How to Care for your BJJ GI.

Thursday, February 23, 2045

BJJ GI Care Guide – How to Care for your BJJ GI


Ever wondered what the best way to care for your new BJJ GI is? Most newcomers to the sport will think you can just wash and dry it like the rest of your clothes. Wrong! Doing so could be a costly mistake and wreck your GI in more ways than one.

Below we will outline the best way to care for your GI that will help preserve its colour, size and condition.

Washing your BJJ GI

You should always wash your GI straight away after class. Leaving it in a gym bag even if it is just overnight can lead to the GI discolouring, smelling and harbouring germs (This can also turn a white GI a dirty yellow colour). If it’s left like this, it can spread mat born diseases like ringworm and Staph that can wreak havoc at your gym. Don’t be that stinky germ spreading guy. It’s not nice for your instructor or your fellow students.

You should always wash your GI inside out on a cold or 30/40-degree wash. This will minimise the shrinkage and colour fading.

Washing it on a higher heat setting can result in excessive shrinkage, colour fading and warp the lapel. Our lapels have an EVA rubber core which gives it strength and helps it to keep its shape. Applying too much heat can ruin your GI.

It is best to wash it with a non-biological detergent as this has far fewer chemicals and it will be better for your GI in the long run. Using a fabric conditioner is optional but it can help to keep your GI jacket soft. I personally like to wash mine with softener as it makes the GI a softer and this makes it a bit nicer to train in.

Drying your BJJ GI

Let us start by saying that you should only put your GI in a tumble dryer as the very last resort, like if you need to shrink it if it is miles too big for you.

You should let your GI dry naturally by hang drying it on an airer or coat hanger away from all direct heat sources like radiators. Excessive heat can fade the colour, damage and/or weaken the stress points, warp your lapel and melt certain types of patches. Even though you need to keep it away from direct heat sources it is ok to dry outside on a clothesline on a hot day.

Make sure that when drying your GI, it is fully opened out and is free to have air pass around it on all sides. So, no bunched-up sleeves or letting it dry on a flat surface. This can cause it to dry unevenly and make the GI smell damp.             

Ironing your BJJ GI

If you like to iron your GI before class, then please do but do it on a low iron heat setting and with the GI inside out. Certain types of patches will melt or stick to a hot iron, so it is best to avoid them coming in to contact with the iron. Please note this also includes the branded woven tape that is sometimes inside the Lapel and/or inside the sleeve or trouser cuffs. 

Shrinking your BJJ GI to fit

If you are thinking of Shrinking your GI, it is always best to check with the manufacturer before starting the process because all GIs will shrink differently. This can be for many reasons, but the most common reasons would be the different types of weave materials that they are made from and how the GI is washed and dried. Some will shrink loads on a standard wash whereas others will not shrink an inch even when washed on high heat. 

As a rule of thumb, single and gold weaves will shrink more than say a pearl weave. This is due to how tight the weave structure. Looser weaves shrink more than tighter weaves.

For more information on GI weaves see our guide BJJ GI Weaves Explained.

Here are our top tips for shrinking your GI:

Try your GI on. How well does it fit? If it is nearly right, then wash on a cold or 30/40-degree wash and hang dry. Try the GI on again. If it is still not right, then repeat the process.

If after this your GI still doesn’t fit then wash it on a 50-degree wash, hang dry and try on again.

As a very last resort you can try to shrink it further by putting it in a tumble dryer. Put it on the cool setting if your dryer has one and then check the GI every 5 minutes in case it shrinks more than you expected it to.

Please note that putting your GI in a tumble dryer is done at your own risk. We cannot be held responsible for any damage or excess shrinkage caused by putting it in the dryer.

If after this the GI is still a little bit away from fitting, then take the GI to a local dry cleaner. Most will offer a service of altering the GI and usually, they are very cheap. Only do this after the GI has been shrunk and not before otherwise it won’t fit when it does shrink after being washed and dried.

Colour setting your BJJ GI

Some people recommend that you treat your GI with Vinegar or bicarbonate of soda before washing to lock in the colour. That is not necessary with our GIs as they have been pre-treated after the dying process at the factory.


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