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  • Writer's pictureJess D

How to Properly Wash and Care for Your BJJ Gear

Updated: Feb 25

Along with maintaining your hygiene, maintaining your BJJ gear is important, too! Here's how to wash and care for your BJJ gear.


Washing machine, doing laundry for bjj how to clean bjj gear


Besides the training itself, nothing is more important than cleanliness in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ). The main thing is because of your proximity to the mats and other people, you don’t want to be smelly or dirty. Along with maintaining your hygiene, maintaining your gear is important so you can make your BJJ clothes last. Washing your gear properly and often can help with these things.


The purpose of this blog post is to educate BJJ practitioners, both new and old, on how to wash your training gear to make sure it doesn’t smell, to get stains out, and to maintain your gear so it lasts a long time. This guide also highlights some of the tips I’ve used to make my gear last. I even have a gi that I’ve used since I got my blue belt which I got in 2013.



Understanding the Material of Your BJJ Gear

black belt with black gi showing belt. Details of gi weave shown. Guy with white gi and blue belt in the background

Most jiu-jitsu practitioners will have and use, gis, rashguards, spats, shorts, belts and more.  Unlike your other clothes, you can’t just automatically throw your clothes in the washing machine and then dry them in a high heat dryer.  At the same time, your training gear isn’t like the most delicate piece of lace that you must hand wash and care for like it’s gold. You’ll want to find a balance in maintaining your jiu-jitsu gear.


Common BJJ Gear You Need When Training

guys standing around in bjj gym waiting to train

Most people start out with having at least one gi, their belt, a couple of rashguards, and shorts to do no gi.  Although there are more affordable options for these items, most of the time your BJJ gear will be on the pricier side.  With all that, your gear is generally not heat and dryer friendly: Gis and belts are generally made of cotton and rashguards and spats are made of Lycra and spandex material.  So, you have to be careful how you wash and dry them.


Consider washing your BJJ clothes separately from your normal clothes.

 1. Your gis are usually super thick and will probably need their own wash cycle and,

 2. If you or your teammates are very sweaty you might need to soak and treat them to get the stink out. That stink can rub off onto your other clothes (Yes this can happen. Especially if you don’t use good laundry detergent).


How to Properly Wash your BJJ Gi

jiu-jitsu gis in a laundry tub before washing

As previously mentioned, BJJ gis are made of thick cotton material. Gis have various weaves and thickness. There are even some people that have “summer” gis and “winter” gis, which are lighter and heavier respectively. Most of the time you will only be able to wash one or two gis at a time, especially if your gis are on the thicker side.


Step-by-step Guide to Washing Your BJJ Gi

1.     Layer laundry detergent, baking soda and vinegar in laundry tub.

  • If it works for you, add clothing softener. Some people say it’s not worth it, but I like softer gis.

2.     Prep gis for washing.

  • Make sure drawstrings are tied properly by tying the ties together (looping draw strings through your gi pants is a pain in the butt.)

  •    If you have patches that were hand sewn, turn your gis tops and pants inside out so they don’t get ripped off in the wash.

  •   Pre-treat stains so your gi doesn’t get permanently stained.

3.     Add gis

  • Don’t add more than 2 gis at a time.

  •   Sometimes I also wash my belt with my gis.

4.     Use cold to cool water.

  •    This prevents shrinkage and color running- especially if you have a new gi.

5.     Choose your cycle.

  • Use the heavy duty or regular cycles (my personal preferences).

  • Consider a pre-soak cycle to get some of the sweat and stink out.

6.     Start your wash.

  • According to however your washing machine works.

7.     After the wash is done, hang dry your gis.

  •   If your gi is new and you want to shrink it, you can consider putting it in the dryer but constantly keep track of how long the drying cycle is and how much the gi shrank.

  • Consider hanging gis outside in the summer. It’s better for the environment and the sunlight kills germs.



How to Wash Rashguards, Spats, and Shorts

jiu-jitsu rashguard, shorts and spats

  Washing your rashguards, spats, and shorts are essential the same but there are some other considerations considering the Lycra material.

1.      Layer laundry detergent, baking soda and vinegar in laundry tub.

  • If it works for you, add clothing softer.

2.     Prep spats and rashguards and shorts, making sure drawstrings are tied properly together.

  • Also, attach Velcro parts if they are on your pants to prevent the Velcro from sticking to other clothing.

  • It’s also smart to pre-treat stains at this stage before adding them to the wash.

3.     Add rashguards, spats, and shorts to wash.

4.     Use a cold or cool water cycle.

  • Again, to preserve the material and to prevent the colors from new items from running into other clothing items.

5.     Choose your cycle- I use a regular cycle for these items.

  • Also consider a pre-soak cycle to get some of the sweat and stink out.

6.     Start your wash.

  • According to however you wash clothes.


7.     After the wash is done, hang dry your spats, rashguards, and shorts.

  • Keep in mind that these items are made of Lycra and spandex, so they might lose its stretch if you put it in the dryer.


How to Wash Miscellaneous BJJ Items

person adjusting knee brace

            These are some items that you might use in addition to your jiu-jitsu training clothing which includes your bag, belt, cups, headgear, and soft knee, elbow, and ankle braces. When it comes to your BJJ belt some people might bring up the superstition that if you wash your belt, all your BJJ techniques and powers get washed out with the belt (yes that’s a real superstition).  I’m just going to say do whatever you like but no one likes to be known as the ringworm belt guy.   Your belt is also absorbing sweat, being mopped along the floor, being grabbed, etc., so please wash it. 


With these extra items, use your discretion in washing them. For my belt, I usually just throw it in with my gis but my knee brace I usually hand wash.  I make sure to hang dry all the items. During the summer or when it’s very sunny out (flashing back to my time in China without a dryer) I would just hang them out to dry.


How to Wash Your BJJ Bag, too!

Also, yes it’s important to wash your bag. You’re constantly putting sweaty clothes into it so of course it’s going to smell. Most gear bags are made of cloth so it should be easy to just throw into the wash. If your bag is more structured, then you can always use Lysol or Clorox wipes to clean the inside and outside of your bag. You can also soak and rinse your bag off.


Dealing with Stains on Your BJJ Gear

stain on t-shirt with baking soda next to it

  Most of the time and if there isn’t some freak accident, you will most likely only have to deal with blood stains or makeup on your gis. I am guilty of leaving my foundation on a few white gis after work.  The best way to deal with getting rid of blood stains is treating the area with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda so it lifts right off. You should also wash your stuff in cold water to help lift the stain.


If you get makeup on your BJJ gear, the best way to get it off your clothes is to use a pre-wash treatment or if it’s oil base (which unless you were wearing the makeup yourself you wouldn’t know) using something like Dawn soap to pre-treat the area.



How to Get Odors Out of BJJ Gear

smelly laundry with odor coming off it

 After a while with the constant sweat that goes into your jiu-jitsu gear, it might start to stink after a while. Even if you wash it constantly.  I have fallen victim to an odor filled gi and it’s so sad to have to toss a gi when you could have taken steps to prevent the funk. Here are a couple of ways to get the stink out of your gear and prevent odors in the first place.


1.     Wash your gear as soon as you get home, if possible.

We’re all guilty of being too tired to wash your gear as soon as you get home from training. Sometimes if you let the sweat sit in your BJJ clothes, then it will be hard to get the stench out. So, wash your gear as soon as possible. I know that some people might not have the luxury of having a washer and dryer at home but if you can, take your gear out of your training bag at least or take it one step further and at least soak, ring out, and hang dry your gear before you go wash it (I know that it’s hard to ring out a gi but these steps will help your gi last longer).


2.     Use an odor eliminating detergent.

Odor eliminating detergent will be your best friend, especially if you train a lot and want your gear to last longer. There are different kinds depending on your preference: There are natural ones like theselaundry detergent sheets and Rockin’ Green Laundry Detergent or your normal detergent that fights odors such as Persil, Arm and Hammer Odor Blasters, or Gain Odor Defense.  There are many kinds of laundry detergent out there, but I’ve personally used Gain and Arm and Hammer and gotten the odor out of my clothes successfully.


3.     Use baking soda and vinegar.

Baking soda and vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar together is the dream team when it comes to eliminating odors in your clothes. Not only does it bring you back to that cool volcano science experiment from back in the day but it’s all natural and cost effective. I usually just put like a splash of vinegar and a half laundry detergent cup of baking soda in the wash (sorry I don’t have exact measurements, but you really don’t need that much. It depends on the amount of gear you have).  With that, I include my regular detergent and often (by my mom’s suggestion) I also soak my gear before washing it with the baking soda, vinegar, and laundry detergent mixture.


4.     Soak your gear before washing it.

As mentioned before, soaking out all the sweat and smells does help with eliminating odors and getting rid of germs. Especially with that baking soda and vinegar mixture. Pre-soaking also helps with removing stains from your gear, especially blood stains. You don’t have to soak your jiu-jitsu gear for too long; no more than 20 minutes should suffice.


5.     Sun-dry your BJJ gear.

clothes hanging on a clothes line outside in the sun

Use the power of the sun to help dry your clothes. Not only does it help save you on energy costs, but the direct sunlight does help kill a lot of germs after you wash your stuff.  I do hang dry a lot of my jiu-jitsu gear but when the summer months hit or if I travel to somewhere hot like Panama, I always make sure I hang my stuff outside in the sun.  Fair warning though, sun drying your gis will make them a bit hard especially if you don’t use clothes softener. This could be a good or a bad thing; bad if you don’t like a scratchy gi when you train or good if you need to cross face an opponent that is being particularly difficult.



Take Care of Your Jiu-Jitsu Gear for Happy BJJ Training Time

Americana lock. BJJ submission

  Clean jiu-jitsu gear might not be part of the technical aspects of jiu-jitsu, but clean gear means better hygiene around the gym, people not avoiding you when training, and your gear lasting longer which means that you’re saving money.  


What tips do you have when it comes to caring for and washing your jiu-jitsu gear? Tell me in the comments or on my Instagram @blackgirlwhitegi_bjj



Kia Dunn
Kia Dunn
Feb 22

I use oxiclean odor blasters. I soak all the No Gi stuff in it for about an hour before washing. I also use arm and hammer laundry detergent. I’m not able to wash the gi’s immediately but where they are stored when dirty, I immediately sprinkle them with baking soda because I know they are going to sit until Sunday.

I absolutely agree, wash the gear separate from regular clothes.

Jess D
Jess D
Feb 22
Replying to

Oooo that's a smart idea with the sprinkling BJJ stuff with baking soda. And an hour of soaking? I would forget lol. Also thanks for your comment and your tips! ❤️

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