How do I keep my gi white?

If you are a fan of white martial arts gi you might be asking yourself “How do I keep my gi white?”. It’s quite a challenge to prefer the white gi to colored, as the black or blue gi hides what you don’t even suspect. At the time as on a white jiu jitsu uniform, it’s like in the palm of your hand.

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Do white gis get dirty?

It’s not about do white gis get dirty or not. It’s about all gis get dirty.

Just on the white BJJ gi you can see the all dirt or your jiu jitsu training life:

  • yellow sweat stains that remain with time even after washing
  • blood stains
  • knees and hips areas rubbed with dirt from rolling on the mat that hard to wash off with time
  • fading of the white gi color or better to say dimming

Wait, what?! White gi losing its color? But it’s pure white gi, how can it lose even more color you may ask?

The thing is, that even white gis can also be colored. If you see a snow-white fabric, think about a pure white office paper sheet that has so bright color because of a specially added pigment. The same story happens with the manufacturing of white martial arts uniforms.

Here you can compare the natural color of white unbleached cotton yarn by Sanabul Vintage Jiu Jitsu Gi Collection (left) and the regular new white BJJ gi by Kingz (right).

But do not focus your attention on it. It’s just a regular production technology.

The main cause why white gis get dirty is the obvious destiny of any white clothes. The dirt absorbs into the fibers of the fabric and it is difficult to wash off. Because 100% natural cotton is a good absorber.

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How to wash white gi?

The fact that the white gi is white and is made of 100% cotton doesn’t mean you can wash it like other white cotton clothes.

First of all, remember the main things with a white BJJ gi:

  • do not bleach white gi, it will ruin the sturdiness of its fabric, embroidery and patches elements
  • treat all BJJ kimonos – white, blue, black, etc. – the same
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“Wash your gi” rules

The majority of BJJ gi brands emphasize washing their gis only

  • in cold water
  • not using the dryer

Some brands even recommend to hand wash your jiu jitsu gi.

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Hand washing your gi

  • Can you hand wash BJJ gi? Yes. It’s even recommended by the BJJ gi brands.
  • Can I wash gi in washing machine? Yes, we all do it. Just follow the recommendations.

But have you ever tried to wash your gi with your hands? And what about two kimonos at the same time?

I did. And here is my story.

Once we didn’t have access to the washing machine for about a month.

Imagine.

You are coming back late in the evening after your jiu jitsu class. Your mindset is happy. But your body is hungry and tired.

After having dinner, you are making a deep breath to gather strength into a heap before going to hand wash two BJJ kimonos, rash guards, spats, and some other stuff.

As there is also no centrifuge or machine dryer, you have to take the full of wet heavy clothing outside to hang it on for drying.

How did I feel after hand washing the gi?

I felt like after back workout training.

Because all the time you are standing bent over the washing tank and lifting up and down, many times, the wet heavy kimonos.

And you have to do it twice. Once with the laundry detergent and the second time to rinse.

My gi hand washing experience lasted only for about a month. This experience shows that you will not hand wash your gi for years that you train jiu jitsu. Otherwise, it may be a reason to quit BJJ.

It’s so exhausting and time-consuming.

We don’t hand wash our gis and no one in our environment does it.

So, why do the BJJ brands so insist to hand washing your gi in cold water and not using the dryer if it is so challenging?

how do i keep my white gi white
How to wash jiu jitsu gi label on a BJJ kimono by 93 Brand; image caption from 93Brand site
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“Wash your gi” requirements explained

Here are the regular gi washing rules given by the BJJ gi brands.

  • Wash your gi in cold water
  • Hand wash
  • Hand dry, don’t use a dryer
  • Do not bleach the gi

According to the gi brands, only these washing recommendations will preserve the jiu jitsu gi quality for a longer time than if not following them.

In other words, the manufacturers are saying “Wash your gi as you want, but we can give a quality guarantee only if you follow our instructions”.

It may look like they avoid responsibility. But in fact, these requirements are given not to complicate your life.

They are right.

Traditionally all martial arts gis are made from natural cotton fabrics. And 100% cotton behaves always similar:

  • it shrinks even under the lowest temperatures
  • absorbs wet, dirt, and blood like a sponge
  • consisting of natural fibers it can be easily ruined by aggressive chemicals like bleach

Despite the fragile nature of cotton, the manufacturers are finding ways to improve their products:

  • pre-shrunk the fabrics
  • develop own fibers and weaves, like the Origin BJJ gi brand

We recommend you to read the Origin gi reviews in our Best BJJ Gi Reddit Reviews – 13 Top Gi Brands Ever to see what results can a BJJ brand achieve being a real fan of their work.

Best BJJ Gi Reddit Reviews
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How do I keep my gi white?

So, back to our “How do I keep my gi white?” question.

Here we gathered the most frequent and not only ways of washing a white BJJ gi.

How to wash a white gi?Treat your white gi like a colored gi. The best way is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If washing in a machine, use low temperature (30o) and gentle care mode. Don’t wash with new dark clothes, especially cotton.
How to wash a white gi and keep it white?Wash your gi with bluing liquid occasionally. The bluing helps to increase the brightness of your white gi.
How to get blood out of white gi?Wash off the blood in cold water right after it appeared. Don’t use hot water. Use hydrogen peroxide on the blood stains after they get there. It will help later when washing your gi.
How do I get my gi white again?If you have stains that don’t wash off (yellow wet stains, dirt) you may use bleach on your white gi but very dosed. Take about a teaspoon of bleach and stir with half a glass of water. Wet a cotton pad and rub the spot with dirt. If there is no effect, add some more drops of bleach to the water. After, wash off the spot under the water tap. Then, do a regular washing cycle. Don’t use bleach on colored yarns, patches, and embroidery.
Washing BJJ gi with vinegarOne of the ways to remove the hard stains and odor is washing BJJ gi with vinegar from time to time. But first, read the recommendations below on how long to soak gi in vinegar and how much vinegar to add. Another much easier way is to use a laundry sanitizer.
How do I get my white gi white again with washing?Use the best detergents for white clothes that are chlorine-free and safe for colors. The best pick is the Oxiclean White Revive. Note: Follow the instructions for real results.

More details you can also find in our article 6 Best White BJJ Gi Reviews.

In case you have given up to make your white gi white again you can always change it to a darker color – blue, black, pink, navy, brown, etc. Of course, if your jiu jitsu school requirements allow wearing not only a white gi.

How to dye your gi

Here is an example of how a white Hyperfly gi turned into a black Hyperfly gi:

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Washing BJJ gi with vinegar

The method of washing BJJ gi with vinegar is going around for many years. Those, who used it are claiming it works great to get rid of that stinky bacteria on your gi after a hard rolling session.

Regular sanitization washings of your gi are always a good idea, especially if you don’t wash the gi right after the training. As all that bacteria can cause staph and skin problems not only for you but also for your teammates.

So, please, wash your gi right after the training and after each training. Even if you think “I had only one light rolling”.

Also, washing your gi with vinegar makes the gi color bright and keeps it from fading. So, if you like a fading gi look, this method may be not for you.

How long should I soak my gi in vinegar?

Pay attention to the recommendation about how long to soak gi in vinegar and how much vinegar to add for it. It will help you to get the needed results.

Vinegar is also known as a washing conditioner, deodorizer, and stain remover. It’s used to neutralize odors and get the clothing to smell clean. Also, vinegar helps to brighten the colored and white clothing.

It can be utilized as a detergent itself and in combination with other detergents.

You can add vinegar to your washing machine.

  • Use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
  • Add 1 cup (100 ml) of vinegar to your normal laundry or dilute it with water if you want to pre-soak the gi.
  • Soak the gi for at least 2-4 hours or overnight. You may see different advice on how long should you soak the gi in vinegar – 30-45 minutes, 1-2 hours, overnight. But the most used variant is overnight. I soaked my gi for about 5-7 hours.
  • For reference, take 1 cup of vinegar to 5 gallons of water (1 glass / 19 L).
  • Be prepared to have some smell of being pickled. If this happens do another rinse cycle and hang dry your gi.
  • Vinegar can be very effective in fighting the odor caused by bacteria.

Instead, you can use a laundry sanitizer

A great market alternative to the vinegar method is the Lysol laundry sanitizer that is made to help to eliminate the bacteria from the sportswear. Thousands of positive reviews on Amazon and also great results are shared among the BJJ community.

How to use Lysol laundry sanitizer?

Add the recommended amount and run your regular washing machine cycle.

For better results, pre-soak your clothing with Lysol for 15 minutes in cold water.

Lysol laundry sanitizer works in cold water and is safe for colored clothing. It’s one of the reasons why it’s so good for washing BJJ gis of any color.

Lysol Laundry Sanitizer

for sportswear
Lysol laundry sanitizer for sportswear. When used as directed, kills bacteria that other detergents leave behind. Works in cold water.
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Best laundry detergent for BJJ gi white color

Another best detergent to wash BJJ gi if your gi is white is the OxiClean White Revive.

When we made our research on the best detergent for BJJ gi, the OxiClean laundry detergent was mentioned in the BJJ Reddit community very often.

best detergent to wash bjj gi white
Screenshot from BJJ Reddit

How do you wash white BJJ gi with Oxiclean White Revive?

Note to follow the instructions given on the Oxiclean pack to have the best results.

As you may know, baking soda is also one of the effective ways to keep gi white and get rid of stains.

The Oxiclean White main ingredients are sodium carbonate and sodium carbonate peroxide. So, it explains, why there are so many good reviews about its effectiveness on white clothes.

  • Take 1 scoop per gallon of water recommended by the garment care label. For extra whitening add 2 scoops
  • Soak for 6 hours
  • Wash as normal with detergent and Oxiclean

Oxiclean White Revive Review

safe on colors
Stain remover and laundry whitener. Safe on colors. Chlorine-free. It’s chlorine bleach alternative.
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How to soften gi?

We have talked already here in detail about how to soften jiu jitsu belt. But the jiu jitsu belt and the gi uniform are different things. Despite the fact that both are made from the same kind of material – 100% cotton.

But the methods you would implement to soften the gi belt are just a different story.

How to get a stiff gi a bit softer?

  • “Keep rolling”. If your stiff gi is brand new, give it a chance to soften over time after regular training and washing.
  • Wash with vinegar as already mentioned already above.
  • The gi can get stiff or dry after washing. It may happen because the detergent doesn’t wash off fully and accumulates over time along with the stain on gi. You may use a fabric softener. But first, try to use vinegar as a softener.
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Conclusion

The easiest and the most sarcastic answer to “How do I keep my gi white?” question is do not wear a white gi.

But it’s not your option if your jiu jitsu school has white kimonos as mandatory or you like white gis more than black or blue.

Yes, as you see now, to keep white gi white requires more attention than taking care of colored gis.

But if you are a real fan of white BJJ kimonos, it will not be an obstacle for you.

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