How To Care for Your Judo Gi

The Judo gi is the only piece of equipment a judoka needs aside from their belt to practice Judo. It is worn by all Judo practitioners and it can last you years if it’s taken care of properly. So how does one take care of their Judo gi?

To take care of your gi, wash it on a cold setting for delicates after every use. This is important to both control bacteria that cause odors as well as to prevent mat diseases. You can either hang dry your gi or tumble dry it on low heat in the dryer.

In this article, we’ll go over how to properly care for your gi so that it stays in good condition and doesn’t develop any foul odors after your training sessions in it.

What Do You Wear in Judo?

Judo athletes wear a belt and a gi kimono. The uniform usually consists of a gi jacket, gi pants, and a belt indicating rank. Judo gis are built to withstand gripping and throwing, unlike lightweight Karate gis. Most Judokas also wear a shirt or rash guard under their gi jacket.

The gi is usually made out of cotton, but can also be made out of hemp or synthetic materials. The gi is typically worn with a belt tied around it to keep it tight to the body.

The material is stiffer than that of more typical traditional martial arts gis but still allows for a full range of motion when practicing techniques on other people. For the sake of appearance, many clubs opt for white uniforms during practices, while competitions often feature colored or patterned uniforms.

Although the gi offers a protective layer against the mat, protection isn’t its main purpose. On the contrary, the reason behind wearing a gi is to allow the opponent to properly practice their techniques on you.

Do Judo Gis Shrink?

Judo gis can shrink when handled improperly. The two main factors that determine if they will shrink are what materials were used in constructing them and how they are washed and dried. If you wash your uniform on a cold setting and hang dry or tumble dry on low heat shrinkage is unlikely.

It is usually a good idea to buy a Judo gi that is preshrunk. This reduces the chances of unwanted shrinking if it is handled improperly for some reason. Picking up a gi from a company that uses quality materials and manufacturing practices also reduces the chances of unwanted shrinkage of the Judo gi.

Should You Iron a Judo Gi?

Ironing a Judo gi is really unnecessary. If you’re just looking to wear your gi for training, ironing out wrinkles isn’t necessary especially because it can damage the gi. Steaming the gi is an easier alternative that will remove wrinkles and accomplishes the same goal without risk of damage.

Between the risks of damage to your gi from ironing and the fact that steaming your gi is a viable option, it just really doesn’t make sense to iron your gi in most cases, especially since the gi is just going to be wrinkled and sweaty from the next training session anyway.

How Do You Wash a Judo Uniform?

Wash your Judo gi on cold in the washing machine will get your gi clean in most circumstances. Generally speaking, you will want to keep your gi and other clothing you wore to training in the washing machine separate from your normal laundry. Tumble dry or hang until dry after washing.

It is important to get your uniform into the washing machine as quickly as possible after training in order to prevent odors from setting and also to get rid of the bacteria and fungi that cause mat diseases which are common in Judo alongside other grappling sports like BJJ and wrestling.

Ensuring that your uniform gets completely dry is pretty much the big secret to making sure odors don’t set into the material long-term.

How To Deodorize a Judo Gi?

Laundering your Judo gi is a great way to deodorize it and keep it in good condition and is usually enough. Occasionally your Judo gi will get a smell that you will need to deodorize specifically. At this point soaking in vinegar or baking soda before washing can help.

To get your gi funk free you can simply add a cup of baking soda to cold water in a utility sink or bucket and soak your gi before washing like normal. After washing, smell it and make sure that it smells good before throwing it in the dryer. You may need to soak and wash multiple times if your gi has stubborn smells set into it.

One of the most critical things to remember is that getting the uniform completely dry is a significant factor in controlling odor over time, so making sure it gets totally dry will keep it from locking in odors. Don’t waste your effort deodorizing the gi if you aren’t going to ensure that you get it completely dry afterward.

Taking Care of Your Judo Gi if You Can’t Wash It Right Away

If you cannot immediately launder your Judo gi after training, you need to do some things to reduce the chances of odors getting locked in and bacteria growing on the uniform. Some of the things that you can do are to dry out a gi by hanging it with a fan nearby or laying it in the sun to get cleaned by the UVs and dry out.

Final Thoughts

Taking care of your judo uniform doesn’t have to be complicated, but getting it wrong can be quite expensive and no one will tell you how to do it at first. Simply washing the uniform in cold settings in your washing machine and air-drying it or tumble drying in the dryer at low heat will usually be very effective if you use a deodorizing laundry detergent.

If you need to deal with odors, then you can bring in other tactics like soaking the gi before washing. Make sure you always get your uniform completely dry to prevent issues with it developing stubborn odors.

For more check out Do You Need to Be Fit to Start Judo?


Hi, I'm Andre and I am the author of this website. I currently train primarily in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but supplement with other grappling martial arts as well as help to coach my kid's blended grappling program.

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