We have all been there… rolling with your training partner and something smells foul. You start thinking “What is that odor coming from?”, “Man my training partner gear really stinks!” or even worse “Does MY gi/rash guard/gear stink?”.
Train long enough and you will having to deal with Stinky Gi guy or worse you might even be that guy. Don’t be. We will lay out the best laundry hacks to get your BJJ Gi, Rash Guard, Shorts and Spats smelling fresh!
If I Wash My Workout Gear – Why Does it Still Stink?
Well that great question! The answer is that apparently bacteria specifically the micrococci, odor causing bacteria, love the polyester blended fabrics associated with training gear. Even after washing and drying your clothes these bacteria persist. Often time these garment will smell fresh out of the laundry but when mixed with your sweat (like when you are at the gym) the odor becomes worse!
Synthetics Fabrics Versus Cotton Fabric Care
With synthetics (Polyester Blended Fabrics) the funk issue is huge issue. We are talking about rash guards, spats or leggings, shorts and undergarments. Special care should be made when dealing with these fabrics. One thing to note if you will extend the life of your rash guards, shorts and spats if you hang dry after washing as opposed to dry in the dryer.
One common grain wisdom with synthetic fabrics is not to wash with fabric softener. The fabric softener actually locks in the ‘stink’ and make it tougher to get out. Also you will extend the life of your synthetic fabric gear (rash guards, spats & shorts) by hang drying.
If you short on space or do not have laundry line in your backyard you can always use foldable hanging dry rack in your aparthome or home.
With Cotton fabrics it seems to resist the smelly bacteria a little more. However does not mean cotton is immune to the funk. With cotton air drying and sun baking is useful if you can not wash right away.
What NOT to do with your BJJ Gear
- leave your sweaty gear laying around in trunk or laundry basket
- not air drying or sun drying your gear right away if you can’t wash it
- not washing your gear before wearing it to class again GROSS!
- not soaking once a week in OxyClean, Baking Soda or other Deep Cleaning Solution
- not replacing your old worn out gear every 6 – 12 months
- not washing your belt
Also let’s talk about the myth about not washing your belt. The myth born straight from Brazil was if you washed your gi belt you would wash away all your experience… This obviously not true so wash that belt too!
However both Synthetic and Cotton fabric base gear (Gi Jackets , Pants, & Kimonos) can benefit with the soak method of ridding the funk.
How to keep your gear from getting stank if you can’t wash it right away
– Air Dry & Sun Dry
Air dry and sun dry – expose your stinky gear to sunlight and air. UV rays are a powerful natural funk killer. Especially if you live where it is hot and or dry this is killer technique to keep the funk away.
– Soak Method
After class you trained hard and your gear is soaked with sweat. If you not able to throw your gear in the wash (or you don’t have a washer dryer at your place) you can do the following to keep you gi and rash guards from getting rank from stench. In fact do this once a week even if you do wash your workout clothes right away.
Get a 5 gallon bucket and soak your gear with the following detergents overnight (or at least 3-4 hours) in hot water. Luke warm if you are worried about your Gi shrinking.
- Oxiclean Stain Remover – You can pick this up at any grocery store, costco or sam’s club. 1 scoop in a 5 gallon bucket with hot water will get the funk out. Soak overnight for the best results and then wash & dry or hang dry for the best results
- OdoBan Odor Eliminator and Disinfectant – you can pick this up at most major hardware stores. Follow the same procedures as above
- Rockin’ Green Platinum Series ActiveWear Laundry Detergent
- Win Sports Detergent
- Defunkify Active Wash Laundry Detergent
- Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (can work but not quite as well as the above solutions)
After soaking your gear, drain in a bathtub. Wash immediately or hang dry and then wash next time you have access to a washer and dryer.
Now if you don’t have 5 gallon bucket you can always use your bathtub. The bucket is easier but your bathtub can do in a pinch.
Vinegar Soak YMMV – Your mileage may vary
I have done the Vinegar Soak before. My result were really terrible. Imagine smelling like funk and vinegar – my training partners hated me that day!
However a LOT of people swear by this approach so I will post it here. However try on an old rashguard or gi first. Some people say that synthetic materials is where vinegar works best.
How to use in the wash:
- use white vinegar
- use in the fabric softener dispenser
- A few ounces to half a cup into every single load, full cup for larger loads.
Don’t be the Stinky Dude or Dudette at the Gym – Summary
So in summary – bacteria love your workout clothes and especially BJJ gear. Even if you wash you stuff it could still stink when you sweat again. If you are pressed for time and can’t wash your bjj gear right away start by air and sun drying your clothes. Another “hack” is to soak your gi or workout gear in a 5 gallon bucket with your choice of funk killer. Also try the vinegar method – but try on some older workout gear first.