To keep your BJJ gi clean and in the best condition possible, machine wash it inside out in cold water using a gentle wash setting. Once the wash has finished, immediately hang your gi to air dry, keeping it away from direct sunlight.
For more information about each step, including what detergents to use, and other commonly asked questions, read on.
The below tips are general only. Read your gi’s specific washing instructions to find out more. These are usually listed on a tag or panel in the jacket.
How to wash a BJJ gi
Wash your gi immediately after training. This helps to reduce odours by limiting the time the gi fabric fibres absorb odorous germs from training.
Always wash your belt. This should go without saying. A dirty belt will soon smell bad and might contribute to skin infections to you and your training partners.
Scrub stains with running cold water immediately before washing. If the stains are still present after washing, consider submerging the gi overnight in a bucket filled with cold water with some white vinegar before washing again.
Avoid bleach. This can weaken the fabric fibres in a gi and strip colours from the fabric.
Turn your gi inside out before washing. This can preserve the colours, patches and the overall condition of the outside of your gi as it won’t rub against other clothes during the wash.
Wash in cold water on a gentle setting. Washing in warm or hot temperatures can shrink your gi and/or damage the collar, so wash your gi using a cold temperature. Many manufacturers like Tatami recommend washing at 30 – 40 degrees celsius / 86 – 104 Fahrenheit.
If you’re washing your gi with other clothes, only wash with similar colours. Throw your gi in the wash with similar colours to avoid colours running.
Consider using an organic or mild detergent without softener. Using these types of detergents will avoid the effects harsher detergents have on the gi fabric, and will help your gi last longer. Flow Kimonos for example recommends Rockin’ Green
How to dry a BJJ gi
Remove your gi from the wash immediately. This helps to reduce the chance of your gi smelling.
Hang to dry your gi. Putting your gi in a tumble dryer will stress out the fabric, and tumble drying at warm temperatures can also shrink your gi and warp the collar.
Avoid direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can dry out your gi fabric and reduce its overall durability.
To speed up drying, use a fan. If you need to speed up drying, consider hanging the gi in a room with a fan. Tatami recommends hanging the gi approximately 1 metre / 3.2 feet away from a radiator to help increase drying.
Do not iron over a gi. This can damage or ruin your gi fabric and patches. If you really want to iron your gi, turn it inside out and avoid ironing over patches.
"Hygiene is two thirds health"
How to correctly shrink a gi
Gi manufacturer Ground Fighter has some great tips for shrinking a gi without damaging it. According to Ground Fighter, gi pants will shrink faster than a gi jacket, so keep this in mind when shrinking and consider shrinking each item separately using the methods below.
First, wash your gi normally once or twice to see how much it will naturally shrink. Almost all cotton gis will shrink after their first wash, even if they’re pre-shrunk.
If your gi is still too big, wash it in warm water and dry it normally to see if the fit improves.
How to wash and dry no gi BJJ gear
Washing no gi rashguards, fight shorts and spats is basically the same as washing a gi:
Turn all of your gear inside out first. This minimises damage to the prints and patterns on your rashguards and shorts.
Secure the velcro on your fight shorts. Velcro can rub against your clothing and cause damage to fabric and prints, so it’s best to secure any velcro by pressing the velcro tabs together.
Consider putting your fight shorts into a washbag. If you’re washing your shorts together with your spats and rashguard, consider buying a cheap wash bag from your local supermarket and placing the shorts in the bag to be safe.
Machine wash in cold water on a gentle setting.
Hang dry only and avoid direct sunlight.
Do not iron your rashguard.
Frequently asked questions about washing and drying BJJ gis
As mentioned above, turn your gi inside out before washing to help preserve the colours. Some gi manufacturers like Braus also recommend soaking your gi in a mixture of cold water and 2 – 3 cups of white vinegar for 20 – 30 minutes before washing it for the first time to “lock” the colours in.
How do you keep your gi soft?
Soaking your gi in a mixture of cold water and vinegar might help to soften it up. Some gi manufacturers like Atama also mention you can use moderate doses of fabric softener, although be careful that the softener doesn’t contain bleach.
Other manufacturers like Rolljunkie mention you can put your gi into a tumble dryer on no heat for a few minutes to soften it. Keep in mind that other manufacturers think using a dryer can stress the fabric. When in doubt, get in contact with your gi manufacturer.
Can you wash your gi with other clothes?
Washing your gi separately is preferred. If you’re washing it with other clothes, it’s recommended to only wash with similar colours to avoid colours running.
Can you iron your gi?
It’s not recommended to iron your gi, but if you insist, iron it inside out to preserve patches and embroidery.