Ever wondered what the best way to care for your new GI is? Most newcomers to the sport will think you can just wash and dry it like the rest of your clothes. Wrong! Doing so could be a costly mistake and wreck your GI in more ways than one.
Below we will outline the best way to care for your GI that will help preserve its colour, size and condition.
You should always wash your GI straight away after class. Leaving it in a gym bag even if it is just overnight can lead to the GI discolouring, smelling and also harbouring germs. If left like this, it can spread mat born diseases like ring worm and Staph that can wreak havoc at your gym. Don’t be that stinky germ spreading guy. It’s not nice for your instructor or fellow students.
You should always wash your GI inside out on a cold or 30/40-degree wash. This will minimise the shrinkage and colour fading.
Washing it on a higher heat setting can result in excessive shrinkage, colour fading and warp the lapel. Our lapels have an EVA rubber core which gives it strength and helps it to keep its shape. Applying too much heat to this can ruin it.
It is best to wash it with a non-biological detergent as this has far less chemicals and will be better for your it in the long run. Using a fabric conditioner is optional but it can help to keep your GI jacket soft. I personally like to wash mine with softener. I don’t like training in a GI so stiff that it could stand up on its own!
Let us start by saying that you should only put your GI in a tumble dryer as the very last resort, like if you need to shrink it if it is miles too big for you. Please see below for more information on shrinking.
You should let your GI dry naturally by hang drying it on an airer or coat hanger away from all direct heat sources like a radiator. Any excessive heat can fade the colour, damage and/or weaken the stress points, warp your lapel and melt certain types of patches. Even though you want to keep it away from direct heat sources it is ok to dry outside on a clothes line on a hot day.
Make sure that when drying your GI it is fully opened out and is free to have air pass around it on all sides. So, no bunched up sleeves or letting it dry on a flat surface. This can cause it to dry unevenly and make the GI smell damp as it cannot dry quick enough.
If you are one of those guys that like to iron your GI before class then please do, but do it on a low iron heat setting and with the GI inside out. Certain types of patches will melt or stick to a hot iron so it is best to avoid them coming in to contact with the iron. Please note this also includes the branded woven tape that is sometimes inside the Lapel and/or inside the sleeve or trouser cuffs.
We need to point out that all GIs will shrink a little after the first wash but depending on the material the GI is made from and how you wash and dry your GI will determine how much it shrinks.
With regards to shrinking your GI it is always best to check with the manufacturer before starting the process because all GIs will shrink differently. This can be for many reasons but the most common one would be because of the different weave materials that they are made from. Some will shrink loads on a standard wash whereas some other materials will not even shrink an inch when washed on a high heat. As a rule of thumb, single and gold weaves will shrink easier/more than say a pearl or carioca weave. This is due to the looseness or tightness of the said weaves.
These are our top tips for shrinking your GI:
1. Try your GI on. How well does it fit? If it is nearly right, then wash on a cold or 30/40 degree wash and hang dry. Try the GI on again. If it is still not right, then repeat the process.
2. If after this your GI still doesn’t fit then wash it on a 50-degree wash, hang dry and try on again.
3. As a very last resort you can try to shrink it further by putting it in a tumble dryer. Put it on the cool setting if your dryer has one and then check the GI every 5 minutes in case it shrinks more than you expected it to.
Please note that putting your GI in a tumble dryer is done at your own risk. We cannot be held responsible for any damage or excess shrinkage caused by putting it in the dryer.
Colour setting your GI
Some people recommend that you treat your GI with Vinegar or bicarbonate of soda before washing to lock in the colour. That is not necessary with our GIs as they have been pre-treated after dying process at the factory.
If you are in any doubt about how to care for your GI or anything we have covered above, you should contact us first and we will be happy to assist you. You can contact us via our contact page or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.