How to Clean a Smelly BJJ Gi

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If you’ve been practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for long enough, you’ll definitely encounter someone who’s gi absolutely stinks, it may be someone in your BJJ class or a lot of the time it may be you.

BJJ gi’s go through a lot of wear and tear, they are regularly soaked with sweat (both yours and your training partners) and many times are not washed properly. So if you don’t want to be known as “Smelly” in the BJJ class, this article is for you.

How to Wash a BJJ Gi

A few simple rules of thumb when washing your gi are to not wash too many gi’s together at once (preferably one at a time) and to use 1 scoop of a good quality washing detergent on a gentle washing cycle.

Common Stinky BJJ Gi Area
Common Stinky BJJ Gi Area

Try to avoid using fabric softener as this can sometimes create a waxy substance layer on the surface of the gi that may trap in bacteria and thus eventually lead to a smelly gi. Last but not least is to try to wash the gi inside out once every few washes as to have the surfaces that are most exposed to your body more exposed to the detergent and wash.

How to Dry a BJJ Gi

Once the washing cycle is finished, take the gi out as quickly as you can to avoid the gi sitting in the machine and collecting potential bacteria and hang it out to dry. When drying your gi after a wash, it is generally better to air dry the gi. If you can, try to dry in natural sunlight as this will aid in killing bacteria.

How to Get a Bad Stench Out of a Gi

As time goes by, most BJJ gi’s will eventually develop a bad stench due to the nature of the sport of BJJ and the fact that a gi is an excellent environment for bacteria to grow.

If washing your gi with detergent does not get the bad smell out of your gi, then it’s time to take things to the next level, here are several tips that can help you get a bad smell out of a gi.

Smelly Gi Defcon 5

The first stage of attacking a smelly BJJ Kimono is to use Downy Unstoppable Beads when washing your gi in the washing machine. Downy Unstoppable beads are extremely effective at getting smells out of clothes as well as will leave your gi smelling great.

Smelly Gi Defcon 4

When you leave your gi after use in your bag for a while (even perhaps forgetting it in your bag for a while) you will need something stronger. A great product that can help in this case is “Win High Performance Sports Detergent” which is amazing and can really get bad smells out of sports clothing. A great tip when buying Win High Performance Sports Detergent is to buy the Green version named Free & Clear which is dye free, fragrance free and allergen free thus being easier on the skin and less likely to cause skin agitation.

Smelly Gi Defcon 3

If you need something stronger than Defcon 4 then OdoBan is definitely the product you want to check out. It is really strong and effective at removing smells, it’s also a disinfectant and air freshener and best thing is you don;t need to use a lot of it. You can either use it by placing a little in your laundry machine while washing your gi or you can pre-soak your gi in OdoBan prior to washing the gi.

If you want to use OdoBan in the washing machine, simply place it in the bleach tray of the washing machine and do not add more than ½ a cup. By placing the OdoBan in the bleach tray, it will be released at the correct time during the wash cycle and thus be much more effective at removing that funk smell out of your gi. In the case that you do not have a bleach tray, no problem, simply add no more than ½ a cup of OdoBan in the washing machine mid cycle.

Another tip is to use an additional rinse cycle afterwards just as to make sure all the OdoBan has been removed from the gi.

Smelly Gi Defcon 2

If you still have a serious issue with Gi stink, you can soak your gi in white distilled vinegar, it’s super cheap and a great way to get the stink out of your gi. 

You need to soak your gi in a solution of vinegar and water for several hours (minimum 5 hours, although 8+ hours is recommended) prior to throwing the gi into the washing machine. The Vinegar to water soaking solution ratio should be 25% vinegar and 75% water. Once the gi has been ridden of a bad smell, do this every 6 months you own the gi unless the smell returns.

Smelly Gi Defcon 1

This is the ultimate weapon against Thanos level gi funkination, a level of funk that could lead to a divorce, a level of stink that can submit and a level of stink that penetrates the lungs like strong smelling salts. 

Jokes aside, another solid  trick to take out bad stench from a bjj gi is to place 1.5 cups of distilled white vinegar on the stinky part of your gi, then when placing the gi in the washing machine, add 1 cup of baking soda and a little bit of detergent (about a quarter the amount you would normally use), then simply wash. This should be done every 6 months.

Why Do BJJ Gi’s Stink

Think of a BJJ gi as a sponge. When you roll with your training partner, both of you sweat and there is a lot of heat produced during a BJJ training session. Add the fact that most people throw their gi into their enclosed gym bag when going home and this creates a perfect environment for a stinky bacteria laden gi to develop.

BJJ Gi Collar
BJJ Gi Collar

Usually Gi’s will stink in the collar, crotch and armpit region. The collar due to the fact that most collar’s have a type of foam or more material in them that can trap unwanted bacteria.

The armpits and crotch of course due to the fact that the armpit and crotch area are full of bacteria and the regions of the gi associated with armpits and the crotch are a natural crease which traps bacteria and is harder to wash properly in a washing machine.

Other Tips to Avoid Bad Gi Stench

It may seem trivial but you would be surprised at how many people simply do not keep proper body hygiene. Always make sure you clean yourself prior to going to a BJJ class, this means being properly showered and washed with soap and shampoo. Doing so will make it much harder for your gi to acquire bodily smells due to the fact that you are already clean.

Another easy to use tip is ff you train Brazilian Jiu-jitsu multiple times a week or even multiple times a day, you simply will have to use more than 1 gi and if not, you will certainly develop a stink gi very fast as you won’t have time to properly wash and dry the gi on a regular basis. Simply make sure you have a few gi’s and this issue is solved.

In Conclusion

No one wants to be the stinky training partner but everyone will eventually develop some type of gi stench, in fact all grappling sports that involve a gi including Judo, Sambo, Chidaoba and BJJ go through this. It’s part of being a jiujiteiro and with the tips provided in this article, you now have the weapons to properly deal with a smelly gi. 

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