you need it.
Shoving your lifting belt in the abyss you call your gym bag is like locking it up in prison for life. Your gym bag has odor causing bacteria that will grow on your belt. The small space doesn’t allow your lifting belt to breath.
What’s more is if you store your gym bag in a hot area the odor will worsen. So how do you store your lifting belt properly?
To start off, always store your belt at room temperature. Too cold or too hot will cause the belt to stiffen. Your belt may even become brittle if exposed to extreme temperatures. So, no garages. Not outside. Not above your heater.
The way you store your belt is also key. In a gym bag, your belt will bend or naturally in a spiral form. Keeping your belt in this position will cause it to lose shape. When you go to put your belt on you will need to straighten it out of its bent shape.
Therefore, always store your lifting belt in a straight way. Whether that means flat across your dining table or hanging vertically on the wall.
I prefer hanging my lifting belt in my room on a nail in the wall. I hook the prong buckle on the nail, and it hangs there all day. The look of your belt also gives your room a bad ass appearance.
How to Keep Leather Lifting Belts from Cracking
Now that you know how to store and clean your lifting belt, it's time to understand how to extend the belt’s life.
Think of these previous steps as using shampoo in your hair. What’s next? Conditioning.
Conditioning not only keeps your belt soft but prevents it from cracking. For this step you can use a soft dressing or conditioner.
There are many products out there to help with conditioning your belt. If you buy a specialized conditioner or oil for your belt you can use it on your other leather products. In fact, if you have a product for your shoes or fashion belt, feel free to use it on your lifting belt.
I use a leather moisturizer on my lifting belt every 3 to 6 months depending on how rough I treat it. Wirth more use of your belt, you can use the moisturizer more. It will help add shine to your belt and retain natural moisture. The product you buy will have its own instructions but in general you can rub the product in with your hands.
Leather is expensive.
The process and undertaking for making leather are labour intensive. Hence the price.
For your leather lifting belt, make sure you follow these tips to keep the longevity of your product. Try to keep your belt as dry as possible. No hair dryers. No dry heat. Heat makes your belt prone to cracking.
Try to keep your belt at room temperature. No machines. Only hand washing your leather lifting belt.
Finally, try to condition your belt regularly with a moisturizer or dressing.
Learning how to care for your lifting belt will help your belt last longer than you.