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How To Clean Muay Thai Shin Guards: 5 Tips For Beginners

shin guards
clean muay thai shin guards

Shin guards are one of the most important parts of Muay Thai equipment, especially for people who plan to take part in the competition. Sparring sessions are very often, and shin-to-shin collisions might lead to heavy injuries that might keep you sidelined for months.

But, unfortunately, you can’t avoid the inevitable – your shin guards sweat, and you’ll have to deal with bacteria and odor. Despite every piece of equipment needing to be replaced at some point, the proper care lengthens its life. I am going to teach how to clean Muay Thai shin guards and train with pleasure.

Tip 1: Clean Right After Training

This should be your habit number one. I know you’re most tired or in a hurry because another group of students has to step in and train, but you don’t need more than 60 seconds for this. Oh, common, it’s not much time, isn’t it?

Carry the towel with you all the time. As soon as the training ends, wipe the inside and the outside of your piece of equipment. It’s one of the most effective ways to clean Muay Thai shin guards, the first line of defense against bacteria.

If you have more time, use wet wipes to sanitize your equipment. My gym has hair-dryers, so when the training’s more intense, I usually stay for a couple more minutes and blow the interior (pay attention to the hair-dryer settings, I like to choose cooling as heat might damage the inside of the shin guard).

Also, my final piece of advice is to keep Muay Thai shin guards in a separate bag from your training shorts and t-shirts. Your piece of equipment will last longer and smell nicer if you follow my suggestions.

Tip 2: Do Not Leave Shin Guards In Your Rucksack Or Bag Overnight

This is a must-tip, you must get your equipment out of the training bag as air and ventilation are your best friends when it comes to clean Muay Thai shin guards.

Airing your training gear regularly will dissipate moisture and prevent odors from accumulating, so this step is NON-NEGOTIABLE.

Today, you can buy training bags with good ventilation, there are some models in the market. So if you go to work after training, spend more money on a breathable model of bag. But listen, this will not save you from smelling disaster, it will just postpone the process.

Tip 3: Keep Your Shin Guards Dry By Any Means Necessary

You should try to keep them dry as long as you can because it parries bacteria and odor. Just stay away from wet shin guards. I will get to know you with few potential ways of dealing with this problem:

  • Stuff newspaper inside of shin guards and let them absorb the moisture. I recommend leaving your news to do the job for at least 4 to 8 hours. Please read my cleaning gloves thread for more info. The process is very similar, just roll your sheets a bit differently, adjust them to the shape of your shin guard.
  • Cedar sachets sound like a great idea. Put them inside of your shin guards because it leads to double benefit – fresh scent and moisture absorption. Get to know the real meaning of the phrase “clean Muay Thai shin guards” with this method.
  • Putting equipment on the sun. This is a yes and no option. Yes, if you don’t put it for longer than 30 minutes. When you live in a hot climax, too warm weather might damage the inside of your shin guards. No, for people who will forget to remove them from the harsh sun. If the weather’s not too hot, you can leave your shin guards out for a longer time. But I am warning you, colors can fade away, especially if you wear a fancy pair.

A cool and dry environment at your home works well, too. If you have a balcony or storage area, keep your shin guards there. I kindly recommend you to follow tip number 3 for very clean Muay Thai shin guards.

Tip 4: Washing Machine – Yes Or No?

I’ve been asked this question so many times. There are good and bad sides to it, but let me ask you a question, ok? What are your shin guards made of?

forbidden washing machine

Some materials are ok with the washing machine (of course, if you follow the instructions properly), others are ok with hand wash and nothing else. You’ll have to be very careful with this. Please read on to see the good and bad sides of this.

Excessive moisture will wreck your leather fibers apart, so a hot and humid climate is not the best idea when it comes to hygiene. Another downside of the washing machine is Muay Thai shin guards’ rigidity. Even a gentle wash cycle (30-degrees hand wash) might lead to getting some knocks and scrapes. The heat will lead to faster disintegration, too. So this is not the best solution, but…

You can soak your shin guards in the hot water to get rid of stubborn stinky areas that are already stacked with excessive moisture. You will need few hours before it dries out later.

Please, put your Muay Thai shin guards in the water or inside of the washing machine if and only if the weather is all warm, hot, and sunny. Do it another way around and say hi to bacteria breeding musty smell. I prefer a 30-degree hand wash program (newer washing machines offer this option).

Tip 5: Alternative Methods Of Cleaning

Soapy Water

I am not the greatest fan of this method, but soapy water is slightly better to deal with moisture and odors. You just need to put your piece of training gear in the solution, but for 15 to 20 minutes. If you hold it for a longer time, you’ll have no chance of cleaning it later, so please, proceed carefully.

Don’t forget to sink every single part of your shin guards into the solution, otherwise, this cleaning method makes no sense.

Some materials are tolerant to detergent so you can add it, but be warned. It stops molding, but it might harm your piece of equipment.

Baking Soda

This is a wonderful method that I’ve already described in our glove cleaning thread. Yet, my advice is to adjust it in a way that covers the inside and the outside of the shin guard.

Oh, if clean Muay Thai shin guards are very stinky, you’ll definitively need way more time to make them shine and smell nice again.


This is a good method after cleaning as it helps you to deal with the remaining bacteria. OCD people are huge fans of this (I have a brother obsessed with cleaning). It leads to better hygiene, so if you’re unhappy with the smell of your shin guards, try this out and I bet you’ll be pleased after this method.

Deodorizer’s formula is very strong and it might neutralize even the most persistent odors. And I must emphasize this – you will get rid of the smell 100%, it won’t just be masked for some time. My brother does this regularly and it pretty much works for him, especially in summer. You can use the same deodorizer for gloves on shin guards.

But I must warn you, some deodorizers contain bleachers, which might seriously harm leather products. So it’s all up to you, but check the construction and the price of your Muay Thai piece of training equipment, you might have to buy a new model.

Speeding Up The Process

Cotton pieces are also a good way to accelerate drying. Yet, even if you put them correctly inside of the shin guard, you’ll need strong sunlight, so I’d be very cautious.

I like to leave my shin guards in front of the fan or under the air-conditioner, it helps when you’re trying to dry it out quickly. These methods are top-notch when you don’t have enough time between two training sessions.

Lengthening Life

I am a big fan of this method because it leads to clean Muay Thai shin guards, and demands around 30 seconds of your time. Take a napkin and wipe the sweat off your piece of equipment before you put it in a bag.

This improves durability, reduces the level of sweat, and leads to less odor. You’ll have to wash your equipment sometimes, that is true, but after three instead of two months.


Clean Muay Thai shin guards will let you enjoy your training sessions. Your teammates will not stay away from you, you won’t have to buy a new pair every 3-6 months, plus your training sessions will be more efficient.

Some methods demand more time, others can be done in less than 2 minutes. I am kindly asking you, dedicate 5-10 minutes per day to your shin guards if you want to progress faster.

By the way, which is your favorite cleaning method? Please share it with me in the comments below!

Last Updated on May 21, 2022 by Deni

Picture of Deni


Hi, I started training Muay Thai back in 2016 and fell in love with it. So I decided to create this blog in the pursuit of this passion and share my experience with you.

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