One of the most important things in Jiu Jitsu is hygiene. Every class you are rolling around with other people, exchanging sweat and other fluids for an hour to two hours. Your jiu jitsu gym is a petri dish and the only way to ensure people don’t get skin infections or worse at your gym is to keep your equipment clean. One equipment that people don’t always clean is the Gi. In this guide we discuss how to wash your BJJ Gi.
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 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 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 get to the right size for you. There are also cases if you lose a lot of weight for 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 the warm or hot water, you should not dry your Gi in a tumble dryer. The heat in tumble driers cause the most shrinkage in Gis. The best way to dry a soaking wet Gi after washing 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.
What if Your 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.