1 – Drying after practice:
¨We should not put off till tomorrow what it is we can do today.¨ This equally applies to your BJJ Gi.
If you leave your Gi to macerate all night in your sports bag, be sure a very strong odour will unfold upon the next time you take it out.
Upon arriving home, take your Gi out from your bag and let it air dry, as this is the first step towards proper BJJ Gi maintenance.
If there are blood stains present on your BJJ Gi, avoid forcefully rubbing the stain as you will risk spreading it.
Also avoid warm water, as the blood risks coagulating and this will let the stain settle in deeper.
We precisely ask that you let the stained part of your Gi soak overnight, the stain will disappear on its own, or dab the stained area with a cold, damp wash cloth.
NOTE: If you have more than three practice sessions per week you will need a small collection of BJJ Gis, and you will also need to find a suitable ¨compromise¨ with the rest of your family because this takes up space and in terms of decorations it is not tops! But it Is essential to uphold the maintenance of your BJJ Gi.
1.2 – Why air dry the BJJ Gi?
Cotton is a material that absorbs humidity (like sweat for instance) and does not rid itself of said humidity easily.
Once your practice is done, you will have in your possession a Gi which is very humid, having been used as a floor mop for the last two hours and which has accumulated a good number of bacteria along the way.
It is important to remember the development of bacteria needs the presence of humidity and a temperature that is neither too high, or too low.
Your Gi is the ideal location!
1.3 – Ozone:
From a general point of view, when we talk about the layer of ozone above our heads, we think more about ¨a hole in the ozone and the risks that infers!¨.
Yet we’re going to talk about ozone (O3) in the technical or chemical sense of the term, and the benefits it can have on your kimono.
Ozone, sometimes called ¨Activated-Oxygen¨, is one of the most effective and present anti-bacterial agents naturally found in our air supply, which particularly attacks fungi, organic matter, chemical products and other bacterias.
When ozone meets bacteria, there is a chemical reaction called oxidation that brings about part of the bacteria’s destruction, and the release of small odour particles which are not very pleasant.
1.4 – Where to dry your Gi ?
If your Gi is white in colour, you may dry it in the sun, which will allow it to be both “bleached” and sanitized at the same time.
Ultraviolet light associated with ozone in the sun’s rays will destroy the molecules responsible for the greying of the white and will transform the water molecules into oxygenated water, and important and strong oxidizing agent used for bleaching.
In contrast, if your Gi is of a dark colour (blue, black, green, etc.) it’s preferable to let it dry in the dark, for the sun will have a strong reaction on the alteration of colours by having the same impact it did upon your white Gi.
Once your BJJ Gi is laid out to dry, it will only profit from the ambient air to dry, and from the ozone assuring the destruction of bacteria collected during training sessions.
This is an important point in the upkeep of your BJJ Gi.
1.5 – How to dry your BJJ Gi?
It is recommended you place your jacket and pants on on hangers which are fairly distanced from one another. The quickness of drying is not identical for each gram weight and the surface for drying.
Evidently, once you’ve laid your Gi to dry, think of pulling on the sleeves and the bottom of the pant. This will allow the fibres to be adequately placed and will avoid possible shrinkage upon drying.
Once dried, you may put your Gi in the washing machine.
NOTE: The act of drying your Gi before putting it in the wash will allow you to keep the white relatively clear and will avoid the infamous yellowish stains that form at the collar, slowly but surely, with every wash. Equally, it avoids persistent “odours”. This step is essential to the BJJ Gi maintenance.
2 – Washing and drying of your Gi:
You will see that with a dry Gi devoid of living bacteria, you will now be able to place it in the washing machine to rid it of all other bacteria and grime in order to continue the proper maintenance of your BJJ Gi.
NOTE: Your Gi should be the only article of clothing in your machine, avoid throwing in your dress shirts, T-shirts and socks, and at all costs avoid mixing colours!
2.1 – Temperature of washing:
We will remind you that your Gi is made in large part of cotton and is consequently very sensible to temperature.
The maximum temperature should not exceed 30°C.
Above that you risk seeing your Gi shrink from wash to wash.
We precisely recommend a wash on cold.
At this temperature your Gi will not shrink in the slightest, or at the most very minimal.
Another good step for BJJ Gi maintenance.
NOTE: In the case of a new Gi, and in order to have it properly fit for your shape, you may be enticed to wash your Gi at higher degrees of temperature (30-40°C). Nevertheless, be prudent, wash at a higher temperature little by little, because once the Gi has shrunken too much, it is impossible to return it to its previous state. Proper BJJ Gi maintenance truly is its own art!
Note: If at the end of the drying process you find your Gi a little bit coarse, this is due to limescale in your cleaning water.
Do not add any fabric softener, rather add sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), an ecological product which is low in price. This will allow you soften your Gi upon its next wash.
2.2 – Gis and clotheslines: Attention, danger!
As previously stated, cotton is sensible to temperature.
Placing your humide Gi on a clothesline will increase its temperature and will simulate washing the Gi at a higher temperature.
As a result, this will cause your BJJ Gi to shrink.
NOTE: If you have vinyl patches of your Gi, this rule is of even greater importance. This risks damaging and causing the patches to gradually come undone.
If your Gi has already been through a number of washes, you will not have to ask yourself the question. The fibres should not move anymore.
As previously stated, drying your Gi on a hanger, stretching out the limbs and drying it in the open air is ideal and a great tips for BJJ Gi maintenance.
2.3 – Putting away your Gi:
Once clean and dry, take the time to fold your Gi, avoiding putting away balled up into your dresser drawer.
You will gain space while taking proper care of the cotton.
3 – Fixing of the colours:
Maintaing your BJJ Gi also means maintaining the colour of your Gi, whether it be black, blue, red or green.
For a new Gi, before its first wash, we look to our dear grandmothers who proposed to us that we let our new Gi soak a couple hours in a solution of cold water, white vineger and coarse salt.
Once your GI is “baptized”, you can maintain its colours with specific products.
Big Box store products exist to conserve the brightness of the white, or revive the darkest of colours.
4 – Additional tips:
4.1 – Do not lend out your Gi:
It is more of a personal preference than a tip, but we will explain the reasoning of this subject.
First, it is just simply not agreeable to wear your Gi which has someone else’s perspiration on it, especially when it hasn’t been washed. It is very unhygienic.
Second, the person to whom you’ve lent your Gi will more than likely bring it home and wash it.
As we mentioned before, washing your Gi the wrong way can make it more fragile and damage it.
4.2 – Having a good rotation in your Gi:
If you train regularly, maybe 3 times or more per week, it can be a good idea to have more than one Gi and have a rotation between them.
In addition, because of regular training, you will need to wash your Gi frequently, which can take up a lot of time : washing, drying etc…
By having more than one Gi, you leave yourself the time to properly wash and dry your Gis.
Furthermore, you should wash each of your Gis less frequently, as you use a different one on each occasion and allows you to prolong your Gi’s longevity.
4.2 – General hygiene:
Having a clean and well taken care of Gi is a good point, but much more than that it is good hygienic practice in regards to your training partners, as well as a sign of respect.
There is nothing worse than rolling with a partner whose Gi smells foul.