How to Wash a Karate Gi? 8 Easy Steps

How to Wash a Karate Gi? 8 Easy Steps

A gi is a uniform for practicing Karate. It consists of a jacket and a pair of loose trouser. After a vigorous workout, a gi can retain dirt, sweat, odor, and oils. The uniform is a symbol of your skill. How you present yourself is crucial for your art. It’s not a lot to keep your karate uniform clean, bright, and stainless.

Wash your karate gi immediately after training or hang it and later soak it in cold water and use a suitable non-chlorine bleach detergent to keep it clean. Consider scrubbing it to remove stains out and whiten it too and then air dry it.

This prompts you that your gi needs to be kept clean, often washed, and its white color retained and maintained. So, are all these possible? Don’t hesitate because we have the answers and great tips for you. 

How Do You Clean a Karate Gi?

To clean your gi without destroying it, pre-treat any marks, wash it in cold water, and then let it dry in the air. These simple steps can help you on how to clean your Karate gi.

  1. Wash your gi instantly after training. It helps to minimize odors by controlling the time the gi cloth fibers absorb odoriferous germs from it.
  2. Always wash your belt. It should be straight forward. A filthy belt will soon stink bad and might cause your skin disease and your fellow trainees.
  3. Always scrub stains with running cold water before washing. If they persist after washing, try submerging the gi overnight in a bucket full of cold water with some white vinegar before re-washing it. 
  4. Avoid bleach. It can weaken the cloth fibers in a gi and separate colors from the fabric.
  5. Turn your gi inside out always before washing. It can help preserve the colors, patches, and the overall condition of your gi outside as it won’t rub against other clothes during the wash.
  6. Wash in cold water on a gentle setting. Washing in warm or hot temperatures can shrink your gi or damage the collar, so wash your gi using low temperature. Many manufacturers like Tatami recommend washing it at 30 – 40 degrees Celsius.
  7. Always wash your gi within clothes with similar colors to avoid color mixing if you have to clean it with others.
  8. Consider using an organic or mild detergent without a softener. Using these detergents will avoid the effects harsher detergents have on the gi fabric and help your gi last longer. Flow Kimonos, for example, recommends Rockin’ Green Soap’s Active Wear Detergent to wash its hemp gis.

How Often Should I Wash My Karate Gi?

It’s recommended to wash a Karate uniform whenever you sweat in it. Most students train a couple of times a week and clean their uniforms once per week. However, if you sweat a lot during class (as a good workout should be), then wash it after each day of class. Please don’t wait until it looks dirty or smells bad. It probably doesn’t smell right to others long before you notice it.

One option is to wear a t-shirt under the top, and this might allow you to wait a couple of classes before needing to wash it, but if it is dripping with sweat after class, then wash it at the end of the day. If possible, and if you often train with sweaty workouts, purchase two or more uniforms, then rotate them throughout the week, and wash all your uniforms on the weekend

To clean your gi without damaging it, pre-treat any stains, wash it in cold water and then let it air dry.

As you diligently care for your Karate Gi, you might also be asking yourself the question: how can I find the Top Karate Gi to meet my martial arts needs? The uniforms we wear significantly impact our performance in any martial art. Therefore, exploring our guide on the best Karate Gi could be just as crucial as understanding how to maintain them. It covers everything from the best brands to consider, the difference between a Kata uniform and a Kumite competition uniform, and key factors to consider when selecting a Gi.

How Do You Get Stains Out of Karate Gi?

Most martial arts are practiced indoors, so excessive soil is unusual, but there can be blood, which means cold water. Hot water will only set blood stains and make them nearly impossible to remove.

Pre-soaking is essential in getting your uniform clean and keeping it white. After each wearing, fill a large sink or bucket with warm, not hot, water. Add two tablespoons of heavy-duty laundry detergent (Tide and Persil are considered heavy-duty with enough enzymes to break apart stain and odor molecules). Add one cup of baking soda to neutralize odor; then soak the uniform for at least one hour. It is even better if it can soak overnight.

If the pre-soaking techniques don’t take care of the stains, inspect the uniform before you put it into the wash and treat any remaining stains with a pre-treater or rubbing in a bit of extra detergent.


It is essential to know if the water in your area is hard or soft. Hard water contains an excess of minerals that make detergents much less effective in removing soil. If you have hard water, your uniform will be harder to clean, and you will need to add some water conditioner to your pre-soak bucket. It is not a fabric softener; it is an additive that helps your detergent work better.

How Do I Get My Karate Gi White Again?

To whiten yellowed or dingy uniforms, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean, Clorox 2, and Country Save Bleach are brand names) and cold water. Follow the package directions as to how much product per gallon of water. Completely submerge the uniform and allow it to soak for at least eight hours.

Check for any stains and the color of the fabric. If the stains are gone, and the color looks whiter and brighter, wash as usual. If the problem remains, mix a new solution and repeat. It may take several soakings to remove the stains and restore whiteness, but it should happen. Be patient.

How Do I Keep My Karate Gi White?

Nothing is worse than seeing the white of your gi turning to grey slowly. Or have it gone all at once. Either way, if you were wondering if there’s a way to prevent this from happening – the answer is yes. We have carefully selected the best tips and tricks for you to maintain a crispy white gi. And don’t worry if you think your gi is too far gone: these tips also work for getting it back on track

1. Pre-soak with vinegar

One of the secrets to maintaining a white gi is not the wash itself. It’s the pre-soak. Go ahead and soak your gi in a tub of warm water. Add to this a cup of traditional white vinegar (you can find this at the supermarket) and let it sit for a few hours or overnight.

Vinegar also does a great job of removing nasty smells from your gear, so feel free to add your rash guard, spats, and sports underwear to the pre-soak as you go. Don’t worry about the scent of vinegar – this won’t linger in your gi.

2. Baking soda is your best friend

Baking soda is another star at locking in the white of your fabric without being too harsh of a substance. Another plus: it is cheap. That being said, put your pre-soaked gi in the laundry machine. Add a few spoons of baking soda to your laundry detergent, and you’re done.

3. Lemony fresh

Another easy and all-natural option: lemon juice. You can add 1/2 cup of lemon juice to either the overnight-soak or the actual wash cycle.

4. Give hydrogen peroxide ago

Don’t get too scared by the name. Your dentist gives you the same goody to rinse your mouth. Raid the medicine cabinet for hydrogen peroxide, or find it at your local pharmacy or drugstore. Add 1/2 cup to your laundry and be amazed by the results.

5. Say no to chlorine-based bleach

Talking about chemicals, you should stay away from it. Chlorine-based bleach might do a great job of whitening, but it’s a harsh chemical. Using it regularly will destroy the fibers of your gi and most likely will decrease its lifespan.

6. Bring in the big guns

In case you still need a little extra help, but don’t want to use chlorine-based bleach, try an oxygen-based bleach. These are often sold as stain-removers, but their powers extend to bleaching your entire laundry as well. For the full effect, make sure to follow the instructions on the package.

7. Ditch the fabric softener

Perhaps you didn’t know, but fabric softener is doing your gi more harm than good. In the washing process, fabric softener causes a residue to stick onto the fibers, causing dirt to attach. It can make your gi less white. If you still want to have your gi smelling fresh, try adding a few drops of essential oils for that extra touch.

8. Face the sun

Ever notice your hair being lighter in summer? That’s right, and the sun does that for you! Hang up your washed gi in the sun and watch the subtle bleach effect. Note: your colored gi might lose its color, so let that one dry inside.

Have a go and try it out for yourself.

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has been training in the art of kickboxing for over seven years, holds a Taekwondo black belt, and has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. He's a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster.
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Vladimir Vladisavljevic

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He has been training in kickboxing for over seven years and holds a Taekwondo black belt. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. Vladimir is a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster. He was known as The Bulgarian Cowboy in the Western world. In addition, he has a YouTube channel where he talks about his love of esports, one of the fastest-growing fields in the world. Our testing and reviewing method.
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