Q: How often should a Gi be washed?
Answer: After every gym session. No exceptions. Even if you go in the day and head back the same night, your BJJ Gi should be washed and cleaned.
Q: What’s the risk of having an uncleaned and unwashed Gi?
Answer: Anywhere from Staph to ringworm or even impetigo, etc. The problem with an unwashed Gi is that you’re putting your training partners at risk as well.
Problems arising from unwashed Gis and lack of BJJ hygiene can be as minor as rashes or as severe as Herpes Simplex. You can be sure that after one session, your Gi is no longer usable unless it’s washed.
While generally, every Gi should be washed, the problem becomes a bit more complicated when we bring in white Gis to the mix. In a gym with experienced folks, it’s normal to see yellow-ed Gis that were originally white.
And most times, it’s not even been that long since the time of purchase that the colors of the Gi start to fade.
The way things seem in the gyms, it’s easy to figure out that while most regular practitioners are monsters on the mat, their stained Gi is inevitably a concern for everyone.
Although it may not necessarily be unhygienic, such as in the case that the Gi has been washed but its color has worn out, it still feels unfit for a good BJJ practitioner to appear in a stained Gi.
You can buy affordable Gis for men, women and kids here at Elite Sports. But we understand that not everyone can have 5-6 Gis or the minimum recommended 4 Gis for training 4 times a week.
This is where beginner white, blue and even purple belts ask the million-dollar question, How to make your white Gi last longer for years on end without it staining?
Surely, there must be something you’re doing wrong with the washing process that’s causing the white Gi to fade and stain to yellow. So, let’s go over it in detail and figure out how Gis are supposed to be washed.
When to Wash Your Gi?
Firstly, let’s just get this in our heads that washing a Gi comes right after the class and not a day or two later. If you don’t wash your Gi immediately after you’ve arrived home, you’re risking all the sweat, stains and odor to settle in. And once that happens, you’re not going to be able to get it out anytime soon.
That’s precisely why you can’t leave your Gi in your gym bag either. While your bag might be spacious and comfy, it will still not be doing a dirty Gi any favors.
Q: What to do if I can’t wash my Gi right away?
Answer: Make sure to fill a bucket or tub with water with some stain remover and drop your Gi in to keep the damage to a minimum and buy yourself more time. But do get it washed the next day.
How to Wash Your Gi?
If you have a washing machine, you can wash your Gi like you would wash your other clothes. Just make sure to separate the white ones from the colored ones for obvious reasons.
Add bleaching detergent (not bleach) to a washing machine filled with maximum water. Since Gis tend to be heavy, you can’t afford to risk not having enough medium in the machine to get the Gi spinning around.
Make sure to turn the power mode of the washing machine to high for best results.
Once the Gi goes in and comes back out, you can choose to dry it out at room temperature by hanging it from a wooden hanger (because plastic ones won’t be able to hold a wet Gi’s weight) or you can choose to dry it out in a dryer as well.
Contrary to common misconceptions, all Gis, even white ones, can be dried using the dryer without damaging them.
You just have to make sure you’re not using bleach or a dryer that’s roughening things up. After that, you can leave your Gi folded on the table and get it in the bag for another gym session in the morning.
Q: Does a Gi shrink when you dry it out?
Answer: Yes, a Gi shrinks down a size when it’s dried the first time around. After that, it’ll stay the same size regardless of how many times you dry it out.
However, the same principle doesn’t apply to pre-shrunk Gis because, as the name shows, they are already shrunk to accommodate that size difference.
In the case that you don’t have or want to use the dryer, use the wooden hanger and leave it out to dry, but know that it’s going to take quite a bit of time for the Gi to dry. Given the climate in some areas, you can be looking at a day or two just to get a soaking Gi to dry out.
Training in BJJ Gi is important whether you’re training for competitions or self-defense. That’s why you need to have a couple of Gis in your wardrobe to allow you the luxury of washing one Gi and hanging them out to dry while wearing the other one to the gym.
When it comes to washing them, here’s a summary of what we’ve learned about washing BJJ Gis:
- Don’t wait and keep your Gi in your bag for a long time.
- Wash your Gi right after class. Apply stain removal solution to prevent odor and sweat from settling in if you can’t wash it immediately after class.
- Use bleach detergent (not bleach) and make sure to not wash colored clothes or Gis with your white ones when you put your Gi in the washing machine.
- You can either use a dryer or hang your Gi out on a wooden hanger that can hold the weight of a soaked Gi, though the latter will take some time to dry out.