A Comprehensive Guide to Washing Your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gi

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a dynamic martial art with a lot of close quarters interaction. This requires practitioners to have a clean gi for optimal hygiene. While washing a gi after every training session may seem straightforward, there are specific techniques you can employ to ensure that your gi remains in good condition without experiencing unwanted shrinkage. In this blog post, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to wash your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi effectively, highlighting essential tips to avoid shrinkage.

Step 1: Sorting and Preparing for Wash

Before diving into the washing process, it is important to separate your gi from other laundry items. Gis tend to be heavier and can cause friction when mixed with other garments, leading to potential damage. By washing your gi separately, you minimize the risk of any adverse effects during the washing process.

Step 2: Choosing the Right Water Temperature

One key aspect of preventing shrinkage is to use the correct water temperature. It is recommended to wash your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi in cold water. Hot water can cause the cotton fibers to shrink, altering the fit and size of your gi. Cold water, on the other hand, helps maintain the integrity of the fabric and reduces the likelihood of shrinkage.

Step 3: Selecting a Gentle Detergent

Opting for a gentle detergent is crucial when washing your gi. Harsh detergents contain chemicals that can damage the cotton fibers, leading to shrinkage or premature wear. Look for detergents that are specifically designed for delicate fabrics or consider using mild, eco-friendly options to protect the longevity of your kimono.

Step 4: The Washing Process

When washing your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi, turn it inside out to minimize the contact of the outer fabric with the detergent. This helps preserve the vibrant color and prevents fading.  

Step 5: Drying Techniques

To prevent shrinkage, it is recommended to air dry your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi. Avoid using a dryer as the high heat can cause the cotton fibers to contract and result in shrinkage. Hang your gi on a clothesline or a hanger, ensuring proper airflow. Nine Lives gis come with a wooden hanger just for this purpose. Make sure to spread out the fabric evenly to allow for faster drying.

Washing your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi is an essential part of maintaining hygiene and extending its lifespan. By following these guidelines and incorporating proper care techniques, you can effectively clean your gi after every time on the mat while  experiencing minimal shrinkage. Keep in mind that even pre-shrunk cotton will still experience some minor shrinking in the wash process, so make sure the fit is right on a new gi before training in or washing it.  

Shrinking a Gi on Purpose:

If your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi is too big and needs a better fit, you can shrink it on purpose. The key here is to work in small windows to not overdo any shrinking. 

For maximum shrinkage: Wash the gi in hot water with detergent and a cup of distilled white vinegar to help break down any remaining sizing. Use a high heat machine dryer in spurts of 10 min checking the fit along the way. 

For a little shrinkage: Wash the gi in warm water and use a machine dryer with as needed in spurts of 10 min checking the fit along the way. 

Just barely shrink your gi: Wash the gi in warm water and air dry

Note that intentionally shrinking a gi may alter its appearance and it will not be reversible. If you're unsure about shrinking it yourself you might want to wash cold let it air dry and then take it to tailor or dry cleaner for alterations.

Keep in mind that once you find your perfect fit you will want to be diligent about washing in cold water and hang drying from then on. Any warm water or machine drying down the road will cause shrinkage. Make sure you trust those living with you to follow the steps you outline or tell them to leave your Jiu Jitsu pajamas alone!