You know how it goes, you get a new rashguard/Gi/[Insert BJJ gear item here] and you are in love! It is new and special, the fit is so nice, and it smells so clean! You can’t wait to test it out on the mat and the first week you wear it nearly everyday you train (of course washing it in between). Eventually, it starts to join your normal rotation and before long you start to notice that your new, fresh, clean-smelling piece of gear has taken-on that familiar funky smell.
But don’t fret! There are ways to protect your awesome new gear from the jiu jitsu stank. And bring your old gear back to neutral!
Here are 3 tips to kick that BJJ funk:
1. Immediately hang-dry your clothes
Keeping your gear smelling fresh starts the minute you leave the mat. When you fold up your hot, sweaty gear in your bag you are creating the perfect environment for odor-causing bacteria to grow. It is a necessary evil to get your gear from the gym to your home, but try to keep it there for as little time as possible.
That doesn’t mean just removing it from your bag and dropping it into your laundry basket either! The best thing you can do is to dry out your gear; even if you aren’t planning on doing your laundry immediately. If you take the moisture out of the garment it will make it much harder for bacteria to grow and that means less smell! So find a place to hang them (in a closet or outside works great because they do smell) and collect them when you are ready to wash!
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2. Add ¼ c of vinegar to every load
I have heard a lot of different suggestions for how to wash your gear, but this is the one consistent step that has made the biggest difference for me. Every time I wash my gear I throw a ¼ cup of apple cider or white vinegar in with my normal detergent.
I switch up detergents I use, but I typically use something without dyes or fragrances so I add a few drops of lavender, tea-tree or peppermint essential oils. All three of these oils have antibacterial properties, so I am boosting my laundry with some extra jiu-jitsu-funk-fighting power but I really just add them for the scent.
3. Vinegar soak your gear every 2-3 months
How often you want to do this is really at your discretion but for me every 2 months seems to work well. Vinegar soaks really kick the smell out of your gear, but it isn’t something that you need to do super often to see the effects. You can if you want to it just takes some time and quite a bit of vinegar.
Here’s how it’s done:
Put all of your gear in a bucket (pro tip: in your bathtub) and fill it with 2-3 cups of white vinegar, fill the rest of the basin with warm water until all of your gear is covered. Leave it for 4 hours and then wash as you normally would.
I hope these tips help you keep your gear smelling fresh and clean for longer. The foundation for preventing really funky gear (and mat bugs) is good personal hygiene and training with CLEAN GEAR every time you train. It is inevitable that your gear will start to smell at some point, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use or restore it!
If you have your own tips for gear care that we missed, we would love to know! Comment below!