Hygiene is among the most crucial aspects of jiu jitsu. Every lesson involves rolling around with other students for an hour to two hours while sharing sweat and other bodily fluids. Your jiu jitsu gym is a petri dish, thus keeping your equipment clean is the best way to guarantee that no one contracts skin illnesses or worse there. The Gi is one piece of equipment that is frequently not cleaned. Your gi is a tool in the trade if you practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), more than simply a clothing. In order to ensure the lifetime of the garment as well as your comfort and beauty, it’s critical to keep it clean and well-maintained. A well-maintained gi can survive the demands of training and competition, but it has to be washed frequently to avoid bacterial growth and unpleasant odors. Don’t worry if you’ve never washed a gi or are new to BJJ. It’s as easy to learn how to wash a gi correctly as it is to learn a new move. Understanding the fabric, knowing when to wash it, and applying the proper methods are key. This manual will explain you through the steps of washing a gi, allowing you to maintain your equipment and concentrate on your training.
Tips for Cleaning and Washing Your BJJ or Judo Gi
There are several key things to remember when washing your Gi after jiu jitsu class. The first is to wash it. After every class, no exceptions, wash your Gi. Even if you feel you didn’t sweat that much (which would be odd), you should still wash your Gi. People carry billions of cells of bacteria on their skin at any given time. Some of those bacteria can go on to give you icky skin infections like ringworm or staph. So now that we’ve settled that, here are the other most important things to remember when washing your Gi.
Don’t Use Warm or Hot Water (in most cases)
Gis are made out of cotton and will shrink if you wash them in warm or hot water. While it may make sense that warm or hot water would be better for getting rid of bacteria or fungi, it is detrimental to your Gi. You may find that the next time you put on your kimono, your wrists fall well past the sleeves or its tight around the shoulders.
The only time you should wash your Gi in warm or hot water is when you first purchase it and realize the Gi is a bit too big. There is unfortunately no scientific way to determine how Gis shrink. We recommend taking a slow approach until you find the right size for you. There are also cases where, if you lose a lot of weight for a tournament, you may need to shrink your Gi – however, this should be fairly rare.
Don’t Put it in the Dryer!
For the same reason you shouldn’t wash your Gi in warm or hot water, you should not dry your Gi in a tumble dryer. The heat in tumble dryers causes the most shrinkage in Gis. The best way to dry a soaking wet Gi after washing it in cool water is to air dry it. We recommend a drying rack such as this one. A drying rack you can store in your garage or spare room in your house will be the best place to dry your Gi. Just make sure you give yourself at least 12 hours to dry it. Ideally, you should do it over night. If you do it on the same day as class, you may go with a damp Gi.
Don’t Bleach Colored Gis
Most Gis come in a color other than white. If you have a blue, black, or some other colored Gi, you should definitely never use bleach on it. The bleach will disinfect it very effectively, but it will surely get rid of the colors and ruin the Gi for you.
Pre-wash Preparations Tips
There are a few important things you need to do to maintain the longevity of your gi before you ever consider putting it in the washing machine. Shake off any extra dust or debris from your gi to start. This will prevent any extra dirt from entering your washing machine. Next, be sure to check every pocket for any goods you might have forgotten. You’d be shocked at how frequently your washing machine might suffer damage from a dropped mouthguard or roll of tape. Consider soaking your gi in a basin or bathtub filled with cold water and a cup of white vinegar if you have the time. This one-hour pre-wash can help reduce shrinking during the first few washes in addition to setting the color of your gi. After soaking, don’t forget to drain the water and rinse your gi with cold water. This pre-wash treatment will lay the groundwork for a fruitful wash and guarantee that your gi will stay in peak condition for many future training sessions.
The Importance of Washing the Gi
Regularly washing your BJJ Gi is not just about maintaining its appearance; it also plays a crucial role in hygiene and the longevity of the garment. Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu involves intense physical contact and sweating, which can lead to the accumulation of bacteria and germs on your Gi. If left unwashed, this can result in unpleasant odors, skin irritations, and even the spread of infections like ringworm and staph among your training partners. Furthermore, the buildup of bacteria can degrade the fabric of your Gi over time, reducing its durability and lifespan. Therefore, washing your Gi after every training session is essential. Not only does it ensure you adhere to the hygiene standards of the sport, but it also helps to preserve the quality of your Gi, allowing you to get the most out of your investment.
When and How Often to Wash Your Gi
When it comes to how often you should wash your BJJ Gi, it’s important to do so after every use. This is because sweat and bacteria can break down the material over time, and the best way to stop this is to wash it right after you work out. But we know that it’s not always possible to wash it right away. If you can’t wash your Gi right away, you should at least let it air out. This will help dry the sweat and stop bacteria from growing. Putting it somewhere with good air flow can make a big difference. Keep in mind that the goal is to keep your Gi in the best shape possible, and washing it often is a big part of that.
What if you Forget to Wash Your Jiu Jitsu Gi?
Sometimes you forget about your kimono and let it stink in your bag. If you forget to wash your Gi after class one day, and it ends up smelling terribly, there are some ways to get it smelling fresh again. The best way to do that would be to throw it back in the wash, except this time also throw in 1 to 1.5 cups of white vinegar. The vinegar will help uproot the bacterial smell in your Gi.
Hand-washing Your Gi
If you don’t have a washing machine, you can still clean your gi by hand. Start by putting cold water in a large bowl or your bathtub. Add a mild detergent that doesn’t have a scent, and fully submerge your gi in the soapy water. Use your hands to gently move the fabric and water around, paying special attention to any dirty or stained spots. After washing, pour out the soapy water and run cold water over your gi until all the soap is gone. It’s important to gently squeeze out the extra water instead of wringing it, which can damage the fabric. Lastly, hang your gi to dry in a place with good airflow and out of direct sunlight to keep the color from fading. Hand-washing your gi might take more time, but it is a great way to keep its quality and make it last longer.
Cold Weather Drying Tips
When it comes to drying your gi in cold weather, it’s essential to act quickly. Leaving your gi in a washer or bundled up in a sink can lead to mildew growth. Avoid air drying in direct sunlight, as the intense heat can cause shrinkage or damage to the fabric, much like a dryer. The sun can also fade the color, giving your gi an aged appearance. Instead, hang your gi in a dry, moisture-free area to prevent any lingering odors. Utilizing a fan or a room with good airflow can expedite the drying process. Remember, never iron your gi as the heat can cause shrinkage and unnecessary damage. If you’re in a particularly cold climate and hang drying is proving difficult, consider using a fan or space heater to speed up the drying process. However, avoid placing the gi directly on the heater or fan. Instead, drape it over a chair in front of the heat source to prevent direct contact and potential damage.
Gi Special Care
In addition to the basic washing and drying procedures, there are some special care tips to keep your gi in top-notch condition. One inevitable challenge you’ll face is stain removal. It’s important to remember that using bleach or harsh chemicals to remove stains can significantly shorten the lifespan of your gi. Instead, opt for gentle, fabric-friendly methods. If your gi is colored, you’ll need to take extra precautions to prevent color fading. Always wash colored gis separately to avoid color bleeding. If possible, use a color-safe detergent to maintain the vibrancy of your gi. Remember, the care you put into maintaining your gi reflects the respect you have for your training, your trainers, and your fellow trainees. With proper care, your gi can remain in excellent condition for many years, allowing you to focus on your training.