A well-organized laundry room scene displaying items essential for washing a BJJ Gi

After you buy your BJJ Gi, one thing is super important: How to wash a gi. You don’t want to be the one who smells bad or is responsible for infections in the gym. Hygiene is crucial in BJJ.

But the thing is: The Gi is sensitive. You spend good money on your jiu-jitsu Gi, and you want it to last. So it’s not just about tossing it in a washing machine and hoping for the best.

Trust me, I did that and ruined my first Gi with that. I want you to avoid my mistake.

So stick around because, in this post, you’ll learn how to keep your Gi clean and make it last. Trust us, your wallet and your training partners will thank you.

Why Is It Important to Wash Your Gi Regularly?

  • Sweat and Bacteria: After training, your gi gets full of sweat, bacteria, and fungus. If you don’t wash it, these can build up and might give you skin infections or other health problems.
  • Avoid Bad Smells: Gis can start to stink if you don’t wash them. Nobody wants to train with someone wearing a smelly gi. Don’t be that person!
  • Regular Cleaning is a Must: I wash my Gi after every training session. It’s best to machine wash it, like I showed you before, to keep it clean and fresh.

So I cannot stress it enough. It’s my biggest worry in BJJ – that I get infections from somebody with poor hygiene. So don’t be that guy, please.

What’s The Best Way To Wash Your Gi?

Washing your Gi the right way makes a big difference. It took me some time to figure it out, but now I have it down to a science. Now, let’s break it down step by step:

1. Pre-wash Preparations

First off, wash your Gi immediately after training. Trust me, you don’t want it sitting around getting all shroomy. If you can’t wash your Gi right away, at least hang it up to dry. It helps a bit with the smell.

If you have time, soak your Gi in cold water. It loosens up the dirt and makes the washing process better. Just fill up a tub or a big sink with cold water and let your Gi in there for a bit.

Last tip for this part: Turn your Gi inside out. Doing this helps clean hard-to-reach spots. Plus, it’s easier on the fabric of your Gi.

2. Machine Washing

It’s always recommended to wash your Gi by hand. But I’m too lazy. If you’re like me and want to wash your Gi in a washing machine without ruining it, here’s what to do: 

clothes in a washing machine
  • Step 1: Keep the Gi inside out. You prepped it this way, now keep it that way. This keeps your colors bright and your seams strong.
  • Step 2: Choose the gentle setting on your washing machine. Your gi gets washed a lot, so let’s be easy on it, okay?
  • Step 3: Cold water only! Hot water is a no-go. It shrinks your Gi and might even mess up the fit so much that you can’t wear it in competitions.
  • Step 4: Time for detergent. Pick a mild one that removes stains but won’t wreck your fabric.
  • Step 5: Hit that start button and let your washing machine work its magic.

And here’s why you should follow these steps:

  • Cold Water: Keeps your gi in shape and ensures you don’t end up with a mini-gi.
  • Gentle Setting: Less wear and tear, so your gi lasts longer.
  • Mild Detergent: Tough on stains but easy on your gi.
  • Just Your Gi: Your gi needs its own private wash. Don’t mix your Gi with other clothes. It can make your Gi look old fast.

So now you’re a pro at how to wash a gi in the washing machine, and you’re set to keep it in tip-top shape for a long time.

3. Handwashing

If you want to take care of your Gi, handwashing is the best way to clean it and make it last longer. Follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Keep the Gi inside out. It’s the same reason as machine washing: you want to protect those colors and seams.
  • Step 2: Fill up a big tub or sink with cold water. No hot water here, either.
  • Step 3: Soak your Gi for at least 5 minutes. Need to get rid of some stubborn dirt? Let it soak a bit longer.
  • Step 4: Use your hands to scrub the Gi against itself. You know, rub the fabric together to get those tough spots out.
  • Step 5: Swish the Gi around in the water. This helps get rid of any leftover sweat and grime.
  • Step 6: Time to rinse. Use more cold water to make sure all the detergent is gone.
  • Step 7: Carefully squeeze out the water. Don’t twist or wring it, you could stretch out the fabric.
Person washing clothes by hand: How to wash a Gi

Here’s why these steps work:

  • Cold Water: It’s good for the fabric and helps avoid stains setting in. Plus, it keeps your gi’s shape nice and normal.
  • Rinsing Well: You don’t want leftover soap messing up your Gi, so rinse it all.
  • Gentle Squeezing: Being gentle keeps your Gi in good shape for a long time.

So there you go. Handwashing might take a bit longer, but it’s the best way to keep your Gi in top condition. Unfortunately, I don’t do it often. I often find excuses not to do it. Don’t be like me.

4. How To Dry a Gi

Alright, you learned how to wash your Gi; now it’s time to dry it. Drying your gi is as important as washing it when it comes to BJJ. If you are not careful here, you might shrink your Gi, and it won’t fit you anymore.

If your Gi is too big for you and your intention is to shrink your Gi, then check out our Guide on how to shrink a Gi properly.

So, what’s the best way to dry a BJJ gi? Let’s find out!

  • Step 1: Hang your gi to air dry as soon as you can. Don’t leave your gi rolled up in a bag; it will get mildew.
  • Step 2: Pick a place with good airflow to hang your gi. A fan can speed up the drying process.
  • Step 3: Keep your gi out of direct sunlight. The sun may shrink your gi and fade its color.
  • Step 4: No ironing, please! Ironing can shrink your Gi and mess it up for your next training session.

Here’s why these steps matter:

  • Quick Drying: If you can’t wash your gi right away, at least hang it up to dry. Wet fabric is a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Airflow: Using a fan or a room with good airflow can speed up the drying process, making sure your Gi is ready for your next roll in BJJ.
  • Avoid the Sun: Don’t keep your Gi in warm or hot water and the direct sun to make sure it doesn’t shrink or fade.
  • No Ironing: Iron your gi? Bad idea. It’s a surefire way to damage the fabric of your gi.

So now you know the best way to dry a BJJ gi. It’s all about quick action and the right location. With these tips, you’ll help keep your Gi in great shape for a long time.

5. Stain Removal

You love your BJJ training but don’t love those nasty stains on your Gi, right? So here’s how to deal with those stains without messing up the color of your Gi.

  • Act Quick: The best way to keep your Gi looking brand new is to tackle stains as soon as possible. Wash your Gi after every use.
  • Soak It Up: If you notice a stain, soak your gi in cold water. It helps to keep the stain from setting in. You can also add a bit of white vinegar to the water. It’s not just for cooking; it helps to get rid of stains and bad smells too.
  • Be Gentle: Don’t scrub your gi with a brush. That’s a big no-no! Just rub the fabric against itself. That should help remove the stain without hurting your gi’s color.

6. Maintaining Shape

You got a new Gi and it fits just right. You want to keep it that way. Let’s talk about how to keep your Gi in top shape.

  • First Few Washes: Listen up! The first few washes are super important. This is when your gi is most likely to change shape. So here, be extra careful. Always wash in cold water during these first few washes. 
  • Don’t Let It Shrink: One big reason to use cold water is to keep your Gi from getting smaller. No one wants to feel like a stuffed sausage in their Gi, right?
  • Hang It Right: When you hang your Gi to dry, use a wide hanger. This helps keep the shoulder area in good shape. Make sure it’s not folded or twisted. You can even use your hands to help reshape it.

7. Gi Special Care

Taking special care of your Gi is super important for anyone in BJJ. So, let’s dive into some Gi care tips to help your Gi last longer and stay in tip-top shape.

  • Fabric Matters: Your Gi isn’t made of regular fabric. It needs to be strong enough for all that rolling and tugging in jiu-jitsu. Knowing the fabric of your gi can help you decide how best to wash and dry it.
  • Ironing the Smart Way: You might think, “No way, don’t iron a gi!” But sometimes you gotta do it. If you do, use the lowest heat setting and put a thin towel between the iron and the gi. This will help avoid damaging the fabric of your gi.
  • Gi Care Guide: Every Gi is different, so read any care labels or guides that come with your new gi. They’ll give you tips on washing a gi properly and making it last longer.

How To Store Your Gi

Let’s go over how to store your Gi, so it lasts longer.

  • Hanger Time: The best spot for your gi after every training session is on a wide-shoulder hanger. Make sure the place is dry and has good airflow. This keeps yucky smells and bacteria away.
  • Travel Tips: If you’re going to train or compete in a different place, fold your Gi the right way in your suitcase. Or even better, put it in a garment bag. This helps keep it nice and neat.

I’m not the most orderly person. So I find myself tossing it to the side. So when I’m writing this Guide, I’m kinda speaking to myself… Hopefully, you are more responsible than me.

How To Fold a Gi

  1. Smooth It Out: Lay your gi flat and smooth out any wrinkles with your hand.
  2. Pants First: Fold your pants in half. Put them inside your gi where your chest goes.
  3. Sleeve Time: Fold the sleeves so they lie flat across the top of your gi.
  4. Center Fold: Fold the edges of the gi towards the middle. Make them overlap.
  5. Half and Half: Now, fold the whole thing in half. Press down if it’s thick.
  6. Belt It: Fold your belt and place it on top of the folded gi.

You can also find video instructions here.

How to Wash A Gi for the First Time

If you have a new BJJ gi, don’t just toss it in the washing machine right away. The first time you wash it, I’d recommend doing it by hand. But if you really want to use a machine, make sure to use a low setting and cold water.

Never use warm or hot water for your gi. It can make it shrink and mess up the collar. The best water temperature is between 30 and 40 degrees Celsius. That’s 86 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit for us who use Fahrenheit. Soak it in this cool water, and you’re good to go!

The first wash matters. Here again, I didn’t do it for my first wash and regretted it. So be extra careful here.

6 Things To Avoid When You Wash A BJJ Gi

Hey, listen up! Even when you’re taking care of your Gi, there are some big no-nos you should know about. Avoid these mistakes so your Gi stays in top shape.

Stop sign
  1. The Bag Trap: Don’t keep your dirty gi in a bag all night long. It will get smelly and gross. I was amazed at how bad a smell can get after I opened my Gi bag two days after practice…
  2. Hot Water Washing: Always wash your BJJ gi in cold water. You can mess up the fabric if you go above 100 degrees. And if you really, really need to shrink it a tiny bit, never go over 120 degrees.
  3. Skip The Bleach: Bleach is bad for your Gi. If you get a stain, like blood, wash it right away with cold water. Don’t wait!
  4. Put in the Dryer: Never put your gi in a dryer. Also, don’t hang it to dry under the sun. The best way to dry your Gi is to hang it up in a room without heat. Also, another mistake I made in the beginning.
  5. Belt Basics: Even a brand-new white belt needs a wash. You’ll hear some say, “Don’t wash your belt! It’s special!” Don’t listen. Wash it to avoid icky things like ringworm.
  6. One is Not Enough: Got only one Gi? Time to get more. If you got more than one, you don’t have to rush with laundry every time you train. In the long run, it’ll be cheaper.

Avoid my mistakes, and your Gi will stay as good as new. Just don’t do whatever I did. Some things you might feel you can skip or not as important. But trust me, a good Gi could hold for years if you treat it right.

Final Words

So there you have it! Knowing how to wash a jiu jitsu gi is essential for anyone training regularly. From the first time you wash your Gi to every time you wash it, these tips on how to wash will help your Gi last over time.

Make sure to wash your Gi properly. Learn from my mistakes. You’ll be amazed how long they hold.

Also, be sure to choose a high-quality Gi – these are less sensitive when it comes to the washing process. Here is a Guide on how to choose a BJJ Gi.

Keep these pointers in mind, and you’ll keep rolling on the mat with a fresh, good-looking Gi for a long time. Happy training!

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