Karate is a very expressive art and the uniform acts as a symbol of your skills. How you present yourself when performing karate is important and your uniform plays a big part in this. You should keep your uniform bright and stain-free for the best look. Keeping your karate gi free from stains doesn’t need to be a difficult job.

When removing stains from a karate gi, you should always use cold water rather than hot water. You will need to soak your uniform before putting it in the wash. Heavy stains will need to be scrubbed and treated before cleaning with some extra detergent. Very stubborn stains may need a little extra help from non-harsh additives such as oxygen-based bleach.

In this article, we will take a look at some tips on how to keep your karate gi clean. We will go over the steps you will need to take to remove stains and we will provide you with some simple tips on cleaning to keep your karate kit looking bright and white as it should. We will also go over the best ways to store your karate uniform to keep it looking perfect.

How Do You Remove Stains From a Karate Uniform?

Karate practices are usually performed indoors, so it’s unusual for your uniform to become heavily soiled. However, you may get some bloodstains on your gi with heavy practice. If you do get bloodstains on your uniform, you must avoid washing it with hot water.

When it comes to blood stains, hot water will set the stain and make it almost impossible to remove. This is why you should always use cold water on a stained karate gi.

In order to keep your karate uniform white, it’s important to pre-soak it before cleaning. After each wear, fill a large bucket, sink, or bath with slightly warm water, not hot. Add in two tablespoons of some heavy-duty laundry detergent to help break apart stains. Add one cup of baking soda to the mix to help neutralize odors. You should then leave the uniform to soak for at least an hour. It’s even better to leave it soaking overnight.

If the pre-soak doesn’t remove the stain, then you should use a pre-treater on it or rub some extra detergent into the stain. Scrub the area and then put it in the wash. This pre-treatment should help to loosen the stain so that it disappears in the wash.

If the stain remains after it has been washed, you should submerge the uniform in some cold water overnight. Add some white vinegar to the water to help remove the stain. You will then need to re-wash the gi afterward.

What Is the Best Method for Cleaning a Karate Gi?

A karate uniform can be quite delicate, so you want to clean it in a way that doesn’t destroy it. After each training session, you should thoroughly clean your karate gi. Follow the steps below to clean your karate gi:

  1. Wash your karate uniform instantly after training. This helps to minimize odors as it prevents odorous germs from penetrating the cloth.
  2. You can also wash your belt as this can also cause smells. However, not every place would recommend washing the belt.
  3. Scrub stains with cold water before washing. If the stains persist after washing, leave the uniform to soak overnight in a bucket of cold water and some white vinegar before re-washing it.
  4. Avoid using regular bleach on your karate gi. This can weaken the fibers in the cloth and may separate colors from the fabric.
  5. Make sure your gi is inside-out before putting it in the wash. This can help preserve the color patches and can also preserve the quality of the material.
  6. Always aim to wash in colder temperatures on a gentle setting. Washing in hot water can damage and even shrink the fabric.
  7. Always wash the uniform on its own or with similar colors to avoid color mixing.

How Often Should I Wash My Karate Gi?

It is recommended that you wash your karate uniform after every single use. When you use your karate uniform, you tend to sweat in it and this can lead to smells and stains if it is not washed immediately.

Most karate students will train once or twice per week, so this means that you will need to wash your gi once or twice per week. If you sweat a lot during your classes (as most people will do), then you should aim to wash your gi that evening.

You should never wait until your gi starts to look dirty or starts to smell. Chances are, if you do this, it will start to smell to other people long before you start to notice it.

If you aren’t able to wash your gi after every use, you may want to wear a t-shirt or vest underneath it when you train. This can reduce the amount of sweat that accumulates on the gi fabric. Another option is to purchase an extra gi so that you can rotate them throughout the week. This way, you can wash your uniforms together at the weekend.

How Do I Whiten My Karate Uniform?

If your karate gi is starting to look a little yellowed, then you should mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach and cold water. Always be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when diluting the bleach. You will need to completely submerge the uniform in the solution and leave it for a minimum of eight hours. Leaving it overnight to soak is the best option.

Once the eight hours are up, check the color of the uniform and look for any stains. If the color looks brighter and the stains are gone, then you can wash the uniform as usual. If the problem is still there, then you should mix another solution and repeat the process.

In some cases, it may take several rounds of soaking to completely remove stains and restore the color of your gi. The best advice you can get is to remain patient in the process and don’t lose hope.

Tips on How to Keep a Karate Gi White

Above, we have gone over the steps that you will need to take to whiten your karate gi. However, there are some steps that you can take to prevent it from becoming off-white in the first place. After all, there’s nothing worse than watching your karate uniform slowly deteriorate in color.

Below is a list of tips on how to keep your karate gi white:

  • Pre-soak with vinegar
  • Use baking soda
  • Add lemon juice
  • Use hydrogen peroxide
  • Avoid chlorine-based bleach
  • Use oxygen-based bleach
  • Avoid fabric softener
  • Make use of the sun

Pre-Soak With Vinegar

One of the best secrets for keeping your gi looking white is the method of pre-soaking. You should always soak your karate uniform before washing it to keep it looking white. Adding a cup of white vinegar to the pre-soak can help to keep your uniform looking white and is also great for getting rid of smells. Although the scent of the vinegar may seem off-putting, don’t worry about this as this smell won’t linger in your gi.

Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is another amazing additive for your pre-wash that can help to keep your gi looking white without being too harsh on the fabric. Baking soda is cheap and easy so it’s a great option. You can also add baking soda to your laundry detergent when putting your pre-soaked uniform in the wash.

Add Lemon Juice

A great all-natural option for keeping your gi clean is lemon juice. You can add half a cup of lemon juice to either your pre-soak mixture or your detergent in the wash cycle. This can help to keep your gi clean and can also improve the scent.

Use Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide may sound quite harsh, but it’s actually not. This is the same substance that your dentist gives you to rinse your mouth out. You can find hydrogen peroxide at most regular drug stores or pharmacies. Add half a cup of the substance to your laundry and you’ll be astounded by the results.

Avoid Chlorine-Based Bleach

You should avoid mixing chemicals with your karate gi. Chlorine-based bleach is great for whitening, however, it is a very harsh chemical. If you use this on your karate uniform regularly, it will destroy the fibers and will decrease their lifespan.

Use Oxygen-Based Bleach

If you do need a little bit of extra help, but you don’t want to use chlorine-based bleach, it’s worth trying an oxygen-based bleach. This type of bleach is powerful at removing stains. However, you should always be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using it.

Avoid Fabric Softener

Fabric softeners can cause residue to stick to the fibers on your gi. This can then cause dirt to attach to the fibers and can reduce the whiteness of your gi. If you want to improve the smell of your gi, try adding a few drops of essential oils instead rather than using a fabric softener.

Make Use of the Sun

The sun is a natural lightener so this can be a great option for helping your karate uniform stay white. Similar to the way your hair lightens in the sun, your karate uniform can also lighten in the sun. With this in mind, you should make use of allowing your karate uniform to dry naturally in the sun during the summer months.

Ironing Tips for a Karate Gi

If you have a karate uniform that is made of 100% cotton, then you will find that it becomes quite heavily wrinkled after a wash. This means that you will need to iron your gi after each wash to keep it looking in perfect condition.

Follow the tips below when ironing your gi:

  • Select the appropriate temperature on your iron and ensure that it is on a cotton setting.
  • Always use an ironing board for the best results.
  • Start with the pants and iron the legs flat so that the creases are at each side of the leg rather than at the front.
  • Iron the jacket like a t-shirt and make sure the creases run down the outside of the sleeves.

How to Store a Karate Gi

If you want to keep your karate uniform in perfect condition, you need to know the best ways to store it when it’s not in use.

You should never store a damp or dirty karate gi. If you do, then stains are likely to set and your uniform may even be prone to mold or mildew.

To keep your karate gi in the best condition, you should hang it up or fold it after each wash and store it away from dirt in a dry area.

Karate Gi Repairs

Since karate is quite an active sport, your uniform may be prone to rips. If your karate gi does rip, this can be quite challenging to repair depending on how large the rip is.

If you just have a small hole in your uniform, this can usually be hand-stitched. This should be done along the edges on the inside of the material.

If it is a large rip or if the rip goes in more than one direction, then this is likely to be more difficult to fix. In these cases, you will most likely need to hire a tailor to complete the repair for you. If the damage is substantial, then you will most likely need to replace the uniform.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to removing stains from your karate gi. The best way to remove stains is to ensure you pre-soak the fabric before putting it in the wash and to give stubborn stains an extra scrub.

Keeping your karate uniform clean and white doesn’t have to be difficult. Just follow the tips in the article to keep your gi looking as good as new.