Caring for your Aikido gi and belt (obi)
Notice when washing
The Aikido Gi, compared to other clothing is thicker and harder to wash and consequently difficult to dry. It is best if you have 2-3 Aikido Gis to use on a rotational basis, but you may not have the luxury to do so if you are a student on a tight budget or you may not be sure if you want to invest that much since you have just started. If that is the case, we have a couple of solutions for you:
- If you wash colored material with white material, there is the risk that the color may fade onto the white material. This is the same with the black Obi.
- Never leave a Aikido Gi you used in the summer in its sweaty state. Make sure to wash it in that day or put it in the washer with water already filled. This will prevent mold from forming.
- I know it may be a waste of water but you need to rinse it thorougly. If you do not, you may get mold developing on your Gi from the left over washing detergent.
Are you using any random type of detergent for your Aikido Gi and Hakama?
Especially with black Obis and other colored Aikido Gi and Hakama, depending on the detergent you use, the color fades considerably. To prevent this from occurring, we would like to introduce some washing methods below.
Compared to liquid detergents, powdered detergents are cheaper. However, depending on what brand you use, it may even alter the color of your Aikido Gi. In addition, if you wash your Aikido Gi with other colored material, there is the chance that the color may bleed from the other material onto your Aikido Gi or visa versa. Hence, it is best to use this type of detergent with white Gis.
If you consider the amount of detergent you use per wash, it is relatively expensive. However, it is the best type of detergent to use when washing your Aikido Gi, Hakama and Obi as it saves them from losing their color quickly.
How to wash your Aikido Gi quickly and completely.
How to wash without using detergent
The Aikido Gi is thick so it is hard to rinse isn't it. However, if you are able to wash the Aikido Gi within the day you used it with water, it becomes pretty clean. This way, it doesn't take much time and you can prevent the color from fading.
You should dry your Obi rather than wash it.
If practice was not that intense, instead of washing your Obi, simply dry it with a hair dryer or in front of an air conditioner. If you can dry it completely, you can prevent the color from fading and also foul smell from developing.
When drying it, hang it like the letter "T"
When hanging up an Aikido Gi to dry, the most difficult part to dry is the arm pit and the collar region. So by stretching out the sleeves with a thick hanger and hanging the Aikido Gi like the letter "T", it allows for better air circulation to the arm pit and the collar region.
If you want to dry your Aikido Gi in a hurry, newspaper in the sleeves!
If you need to dry your Aikido Gi in a hurry, put rolled up newspaper in the sleeves of the washed Aikido Gi and go over the sleeves with a blow dryer. However, please be careful not to let the ink of the newspaper fade onto your Aikido Gi!
Obi maintenance and how to prevent the color from fading
In regards to the maintenance of your white Obi, it is pretty much the same as with the collar area of the Gi. As you know, the Obi is an important part of the attire so it is important to make sure you maintain it as well as your Aikido Gi.
White Obi maintenance
You may choose to use laundery detergent or not. Even if you don't use detergent, it can be washed fairly well. The biggest difference between an Aikido Gi and an Obi is the length of the material. Hence, if you simply put the Obi in the dryer, it will probably get tangled. It is best to put it in a laundry net to prevent it from getting damaged. When drying, it is best to put it in a well ventilated area. When you are storing the Obi, it is best not to fold or roll it too tight and put it in a location away from humidity.
Black/colored Obi maintenance
Theoretically speaking, it is best not to wash colored Obis to preserve its color and texture. However, this is not possible so when washing it is best to use liquid detergent or simply no detergent at all. Treatment after washing is the same as with the white Obi but it is best to avoid direct sunlight.
If you get color transferred to the Aikido Gi from your colored Obi you should...
Depending on the Obi, there are ones that fade more frequently and even transfer color to other garments even when it is dry. It is probably due to how it was manufactured. If you are using such an Obi, it is best to wash it until the color no longer fades or spray on a waterproof layer and dry, so to prevent the color from bleeding onto other material.