Don’t Be The Stinky Gi Guy: 10 Handy Tips To Keep Your Gear Smelling Fresh

stinky gi

If you didn’t already know, you should wash your gi every time you wear it.  If you don’t, you’re a terrible person and I hope you suffer all the bad things life has to offer.  That said, there are some handy details I’ve collected to keep your gear clean and fresh, details that can overcome most if not all foul odors.

Full disclaimer: I use all of these methods, and stand behind their efficacy, but as with anything, try at your own risk.

  1. Vinegar.  A cupful of white vinegar in every load of BJJ gear keeps my gear smelling fresh.  The vinegar’s acidity kills a lot of odor causing bacteria.  I also think that it might help keep the washing machine mildew free.
  2. Wash On Hot.  This one goes back to my disclaimer, if your gi happens to fit particularly snug and you’ve never washed it on hot before, washing it on hot may shrink it enough to ruin the gi.  Also washing on hot will very likely wear out the fabric quicker.  Bearing this in mind, remember that when you wash something with hot water, a lot of germs that may be on that item will be killed simply by the heat.
  3. Tea Tree Oil.  There are very few things for which tea tree oil doesn’t serve some sort of purpose.  The strong smelling oil can be used to remove the worst, funkiest odors.  What you do is pour one or two drops, NO MORE, into cup of detergent you are about to use.  The item(s) will come out smelling of nothing but tea tree oil.  It’s actually pretty cool.
  4. Oxyclean.  White gis turn grey and brown pretty quickly if you’re not careful.  Anytime I wash white gis I wash them only with other white gis, and I use Oxyclean (or a similar product) to ensure that the gi stays bright white.
  5. Stain remover.  A lot of people assume that simply washing a blood stained gi will get the blood out.  Getting blood out of cloth is sometimes harder than you may think, and I’ve found that applying Shout or a similar product directly to any blood stains on my gear along with using Oxyclean will remove the stains quite nicely.
  6. Dryer.  Run the gi in the dryer on low for about 10 minutes after washing it. Use a dryer sheet.  Again this needs a disclaimer. It could wind up screwing up and shrinking your gi, and this will wear the gi out a bit faster. However, air drying your gi after washing it can allow some mildew to form, so running it in the dryer for a few minutes can help reduce that propensity.
  7. Sunlight.  This is a trick I learned from my leg lock coach, Sean Daugherty (look him up. He’s awesome.)  If an item is stinky, and you have access to sunlight, leave it in the sun for a few hours.  The UV rays will kill a lot of the odor causing bacteria.  If there’s no risk of rain, line dry your gis outdoors.  The sunlight will dry them quickly and leave them smelling fresh.
  8. Dehumidifier.  Back to line item #6, if you want to reduce the propensity for formation of mildew on your gi, hang drying them in a room with a dehumidifier. This will cause them to dry out way faster.
  9. Remove immediately.  When you wash your gi, you should do so at a time when you can remove and hang dry it immediately.  The longer the gi sits in the washer after being washed, the more likely it is to develop an odor.
  10. Don’t use too much detergent.  Believe it or not, using too much detergent can make a gi look and smell dirty even though it’s clean.  The suds that the detergent forms will cause a dull color on the gi’s surface.  Make sure you’re using enough but never too much.

These are a handful of tricks I’ve collected, is there anything you do with your gis to make sure you are keeping them funk free?


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