There is a lot of information out there about how to look after your Jiu Jitsu Gi. The following guide will help to maximise the life span of your Gi and help to reduce the impact that washing and training can have. This is all based on my own personal experience over the years and what I have found is that a good balance is key to a healthy, long-lasting Gi.
It might seem obvious to some, but it is important to wash your Gi AFTER EVERY CLASS! The sooner the better! If you have to wait, don't leave it bunched up in your bag, take it out and keep it in a cool place until you wash it. Avoid leaving it for too long!
Turn it inside out to reduce colour fade. Use quality detergents you would use for clothes and add a little white vinegar to help prevent bacteria build-up, AKA 'permafunk'. Half to 1 cup is a good amount. DON'T USE FABRIC SOFTENER, it will shorten the life of your Gi immensely, making the fabric weaker and more likely to tear. Instead, a little vinegar is good to help rinse out excess detergent, but laundry sanitisers are the best, like Canesten or similar.
Temperature is debatable. Some people hot wash every time, this will shorten the life and the sleeves/pants/lapels and will fade colour quickly but will kill bacteria and prevent 'permafunk'. Cold washing all the time will max the life but is a little less effective at cleaning. I wash at 20 degrees, and every so often, 40-60. If you don't have that much control it's not super important but just know the difference between hot and cold washing your Gi.
Your Gi will take time to dry. Hang it up immediately after washing. Using a large sturdy coat hanger hung with plenty of air around it works well or pegging it from the bottom keeping it open. Thick seams (particularly under the arms) will be the last to dry and it's important that you dry it fully as often as possible to prevent bacteria build-up. The Sun is good for that, but keep in mind it will fade colours quickly and deteriorate the fabric, so do this sparingly. A warm place away from the sun with good airflow will dry it fast enough. Having multiple Gis and rotating them is the most effective way to manage this.
Using a dryer will hasten shrinkage. There is a point it will stop, but I wouldn't recommend using a dryer... I don't even own one. On cooler settings, it can be ok, but hot is only if you need/want to shrink it and again, it will reduce its overall lifespan significantly.
Same as Gi pretty much. Wash them as soon as you can, don't use fab softeners, and dry them well, though that's easy. Vinegar in the wash cycle also helps greatly reduce 'permafunk' and lengthen the lifespan and again, a rinse with sanitiser is your best option.
Some people wash their belt every time with their gi, some people never wash it... ever. Don't be the latter. This is a personal choice if you want to wash it often or not but I find a happy medium. Washing it a lot will fade it and make it ratty, but you have to wash it! It's gross not to... seriously. Don't be that guy! And when you aren't washing it, hang it up immediately to air.
Gi shrinkage is inevitable. It will happen over time slowly and will eventually stop. When you buy a Gi they are pre-shrunk, but you can still expect a little bit of shrinkage. Colour gis shrink less because the dying process shrinks them, and manufacturers compensate for this in sizing. In my experience, the same size white Gi will shrink more than the black or blue. Brands are also not always consistent in size; one brand size might be smaller than another. The best you can do is follow the sizing guides and round up not down. It's better to be slightly too big than slightly too small.
You will need to find what works best for you. Some sweat a lot, and others less so. Variables such as this will determine the need for more rigorous cleaning methods to prevent your Gi from becoming smelly and unpleasant for your training partners. Good hygiene is so important when training with others and if you follow good hygiene practices your training partners will greatly appreciate it and you will find more people will want to train with you.
Feel free to drop us a message through the contact form link below if you have any questions or would like any more details about methods used or otherwise, or would like to discuss any of your own methods that you have found to be effective.