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How to Get the Smell Out of a Jiu Jitsu Gi

September 15, 2020

Jiu-Jitsu is a type of martial arts that focuses on grappling techniques. Originally from Japan (The word “jiu” means gentle” whereas “jitsu” means “skill”), it was brought to Brazil and developed in the early twentieth century. Fast forward to today and it’s practiced by countless people around the world. In the United States alone, more than 324,000 are involved with the sport!

Like most martial arts, there are a number of events that competitors can take part in. Some examples include the SJJIF Worlds, Jiu Jitsu World League, Asian Open Championship, European Open Championship, and Pan American.

Benefits of Practicing Jiu-Jitsu 

One of the great things about practicing jiu-jitsu is that it comes with many health benefits. Not only will it strengthen your heart and lungs, but it’ll also improve your body strength as well. On top of that, it can help lower blood pressure and stress.

benefits of jiu jitsu

Other Benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:

  • It can aid in weight loss, which will help you get in better shape
  • It will increase your mobility and speed
  • It will improve your stability and coordination
  • It will improve your balance so that you’re less likely to fall

As if that wasn’t great enough, it has mental benefits as well. For one thing, it’ll make you happier. It’ll also give you a confidence boost, which will help you be more successful in life. Studies have also shown that taking up martial arts such as jiu-jitsu can improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Don’t forget—it’s fun too!

Given everything that we’ve said, it’s not surprising to know that jiu-jitsu is as popular as it is today.

What Kind of Gear is Needed for Jiu-Jitsu?

Jiu-Jitsu, like most martial arts, requires a set of specialized gear. For one thing, you’ll need the right kind of clothes. Sure, you can probably get away with a t-shirt and shorts at the beginning, but you’ll eventually need the proper stuff if you plan on training further.

As far as the proper attire goes, the most important item is probably the gi aka the kimono. It’s the uniform that you’ll be wearing for training. Generally speaking, it’s made from heavy cotton and comes with a belt that symbolizes your rank.

Aside from that, you’ll also need a rash guard (preferably long-sleeved). Worn underneath the gi, its purpose is to protect the wearer from rashes, scrapes, and cuts. Another thing that you’ll need is a pair of fight shorts. Unlike regular shorts, they’re lightweight and capable of soaking up sweat. In other words, they’ll be less likely to smell after a session.

Last but not least, there’s the protective wear. After all, safety comes first. For example, it’s probably a good idea to invest in a mouth guard, a pair of ear protectors, and knee pads.

Keeping Your Jiu-Jitsu Gear Clean

Jiu-jitsu is a combat sport. Put it simply, you’ll be working up a sweat. So it’s a given that your clothes will also get sweaty—especially your rash guard since it’ll be in close contact with your skin. In the case of an injury, blood might also get onto the fabric. Seeing as how it’s white, you’ll want to wash it as soon as possible. The longer you wait, you harder your work will be later on!

Never leave your jiu-jitsu gear sitting in a bag. That will only turn it into a hotbed for odors to develop. Not only will it stink, but it’ll be unhygienic as well! At the very least, if you can’t put it in the washer, you want to air it out. That way, you’ll be able to get rid of some of the moisture that causes odors. 

Best Washing Instructions for Jiu-Jitsu Gi

Like we said earlier, most of these uniforms are made from cotton. In other words, you can put them in the washing machine like your other clothes. In fact, you can wash them with other garments. Just make sure that you don’t put them together with dark-colored items. Trust me, the color will transfer onto the white fabric and that’s the last thing that you want!

If you want your gi to last, consider putting it in a laundry bag. That will protect it from the agitator and the rest of your items. A large pillowcase is a suitable alternative if you don’t have a laundry bag. Once you’ve done that, load it into the washing machine. Add a scoop of ACTIVE detergent and wash it with a gentle cycle. Never use fabric softener. While it’ll soften your gi, it’ll also coat the fabric with a waxy substance that you don’t want. If necessary, go for white vinegar instead—just a cup of it will do.

how to machine wash jiu jitsu gi

Pro-tip: Take your gi out of the washing machine as soon as the cycle is finished. Avoid leaving it in there for long periods of time as that’ll promote odors to form. You’ll know once that happens because it’ll develop a pungent smell.

The next step, once the cycle is finished, is to dry the gi. Ultimately, what you want to do is hang it up so that it can dry naturally. Never put it in the dryer; the cotton will shrink in the heat. Avoid putting it under direct sunlight as well as that can also damage the fabric.

How to Hand Wash Your Jiu-Jitsu Gi Properly

You can also wash your jiu-jitsu go by hand. It might be more tedious, but it’s actually better for the fabric. Start by bringing it to a tub (or a container if you have one that’s large enough). Fill it with cool water, not hot water, and dissolve a scoop of ACTIVE detergent. Mix it thoroughly until the powder is dissolved and the mixture becomes sudsy. Carefully place the gi into the tub so that the water doesn’t spill out.

Press up and down on your gi a few times to help work the detergent into the fabric. When you’re finished, leave it alone so that it can soak. Do so for at least 20-30 minutes. Afterward, you can rinse off the detergent. Drain the dirty water and refill the tub with clean water. Swish the gi with your hands to help get rid of the soap that’s embedded in the fibers. Continue until there’s no presence of detergent in the water.

Press out the excess water from the gi and put it up on a clothesline so that it can air dry. Depending on the thickness of the material, it can take a couple of days.

Machine Washing Your Jiu-Jitsu Rash Guards The Right Way

how to wash jiu jitsu rash guard

The easiest way to wash your rash guards is to put them in the washing machine. Before you scurry off, though, there are a couple of things that you need to know. First off, don’t wash them with your gi—the colors will transfer onto the white fabric. Second of all, you want to turn them inside out. This will minimize friction so that the item will last longer. You can also use a laundry bag to protect them further.

The next step is to load the rash guard into the washing machine. Use cold water on a gentle cycle. Add one scoop of ACTIVE detergent (more or less depending on the number of items that you’re washing). Similar to the gi, you do not want to use a fabric softener. That will have an impact on the material’s moisture-wicking abilities.

Run the washer and wait for it to finish before removing your rash guard. Skip the dryer; hang it up to dry instead. It shouldn’t take long as most are made from synthetic materials such as polyester or nylon. Wait until it’s fully dry before putting the guards away or re-wearing. 

How to Hand Wash Your Jiu-Jitsu Rash Guards

If you want, you can also hand wash them. Not only will this save you money on your energy bill, but your rash guards will likely last longer as well (hand washing is much gentler than machine washing). You just need a sink or tub and an appropriate detergent like ACTIVE detergent.

Start by checking the care tag label—that will tell you what temperature of water to use. From there, go ahead and fill the sink or tub with water. Add a scoop of ACTIVE detergent and wait for it to fully dissolve. Place your rash guards in and swish with gentle movements to work in the soap. Let it soak for 20-30 minutes afterward.

handwashing jiu jitsu rash guard

Rinse out the soap with clean water. Repeat a few times if necessary; there shouldn’t be any residual soap leftover. When you’re finished, remove the excess water by gently squeezing the guard. Line dry afterward. Avoid wringing or twisting as that can ruin the fabric.

How to Prevent Odors on Jiu-Jitsu Gear

There are a number of things that you can do to prevent your gi and other gear from smelling in the first place. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t leave your gear in a wet heap for days on end—wash everything as soon as possible!
  • Air out all sweaty clothes before putting them away
  • Avoid using too much detergent as that can contribute to the build-up of odor-causing residue
  • Consider soaking your gear in white vinegar first before washing if the smell is excessive

Best Laundry Detergent For Jiu-Jitsu Gear

ACTIVE detergent is an excellent choice for jiu-jitsu gear (e.g. rash guard, gi, sports bras, knee pads, shorts, etc). It truly works wonders compared to traditional detergents. What’s the difference? It’s capable of penetrating deep into the fibers, which allows it to dissolve and get rid of any sweat or body oils. As it is, not all detergents are capable of this. If anything, that’s one of the reasons why many people struggle with getting their gi clean. Did I also mention that it’s great for removing body fluids as well?

active give

On top of all that, ACTIVE detergent is all-natural. In other words, you won’t be exposing yourself to potentially harmful chemicals. As you can imagine, that also makes it better for the environment. All the work is done by plant-based enzymes, which are gentle on the skin. Given all that, why wouldn’t you want to give it a try? 

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Picture of Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

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