How to care for your gi uniform?
After you have selected the perfect gi, it is important to clean it after every use. Keeping your gi clean prevents the growth of bacteria (which feeds off sweat), and the likelihood of suffering from a skin irritation or infection. And of course, from being that smelly person at the gym!
Even though most brands state that their gi’s are pre-shrunk, there is still a high chance that there will be additional shrinkage if washed in warm/hot water. There is no rule on how much shrinkage you can expect, as gi construction (weaves and fabric weights) differs from brands and models.
Washing your gi
After each training session, wash your gi in cold water either by hand or with a washing machine. You do not need to use a specific gi laundry detergent, just ensure that it does not contain bleach. To help protect the badges and stitching on the outside of your gi, it is recommended to wash it inside-out and in a load by itself.
You can also include 1 cup of white vinegar to help remove any stains, just remembering never to use bleach as it will destroy the fibres in your gi and cause it to wear out faster.
Hang your gi to air dry either inside or outside. If hanging outside, make sure it is away from direct sunlight, as the sun can fade coloured fabrics. If you do need to speed up the drying process (can take up to 20-30 hours for a gi to dry completely), place in front of a fan, just remember anything with heat can cause shrinkage.
Shrinking your gi
If your gi is a little loose or you prefer a more fitted feel, then you can wash your gi in warm/hot water the first time. After washing, place your gi in the dryer on a low to medium heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from the dryer and try it on while it is still damp to feel the fit, if it is still too big, repeat 5 minutes of machine drying until the desired fit is reached.
Once you have the right fit, you can air dry the gi the rest of the way. Just remember that there will also be shrinkage during the air drying, so please take that into account.
Should you wash your belt?
Yes, you should wash your gi belt! Bacteria spread quickly and thrive on materials like cotton, so your whole uniform needs to be washed. If you are concerned on damaging your belt or having the strips come off, place it in a washing bag to help protect it.
Tips on preventing your gi from becoming smelly
- If you can’t wash immediately after training, remove your gi from your gym bag and hang it to dry
- Always wash your gi after each training session even if it was only a light session
- Add 1 cup of white vinegar to your wash to help remove stains and sweat build-up
- Ensure that your gi is completely dry before wearing again as dampness causes bad smells