How to Wash a BJJ Gi: The Kimono Care Guide

Posted: May 7, 2014 in BJJ Advice
Tags: , , , ,

Washing Machine BJJ

Properly taking care of your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gi is essential to training. The gi is a big piece of the puzzle of BJJ and washing, shrinking, as well as caring for your gi is important. Let’s face it, if you don’t keep proper hygiene, you won’t be training very long. I have always been a little skeptical at people’s opinions and blog posts for these gi care topics so I wanted to create a solid step by step guide for each of these processes based off what I have had work for me, my dad, and other training partners.

When you first buy your gi

It’s pretty important to wash your gi before it’s first use (especially if it’s colored) to set the dye in the fabric. Here are the steps:

  1. Remove from packaging
  2. Punch into washer
  3. Add 1 cup of vinegar
  4. Wash with cold water
  5. Hang to dry

When you need to shrink your gi

photo 3There are a lot of times when you get a gi and it’s just a little too big, that’s when shrinking is a great idea. I have heard of many ways, but personally have done one way that I think is the safest way to shrink it without over shrinking it. (FYI: The picture to the right is of a Bad Boy gi that shrunk over time with cold wash and hang drying.)

  1. Wash gi normally in cold water
  2. Dry in for 10 minutes
  3. See how gi top and bottom fit
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until appropriate size


When your gi obtains too much “mojo”

You may or may not have experience gi, “mojo” before but sometime’s it can be tough to shake! There are a multitude of different, “methods” to rid the smell. The real key is to be proactive with the situation and let your gi dry after practices to help prevent any smell in the first place. However, sometimes the smell just can’t be prevented. Below is a list of the top methods I have used and ones that also seem pretty legitimate for you to try.

  1. Adding 1 cup of vinegar + 1 cup baking soda to your wash (My dad claims it’s the best)
  2. Dry your gi in the sun! (Preferably outside in Brazil to sponge all Brazilian mojo possible)
  3. Use Tide sport with Febreeze works well for me personally

There are a lot of other methods, please share them in the comments section to add to any of these areas and I can update this post so it is the most complete for the BJJ community!

  1. jose garcia says:

    is there a way to unshrink a Gi? i have the same issue with a bad boy

  2. Lucas says:

    Good tips. I usually wash my Gi with laundry detergent in cold water and then let it dry. This works for me, but I will definitely try vinegar + baking soda.

    The only thing I never wash is my belt because I don’t want to lose all that “mojo”/Ki accumulated so far and I hope it will turn into a black belt after several training sessions. =P

    Any tips for black kimonos? I’ve seen some of them lose their color quickly and getting a strange grayish look over time.

    I’m glad I found this site. I’m a white belt in BJJ (Ribeiro JJ) and a purple belt in Aikido (Aikikai).


  3. […] How to Wash a BJJ Gi: The Kimono Care Guide […]

  4. Bill says:

    I have to disagree with one of the last suggestions and that is to let your gi dry after practice. Letting the gi dry means all the salts and toxins you sweat out gets set into the fabric. You should immediately wash your gi after you get home from training before those nasties have a chance to make home in your gi.

    If you do start to have some funk after a while soak your gi in a mix of 1 part apple cider vinegar and 3 parts water overnight. Then wash as usual.

  5. Melissa says:

    You guys should all check out Rockin’ Green Soap! They have a laundry detergent called Sport Rock and it is seriously the best. My gis are in top shape, no funky weirdness to them at all, and no huge routine of soaking or adding things to the laundry! Sport Rock. You need to try it!

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