Karate Uniform Care: Washing Tips
The incredible shrinking Gi
Most Karate uniforms will shrink considerably when washed in hot water, especially those made from all cotton. Although the initial shrinking during the first wash/dry cycle is by far the greatest, it is in general recommended to wash your uniform in cold water as this greatly reduces the shrinking. Care must also be taken during the drying step. Tumble drying can cause uniforms to shrink to a point where it will no longer fit.
Bleaching of the Gi for the perfect white
Be careful with the use of any type of bleach when washing your uniform. Over time, bleaching can severely weaken the uniform material, causing it to rip easily. Repeated bleaching may even cause small holes to appear in your uniform. Bleaching will also adversely affect the usually colorful badge that indicates your style and dojo.
Tip: Use removable velcro-badges
If you do require to bleach your uniform from time to time, you should consider to use Velcro to attach any badges you have on your uniform. That way you can simply remove the badge when washing or bleaching your Gi and keep the badges looking brand new. When visiting or training at a school of a different style to your own, it is proper etiquette to remove any of your style’s badges. Velcro badges and patches come handy in this situation too!
Ironing of the Gi
Most cotton and canvas uniforms, when washed in a washing machine on the drip-dry cycle, can be hung on the line without spin drying. This may in fact make ironing unnecessary. Just flatten the wet Gi with your hands once it’s on the clothes line to remove the largest folds and wrinkles and it will look very smooth when dry. If you still prefer to iron, it will iron much easier when it is still slightly wet.