One puts a lot of emphasis on training technique, cardio, gi brand, etc... One thing that has been overlooked is the cleanliness of your training armor. When one signs up to train jiu jitsu, they usually don't get a "clean your gi" guideline. One usually picks it up by searching online, videos, asking around, or following the care description printed on the kimono. Here is a list of guidelines that will help you extend the life of your gi, and care for the armor that protects you and helps you look and smell your best.
How often should I wash my gi?
It's best if you wash your gi after every use. If you train twice a day please use your second gi for the night session. Even if you didn't sweat as much in the daytime class, other people do.
How many gi's should I have in my rotation (own)?
It really depends on how many times you train a week. If you are training 2 times a week, you will be ok with one good gi. However, if you train 3+ times a week, it's best if you own more than one gi. If you use one gi a week, after a month you've used it 4 times, however if you own two gi's that's cut in half which means your gi will last twice as long. Not guaranteed, obviously it all depends on training methods.
Is it ok to put all my gi's in the washer at once?
No, this greatly depends on how big your washer machine is. Try not to overfill the washer, the gi's will not properly wash. The result is a partially washed gi with a combination of other gi smell. Two gi's are great, three are good, four... you are pushing the limit.
I want to kill bacteria, should I use a color safe bleach?
It is not recommended to use bleach on your gi. In fact, many if not all kimonos (gi) recommend not to use bleach on their care label. Bleach will greatly diminish the quality of your kimono. Avoid this at all cost. If you truly must, do it once a year.
Is it recommended to use vinegar and baking soda on my kimono?
YES! however this method is not necessary every time you wash your gi. Baking soda will greatly assist with the smell of your gi's. Vinegar works best. Soak your gi in a 25% vinegar and 75% water solution. Let it soak for 5 hours+, then remove the gi's and put them in the washer and wash as usual. If you desire, add some baking soda while in the washer. This will remove most if not all bad smell from a gi. For really bad funk, this step may need to be repeated.
Should I wash my belt as well?
Yes, the belt is something that is left unwashed by some. Common myth about "washing your knowledge away" is known by many, however, this is not true. Your belt accompanies you through your training sessions, it gets dirty along the way. I have washed my belt many times and even the stripes stay on wash after wash.
Dryer machine or sun dry?
Sun drying your gi is best. The sun rays will naturally kill all the bacteria on the gi. That's the best benefit. You save electricity and they soak up the smell of nature (plus your detergent). Drying should be avoided however it is not as bad as most make it out to be. The worst thing about drying your gi in a dryer is that you risk shrinking your gi and it also shortens the life of your gi by a little.
If my kimono is not 100% dry, can I still wear it?
No, training/rolling in a damp gi will only cause more future odors from your gi. Bacteria loves to live in moisture. Therefore, having a damp gi on the mat where it's already warm and humid mixed with sweat, blood, etc.. = not hygienic.
- Don't reuse the same gi without washing and fully drying in between use
- Never leave your used gi in your trunk for days especially in the summer
- Avoid overstocking the washer with smelly gi's
- Don't use bleach on your gi's. If you must for whatever reason, do it once a year
- Do not use gi until it is 100% dry
Tips to help you look your best while extending the life of your gi
- Always wash in cold water
- Every 6 months soak your gi in water & vinegar solution for 8 hours+ prior to washing
- Every 6 months add baking soda to your wash load
Hand dry or dry on low or no heat