Jiu-jitsu: Stinky Gi? Try These Tips

We all train hard, and sweat, and toil. Some of us have a harder time removing stink from our training apparel than others. It goes without saying that athletic wear just stinks. It’s true!! Not only do you have your own smell, but rolling around with other people you’re bound to have a little ( or lot) of their ummmm sweat on your apparel as well. There simply is no getting around it. If you’re squeamish about such things then jiu-jitsu or wrestling or grappling or a lot of varieties of martial arts just aren’t for you. In talking with people who train, the topic of discussion which had us in both stitches and ire was the stinky Gi! I’m sharing what I’ve learned or have already been practicing with you in hopes that we can conquer the stinky Gi together!!!
* Do not leave your Gi laying in a pile. If you can’t wash it right away, hanging it or spreading it out will help air it.
* An unwashed Gi is a dangerous Gi. It breeds stench, germs, potential staph ringworm etc!!!
* No,it’s not ok to wear it a few times and then wash it. We understand that you may train a few times a day. Be a responsible teammate and WASH. YOUR. GI.
* Stuffing several Gis into a washer will not help your cause. Gis are thick. Depending on the size, 2 is the max. Honest. Unless you have an industrial washer or go to the laundromat and use the huge washers.
* A washed Gi can still stink. This doesn’t mean a person isn’t clean. If you’re finding this is the case, add 1/2c vinegar & 1/4c baking soda to your wash.
* Bleach kills. Bleach is our friend. They make color safe bleaches. I’d rather a faded Gi than staph.
* They make laundry soap specifically for athletes. When I was running marathons I found it to be a godsend (runner’s clothes absolutely stink). They work phenomenally on gis and nogi clothing. Here’s an article in Runner’s World which list a few. I’ve tried them and they’re awesome. The only thing is I use hot water. I’m more worried about cleanliness than material function.
* Gis can be expensive. You don’t need an expensive Gi to learn jiu-jitsu. Having more than one will help with the laundry issue. Keep your eye on places such as BJJHQ or talk to your professor about where to order additional Gis for training. The Gi doesn’t make the practitioner, the practitioner makes the Gi 😉


Really, the biggest issue surrounding a clean Gi is preventing the spreading of things like ring worm, staph, etc. no one cares if you have the latest Shoyoroll or if your Gi is one of a kind or something. Your teammates respect your training, your hard work and dedication (and clean training apparel).

Andrea Harris trains Brazilian jiu-jitsu in the MA area. Currently a blue belt her focus is on competing this year. You can visit her fan page

Richard Photography


  1. Machine washing an article of clothing daily is not sustainable economically or environmentally. The water use alone is a problem, detergents and the packaging for the detergents.

    There needs to be an alternative besides “launder in hot water and bleach after every practice.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here