Your gi is your training equipment in Jiu Jitsu. Much like in other activities, your training equipment being in good order and of a higher quality will have an effect on the quality of your training and your ability to train. To help you can feel most comfortable and be ready to train here are some tried and true ways to take care of your gi:
Folding your gi. There are many ways to fold the gi, some are like advanced origami and other are simpler than folding a t-shirt. There are quite a few videos out there on the web about folding the gi but ask your team mates for some ideas. Making sure your gi is folded is truly for ease of transport and also to help the gi lay correctly on you each time once it is unfolded.
Your gi may have to go in a gym bag but DO NOT leave it there over night. Letting a dirty gi stay dirty actually shortens its life more than proper washing! It also leads to exponentially more bacteria that are potentially harmful and a true enemy of all Jiu Jitsu practitioners everywhere! If you are not able to wash your gi the same day at least take it out of the dark and dank cave of your gym bag and hang it out to dry. This will cut down on the bacterial build up as well as the smell.
White gis- Wash with other white fabrics on a cold setting. You don’t want to end up with dingy looking gi or an unintentionally pleasantly pink shaded one. Hot water will absolutely cause shrinkage to your gi so keep it cool!
Coloured gis- Wash with like colours and wash inside out, cold water just like white gis. Washing inside out will help the weave on the outside of the gi retain its colour longer and look less worn.
Napisan- A product available in Australia that is equivalent to the American Oxi-clean. Not only does it help remove stains (like blood) but kills bacterial and works as a colour safe bleach. The anti-bacterial aspect of gi washing is crucially important to keeping yourself, training partners, and your school clean. A gi that has less bacteria is also a good smelling gi and who doesn’t appreciate that!
Fabric softner can be a nice option but is not essential. It does not decrease or extend the life of your gi but for those who like a softer gi here is your answer.
After removing your gi from the washer right after washing the best way to dry your gi is by air drying your gi in the sun. The sun’s UV rays will help kill even more bacteria. If you are not able to air dry your gis we recommend using a dryer on low heat to avoid shrinkage. You can use this dryer time to contemplate getting another gi since you are showing up for training more and your birthday/holiday/vacation is just around the corner and it would really take the strain off of constantly washing the same gi. Dryers will add more wear to your gi and potentially shrink it more. Keep your coloured gis inside out when you transfer them to the dryer to continue to protect the outside from fading an colour wear.
If you do find your gi is becoming more grey than white let it soak in the sink or a tub with a warm higher concentration mix of detergent and napisan or oxi-clean. From there wash as usual.
Stay fresh and clean!