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How to Wash Your BJJ Gi Best Practices

March 5, 2024

Do you want to show up to your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) gym and stink up the place? Didn’t think so. That’s why it’s essential to wash your gi regularly. It’s not just about health and hygiene either; it’s a matter of respect for your training partners and the martial arts community. BJJ involves close contact and plenty of physical exertion, soaking your gi in sweat and making it a breeding ground for bacteria.

Of course, a gi isn’t just a pair of jeans; it’s a traditional BJJ garment. So you might be wondering how best to care for your gi. In the following sections, we’ll share some advice for keeping your gi in fighting shape. 

What type of detergent should you use?

Choosing the right detergent for your BJJ gi is very important if you want to keep it in good condition and to have it last a long time. Sports detergents are designed to prevent tough sweat stains and odor that often occur with clothing worn during athletic activities, making them perfect for gis. If you prefer a more natural approach, consider gentle detergents for delicate or newborn clothes. Avoid using fabric softeners, which can make the fabric less absorbent.

Detergent properties to consider:

  • If your jiu jitsu gi is colored, choose a detergent specifically labeled as safe for colors to prevent fading and bleeding.
  • If strong scents bother you or your fellow gym members, you should try using a fragrance-free or dermatologist-recommended option to avoid potential skin irritation or an allergic reaction.
  • Enzyme-based laundry detergents can help break down stains like sweat and blood.
  • If you use a high-efficiency (HE) washing machine, choose an HE detergent to prevent too many soap bubbles and the need to run another rinse cycle.
  • You should avoid bleach, chlorine, or detergents with harsh chemicals, as they can damage your gi and cause shrinkage.
  • Always follow the instructions on the detergent packaging for the proper amount of detergent you should use and washing recommendations.
  • Avoid high heat, which can also cause your BJJ gi to shrink.

Popular detergents with good reviews for washing your BJJ gi include:

  • Tide Sport Active Fresh: Effective against odor and stains, color-safe.
  • Molly’s Suds All Sport Laundry Wash: Affordable, safe for delicates.
  • Atsko Sport-Wash Laundry Detergent: Powerful and residue-free, good for all fabrics.

Gentle detergents are best for more delicate materials, so consider looking at Eucalan Fine Fabric Wash, Biokleen Laundry Liquid Sport, or Dreft. These kinds of detergents are often more eco-friendly and gentle on fabric, plant-based, and effective on odor and stains.

Before you throw your gi in the wash, always check the care instructions on the label for specific recommendations. As a general rule, try not to overload the washing machine, as it can lead to wrinkles and poor cleaning. Here are some other general recommendations for choosing your washing machine and dryer settings:

  • Cotton-based fabrics: Use cold or warm water to prevent shrinking and keep your fabric soft. Hot water can definitely damage a cotton gi, and, as any fighter knows, they are not cheap to replace. 
  • Polyester and polyester blended fabric: You can use warm or cold water depending on the washing instructions on your gi’s inside tag.
  • Colored fabric: If your BJJ gi is any color but white, you’ll want to use cold water (especially for dark-colored garments), which helps prevent color from running and staining the other items in your laundry load. You can also turn your gi inside out to protect the outside from color fade and premature wearing.
  • Lightly-soiled fabric: Choose a gentle cycle setting for most gis and a gentle detergent. If your BJJ gi is a little dirtier than usual, use a normal cycle. Heavy-duty cycles should only be used for heavily soiled gis and may require you to pre-soak your gi in detergent or treat it with a stain remover first.

Drying your BJJ gi: 

  • You should air dry your gi whenever possible. Sunlight is a natural disinfectant and can help kill bacteria, which also helps prevent odors. Do your best to avoid direct sunlight, though, as it can cause the gi to fade.
  • If your only option is a dryer, use the lowest heat setting. The delicate option is even better because overdrying can shrink your gi and cause it to stiffen. Moving around freely and comfortably is an essential feature for a BJJ gi.
  • Always hang your jiu-jitsu gi to dry right after washing. Please do not leave it in your gym bag, as trapped moisture will grow bacteria and cause your gi to stink.

Remember to wash your BJJ gi after every use. This is the most important step! By following these tips, you can keep your BJJ gi clean and in good condition for many years to come. Not only that, but you will contribute to a healthier training environment and show consideration for your fellow practitioners!