How to Wash and Shrink your BJJ Gi? (Very Easy Methods!)

How to Wash and Shrink your BJJ Gi

When you roll on the mats, your gis will have blood stains, dirt and obviously sweat. So cleaning your BJJ gi regularly is just a must.

Also, you may find your gis sleeves longs or body parts baggy and you may need to shrink your BJJ gi for showing better grappling performance.

In this writing, you will find really easy methods for these and I also included a really awesome video which gives amazing tips about these. There are things which you should be careful while cleaning gis and after the washing section, you can find these as well.

How to Wash Your BJJ Gi?

Firstly, adjust the degree of your washing machine according to your gi’s materials. Then definitely turn inside out of your kimono and pants! In that way, your gi will continue looking cool after a myriad of washes. You also need to tie the string of your pants before you throw it in a washing machine. In that way, your gi especially stitches will have less deformation. You can also add fabric conditioner. So while doing grappling work, it does not irritate your skin and the fabric will remain soft.

I also highly suggest you wash your Gi after every single workout.

In addition to that, popular gi brands seem to have detailed washing guides so check them out before you wash.

Belts: You should wash your belts with your gi, period. Many BJJ equipment companies used to use materials which just suck for belts and these used to stretch more than they should. So after a couple of washes, we couldn’t tie them well. But companies started using gi materials for producing BJJ belts and this problem was solved a long time ago.

I found a really awesome video which includes really useful tips for washing your gi, drying it and some other suggestions as well!


 Prevent Your Gi from Fading

You can use baking soda, vinegar or black pepper (yes, it works) before you wash and definitely avoid direct sunlight so you can keep colors bright. Obviously, you shouldn’t wash Gis, which have different colors, together in a washing machine.

These (vinegar) also help your gi to get rid of smell if it has any.

How to Dry Your Gi?

After I wash a gi, I always hang it on a hanger (both pants and the jacket) and let them dry. It is convenient and reliable.

I highly suggest you avoid sunlight for drying since it hurts the construction of your gi and you don’t want to lower the durability of your gi, right? The sun also fades your gi.

So dry your Gi indoors!

It is the safest and easiest method to dry your gi.

How to Shrink Your Jiu-Jitsu Gi?

First, you need to roll on with your new gi at least a week. Then if you think that you need a smaller gi, you can implement one of the methods below.

1. Wash Your Gi in Hot Water (Best Way)

Just wash your gi in hot water. But don’t prefer really high degrees. If you want it to shrink more just wash it again. After you are comfortable with your gi you can start washing at a lower temperature.

2. Ironing

If your gi’s material is suitable for ironing, then you can iron it. Just make sure that you need to apply the same amount of heat for every compartment.

Don’t Go to a Sauna!

I just read that some people do “controlling shrinking” by going into a sauna. Basically they wet only some parts of their gis and as a result, they say that they can shrink these parts. Well, it is just wrong since when some parts of your gi shrink more than others the design also changes and it is not good for your training performance at all.

One thing is to note that every gi shrinks at a different rate.

So what causes this?

The materials, weave (gold, pearl, single etc.) type of every gi is different. When you consider the factors of stitching types, processing etc. you can expect that every gi shrinks differently. For example, some Sanabul Gis shrink a lot however the newer models don’t have that problem.

If you want to learn how much gis shrink, whether your gi is washable in cold water or not etc. , I wrote a quite good guide which can be found on here.

Also, some models come preshrunk and after the first wash, the shrinking will be negligible. So before you buy a gi, definitely research the model thoroughly.

How to Wash and Shrink your BJJ Gi


Wear a Rash Guard and Spat

If you wear a rash guard, your sweat will not get into your gi and since the gi does not contact your skin, it will take less tear and wear. So I strongly suggest you wear rash guards and spats. Thanks to these you can also wash your Gi less frequently. In that way, if you sewed patches before, these will be less likely to fall.

Some Gis can be washable in cold water but not all of them. So if you don’t want your kimono to shrink definitely wash it in cold water. In Thailand, my BJJ gym buddies always get gis which can be washed in cold water and wash them in cold water and I have never heard any complaints from them.

Don’t use cleaning supplies which can ruin your gis construction and stitching like bleach. Because of these, your gi’s color can also fade.


Well, I don’t know how many times I witnessed that gis construction ruined because of dryers. Because many people waited their Gis in dryers too long. If you want your gi to shrink this is another method, however, don’t forget to check your gi every 10 minutes.

Don’t be Stinky!

Cleaning your gi regularly has vital importance. Not only you will be protected from infections, diseases, people in your BJJ gym will also want to train with you.

There are other methods out there but I got many comments before. Some say that the other cleaning methods like freezing work but some people just experienced the opposite. So just clean and shrink your gi with the methods above! These (washing, drying) are quite easy to implement and will not take much time.

I hope that this writing is informative for you and if you want to add your experiences, tips about cleaning a gi, just leave it in the comment section.


Image Courtesy of VANCE AIR FORCE BASE via Creative Commons License, Some Rights Reserved
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6 thoughts on “How to Wash and Shrink your BJJ Gi? (Very Easy Methods!)”

  1. I never received there was so much to think about when cleaning your gi. I knew it would regular cleaning, but there is a lot to think about.
    Do you recommend putting it in the dryer or hang dry?

    1. There are even more ways for it. But I included all the main ones. If you think about only cleaning hands down, hang dring is the winner.

  2. Hey Furkan! Being in the BJJ Gym and having all that activity to do while in there means there will be sweat and smell of the Gi will come in no time, while cleaning in it is not necessarily the easiest job out there. Thank you for sharing this very useful and informative post with us!


    1. Exactly, I have friends who can’t stop grappling in a BJJ gym. It became their lifestyle and yeah they wash their Gis more frequent than usual, too : ) I am glad you found it useful.

  3. Hi Furkan,
    As a seamstress, I always soak my material in vinegar water to set the colour. It works great. Then wash and dry.
    I also hang dry most of my garments because the dryers are so hard on fabrics. You can tell by looking in your lint trap. All that fuzz you see? Fibres from your clothes!

    1. It is really good to hear about this stuff from a seamstress. Thanks for the contribution. I did not have a clue about that I should check out the lint trap. From now on I will do it.

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