6 Hot Tips to Taking Care of your Karate Gi
The following are a few great tips to help your gi maintain maximum quality and longevity.
Remember, this only applies to your gi and NOT your belt!
Here at Full Circle Dojang, we don’t wash our belts because it takes off all of the hard work!
- Never Eat In Your Gi
A good rule of thumb is to NOT eat in your gi. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t even drink anything but water in it!
The main reason we say this is because things happen. No one ever says hey, today I want to wear a slice of pizza on my white pants, or I think this hot chocolate would look amazing on my gi! Even when we are being careful, accidents happen, and the best way to avoid an accident is just to avoid eating in your gi!
- Wash After Each Use
If you train like you’re supposed to (meaning you’re dripping with sweat), you should ideally wash your gi after every class.
It’s not only a hygiene thing, but it’s to make your gi last longer! Washing it gets the bacteria out of the cotton and prevents your gi from smelling and the material rotting.
A Karate gi should ideally never be worn two sessions in a row without having been washed – unless you haven’t been sweating.
If it isn’t possible to wash between sessions, having a second gi would be ideal. If you are interested in purchasing a second gi, you can always come to the office to ask.
- Wash Pronto
You should never allow your Karate gi to stand before being washed.
As a parent, we understand that this may not always be possible, but if at all possible, when you return home, we suggest having your gi go straight to the washing machine on a cold water setting. Yes, I said a cold water setting! While many like to wash on hot, washing on cold minimizes shrinkage, and damage to the material. Aside from that, washing your gi immediately ensures that it will be ready for the next class, and that smells, bacteria, stains, and germs won’t get baked in.
- Don’t Use Bleach
Did I just say DON’T USE BLEACH???
It is true that using bleach on your uniform will get it clean and white, but bleach is a strong base and can cause damage to the material in the long run, eventually causing the stitching to come apart. It will also ruin the sewn on patches and the logo on the back of your gi.
If you ever have a stubborn stain that you truly are worried about, you can always spot clean the spot or try a little dawn dish detergent soak. Dawn does wonders.
While we’re on the subject of what NOT to use, fabric softener should also be avoided!
But why you ask? Fabric softener is actually like a wax on material, so it block the pores of the cotton material, and ends up locking in dirt and sweat! Yuck!
My BEST advice is try to avoid using softener and/or bleach altogether.
- Avoid The Dryer and Hang Dry ASAP
This is a good rule of thumb for most garments of clothing, but best for your karate gi. Hang drying is the BEST way to keep your gi lasting the longest.
Running your gi through a dryer shrinks and also damages it, making it more likely to ruin the fibers and more likely to rip.
So once the wash cycle is completed, promptly remove your gi from the machine and hang it to dry.
Hanging immediately ensures that your gi doesn’t get wrinkly.
We understand that sometime you might be in a jam and you really must use a dryer. If that is the case, set it to the most delicate setting, and try not to leave it in there for longer than 10-15 minutes.
- Fold When Dry
When your gi has finished drying, it’s usually still a little wrinkly, but that’s ok.
There is no need to iron your gi unless you are about to wear it to a tournament or testing.
In my experience, once you get to moving, most wrinkles will disappear by themselves as soon as you start training, due to body heat. So get to moving!
We hope these 6 steps have maybe helped you or answered some questions about how to best take care of your karate gi.