So if you’re into Brazilian jiu-jitsu, one big investment is your Gi. There are many Gis out there from many different brands. But the most important thing is to get a Gi that fits you.

What if you order a Gi, and it shows up way too big? It happens a lot, don’t worry if that happened to you. Some Gis don’t fit perfectly right away but get better as you wear ’em.

So, don’t sweat it. You don’t have to send it back or buy a new one. With some easy steps, you can make that new Gi fit you perfectly.  In this post, I’ll break down for you how to shrink a BJJ Gi the right way. 

Why Would You Want to Shrink A BJJ Gi?

I find sizing in BJJ Clothing difficult to figure out. Every company has its unique sizing chart. So it often happened to me that the Gear I bought was either too small or too big for me. So I’d send it back.

Here are the reasons people shrink their Gis:

  • Initial Oversize: Like I said, it’s not uncommon to buy a Gi that is too big. Instead of spending more money on a new one or dealing with the hassle of returns and exchanges, shrinking your Gi is a practical solution. Many in the BJJ community do this to get that perfect fit.
  • Looseness Over Time: Gis can get loose with regular use. If you prefer a tighter fit, shrinking your Gi can restore that snug feeling, making you feel more secure and agile on the mats.
  • Custom Fit: Shrinking your Gi allows you to tailor its fit to your body shape, giving you more comfort and flexibility during training.
  • Saving Money: It’s a cost-effective way to extend the life of your Gi, saving you from having to buy a new one.
  • Control Over Fit: Different parts of the Gi can shrink differently. By managing the shrinking process, you can achieve a more custom fit that off-the-rack Gis can’t provide.

The Importance of Good and Comfortable Jiu-Jitsu Gis

Choosing the right Gi is crucial, both for durability and comfort. You want a fabric that can withstand the rigorous training sessions of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Durability is key, as a Gi may require replacement after two years if not taken care of properly.

Investing in a quality Gi from reputable gi brands is worth it in the long run. A quality Gi will offer durability and can be adjusted for the desired fit if it doesn’t initially meet your needs.

Many buy a cheap Gi in the beginning. That’s okay, but they are not that durable. I find Gi training demanding, with a lot of pull and tear. So we need a Gi that can withstand that.

Now that you understand the importance of a well-fitting and durable Gi, what do you do if your new Gi doesn’t fit right? Don’t worry, the next sections will guide you on how to shrink your BJJ Gi uniform for a perfect fit. 

How Should You Shrink Your Jiu-Jitsu Gi?

If you’ve got a new Gi and it’s too big, don’t stress. It’s easier than it seems. I did it myself, and it works well. Here’s an easy step-by-step guide to help you shrink a BJJ Gi for that perfect fit you’re looking for.

1. Soak in Hot Water

First things first, let’s talk hot water. Hot water helps the fibers in the gi fabric tighten up. This is how the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gi will shrink. The hot water makes it easier to get the Gi down to your desired fit and size.

Temperature Range: You can’t just go boiling your Gi. The ideal water temperature to achieve a better fit is between 110 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This range is hot enough to shrink your Gi but won’t damage the fabric.

2. Iron Your Gi

The next step is ironing. You might be wondering, “Why iron the gi?” Well, ironing can speed up the shrinkage process. When you iron the gi fabric, you’re applying direct heat, which helps to tighten the fibers. This is another good way to get closer to that desired fit you’re after.

When you’re ironing your Gi, you need to be careful. Make sure you set the iron to a medium temperature. This is the sweet spot—you want enough heat to help the Gi shrink but not so much that you damage the material.

3. Hang Your Gi in an Open Space

Alright, you soaked it in hot water and even ironed it. Now what? It’s time to hang that Gi in an open space for air drying. Air drying is better for your Gi than tossing it in the dryer.

Why Air Drying is Better Than Using the Dryer Sometimes

Putting your gi in the dryer might be a quick fix, but air drying helps avoid issues. Dryers can be rough on Gi fabric, so if you want durability, give it some time to air dry. 

Baggy Arms and Legs Issues

Got baggy arms and legs on your gi? That’s no good for your grip and grapple during training sessions. Air drying lets the Gi fabric settle in a way that might fix those baggy areas. If it’s still not right, you can repeat the process by washing it again in hot water and hanging it up to dry.

4. Rewash in Hot Water

Still not the perfect fit? No worries, you can rewash your gi in hot water. This is another shot at tightening up that fabric for a better fit.

I had to do this a couple of times and had good results after the second wash.

If you’re going for a second wash, you can dial down the temperature a bit. A recommended temperature range this time is 90-110 degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to get more shrinkage but not so hot that you’ll damage the Gi.

This step can help you achieve a better fit, especially if the first round of washing and air drying didn’t quite get you there.

5. Place it in the Dryer

If you’re running out of patience or just want to speed things up, you can put your Gi in the dryer. But know when it’s a good idea to use this method.

When to Put Your Gi in the Dryer

Putting it in the dryer is a quick way to shrink your Gi, but it’s not always the best for the fabric’s long-term health. It’s a good option when you really want to speed up the shrinking process.

It could also be that the constant washing doesn’t work for your Gi. Never happened to me but that could be if you have a lower quality Gi. Then shrinking would be an option.

Gi May Require Replacement After Two Years If You Keep Using the Dryer

One thing to remember: if you habitually throw your gi in the dryer, you’ll be looking at a shorter lifespan for that uniform. If you use the dryer too often, you’ll need to replace your Gi sooner. 

Gi Shrinkage and Its Risks

While the dryer will definitely help your gi shrink, be careful. You don’t want to overdo it and end up with a Gi that’s too tight. Also, too much dryer use can weaken the fabric and even cause it to tear during a grapple on the mat.

So there you go. Now you know all the steps for shrinking your BJJ gi. Up next, we’ll talk about some things you should avoid doing. 

4 Things NOT To Do When Shrinking Your Gi

Alright, let’s talk about what not to do. While you want to get your gi to that best fit, there are some things you definitely want to avoid.

1. Avoid Higher Temperatures

High heat may seem like a quick fix, but it’s risky. Avoid higher temperatures than the ones recommended. Going too hot can weaken the gi fabric, and you don’t want that when aiming for long-term use.

2. Don’t Put Preshrunk Gis in the Dryer

Got a preshrunk gi? Don’t try to shrink your preshrunk Gi. These types of gis are designed not to shrink much more. Putting a preshrunk gi in the dryer might mess it up, making you lose that perfect fit you were going for.

Always check the Gi before you buy it. Usually, the manufacturer mentions it when the Gi is preshrunk.

3. Don’t Damage the Gi By Using the Wrong Laundry Soap

Your choice of laundry soap matters. Some soaps are too harsh and can damage the Gi fabric. So when you’re washing your Gi in the washing machine, pick a soap that’s kind on clothes but still gets them clean.

4. Avoid Shrinking a Gi Belt

You might think about shrinking your Gi belt to match your newly-adjusted Gi. Bad idea. The belt’s material isn’t the same as the Gi’s, and trying to shrink it could end up ruining it. Plus, a shrunken belt might not hold up well during Brazilian jiu-jitsu or judo training sessions.

Troubleshooting Tips – What To Do When Your Gi is Too Tight

So what if you accidentally shrank your Gi too much, and it no longer fits? Here’s what you can do to fix a tight Gi:

  • Stretch It Out by Hand: If your Gi has shrunk, an effective method to loosen it up is to manually stretch it. Soak your Gi in warm water, put it on, and gently pull on the sleeves and pants. This helps to stretch the fabric.
  • Wear and Stretch: Another method is to wear your Gi while it’s still wet from a warm wash and carefully stretch by doing light movements or stretches. When wet, the fabric becomes more pliable, making this an ideal time to gently stretch it back into shape.
  • Hang Dry After Stretching: Once you’ve stretched your Gi, hang it to dry without wringing it out. This allows the Gi to retain the stretched shape as it dries.
  • Use a Fabric Softener: Occasionally, fabric softener can help relax the fibers of your Gi, making it easier to stretch and more comfortable to wear.
  • Cold Water Washes for the Future: Wash your Gi in cold water to prevent further shrinking and avoid the dryer. Air dry your Gi to maintain its size and shape.

Remember, stretching your Gi is always better to be gentle and gradual. Overstretching can damage the fabric, so take your time and be patient.

Take Home Message

To Summarize: You want your BJJ gi to fit well, and now you know the steps to make it happen. From soaking in hot water to using the dryer carefully, each step is important for that snug fit. But be cautious. Treat your Gi with care, so it’ll last you a good while.

You don’t want to invest in a new Gi too often. So follow these simple tips, and you’ll be on the mat grappling in no time with a Gi that fits just right. Got more questions? Don’t hold back—reach out to me anytime. And if you’re in the market for a new gi, check out my post on the best BJJ gi options out there.

Thanks for reading, and see you on the mat!

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