The Propper Care (and Feeding) of your GiFiled Under: Gear
(picture courtesy of Hourman)
My wife just bought me a new pair of jujitsu gi pants. Why? Two reasons.
- She’s awesome.
- My old pair made me look homeless.
This has made me do a little research into how to make my gi last longer, and stay nicer. What I’ve found out surprised me.
I don’t want to drag this out, so its bullet point time.
- If you want your gi to smell fresh, you must wash it after every use. Even if the gi is dry – sweat has evaporated and oils from your body have made their way in.
- Even you wear a t-shirt underneath, you still are sweating onto it.
- Even in the winter, even if you don’t think you’re sweating.
- Rule of thumb: If it touches your skin, wash it after one use.
- If you want to keep it smelling nice, wash it right after you use it. Bacteria breed in your sweat and oils – and its the bacteria that create the smells. The longer the smell factories stay in, the longer and harder it is to take them out.
- Smells can be infused into your gi – and sometimes washing will not eliminate them.
- Dry your gi directly after washing. Mildew will accumulate with time.
- Line dry your gi if possible, and not in direct sunlight. (UV’s and such)
- Machine dryers shorten the life of your gi.
- Washing the gi in cold water.
- Bleach shortens the life of your gi. I know you want to do it, but don’t.
- Color safe bleach will still weaken the fabric.
- Harsh chemicals especially weaken the threads in the seams -making groin tears and knee patch openings more likely.
- If you want a nice, sharp colored gi – do not buy a white one. You will be tempted to use bleach otherwise.
- Fresh blood stains? Soak in cold water, then massage in liquid detergent, then wash.
- Dried blood stains? Did you not obey the above advice? Pre-treat the stain, soak in WARM water. Products with enzymes are idea.
- If you use bleach, use it only a couple of washings a year. Seriously.
- You want to extend the life of your gi? Own two. Two gi’s bought at the same time will outlast buying one at a time if you care for them correctly.
- Avoid fabric softener. I shortens the life of your gi.
- New gi’s are rough - sweat/salts/oil will soften them a bit after the first few wearings. After the first 3 wearings, that’s probably the softest its going to get.
- You want a softer gi still? Buy a nicer one. There is no way around this, safe diminishing the life of your gi via chemicals.
- Setting the color – for colored gi’s and patches, soak 30 mins in a mix of a half cup white vinegar per gallon of water (cold). You can do this in your bathtub. Follow by a regular wash.
- Color safe detergents help keep the color.
- Neither setting the color of color safe chemicals will extend the life of the gi – it will only keep the color longer.
- So you’re going to use the machine dryer anyway, huh? Heat = reduced gi life.
- Don’t iron your gi. Are you a pansy? Spend that time training.
- After drying, leave it be for a minute. A gi needs to be completely dry before you fold it – if not, in the folds you will retain water and create mildew.
- Patch early. If you see thread coming out of the seems or elsewhere, it’s not going to stop magically.
- Machine washing will stress minor tears and seem weakness – I’ve created several big tears in my training clothing by washing it in the machine.
- You can try hand washing a gi in a tub instead of the machine.
Some of the stuff above came from a “more than you ever wanted to know about caring for your uniform” pamphlet that came with my Piranha gi. Others, I learned from caring from my rock-climbing ropes, my mom, and (bad) experience.
If you were wondering, these are the pants my wife bought me. I’ll let you know how they turn out.
Also, don’t let a cat get in them.