Caring for your dogi
How to take care of your dogi
If you purchase one of these high quality dogi then you can expect quality and durability. However, with proper care you can get many many years of service out of them.
Here are a few simple rules to follow in order to get maximum satisfaction from your dogi.
1. Wash your dogi regularly.
Regularly means ideally after every session or realistically after every two or three sessions max if you train daily.
This is not just for personal hygiene reasons or for the benefit of your co-trainers. By not allowing your dogi to become over-soiled, dirty or yellowed with dried in sweat, you will also be able to follow rules number 2, 3 and 4.
2. *Do not hot wash your dogi
On the label it says to "COLD WASH ONLY" the dogi. This may not be possible in western machines but use the lowest temperature setting. Not only does this minimize shrinkage but it also minimizes damage to the material. Go easy on the spin cycle. A slower spin is less likely to damage your dogi. If you follow rule number 1 and 4, then hot washing is not necessary.
3. Do not use Bleach
If you follow rule number 1, this should never be necessary. Even blood / soil and other stains can be removed without bleach if it is done right away, rather than allowing it to dry for a long period.
4. Use milder detergents without bleach
If you follow rule number 1 this is very feasible. For stained dogi (eg. blood), I recommend spot removing by hand with a small bit of detergent (note for blood use cold water not warm). For heavy soiling, soaking a few hours in a lukewarm detergent solution, then washing as usual is recommended.
5. Do not use fabric conditioner
Fabric conditioner not only blocks the pores in the cotton material thereby locking in dirt and sweat, it also contributes to damaging the fibers of the material. Avoid using it. Be a man (or woman) and rough it out! It's better for your dogi.
6. *Do not tumble dry
It clearly says on the label of every dogi "DO NOT USE COMMERCIAL DRYERS" yet people insist on using them all the time. Not only does this shrink the dogi (reducing usable lifespan), but it also damages it such that it gradually becomes stiffer and more likely to rip. Hang dry your dogi but not in direct sunlight!
If you really really must use a dryer, then use a big commercial dryer (not home washer /dryers combos) and set it to the most delicate setting and dry the dogi alone. Its much better to dry slowly at low temperatures that quickly at scorching temperatures. Home dryer temperatures tend not to be as controllable and dry over a very long period.
7. Wash your dogi separately
If this is possible then I highly recommend it. The more room in your machine, the cleaner it is likely to be. Also there is no chance of colour-run accidents or graying. This may be obvious to most, but never wash your dogi with your belt (unless you are a white belt of course)!
8. If you Iron, do so carefully
There are people who follow the "body iron" rule that during the warm up of a session, their body heat and sweat will self iron the dogi. However, most people prefer to iron despite it not being recommended by the manufacturer. Unfortunately because of the material of many dogi, high temperatures are needed. If possible minimize the temperature you need to use by stretching and flattening the material while it is wet, when you hang it to dry. Hot ironing a damp dogi will make it go yellow.
9. Love your dogi
Independent studies have shown that the more you love your dogi, the more you are likely to take care of it and the longer it is likely to last.
* The only time we would suggest hot washing and tumble drying is if the newly purchased dogi is too large. In this case a few cycles will help the dogi to fit with minimal damage compared to frequent hot wash/tumble drying.