There's nothing more frustrating than spending your well-earned cash on the ideal BJJ gi, only to end up ruining it with one mishap in the washing machine!

We've all been there. But what if I told you that you could control this 'unpredictable' behavior of your BJJ gis? It's not magic, but science.

In this post, we'll go into just how much do BJJ gis(even those labeled as "pre-shrunk") shrink and why. We'll take on fabric types head-on and their reactions under various conditions - like going into battle with knowledge as our armor.

Understanding BJJ Gi Shrinkage

If you've been involved in the jiu jitsu scene for a while, chances are you have experienced the unfortunate shrinking of a gi. Sometimes it may be due to neglecting your diet (we all know that person haha), but more often than not, it's because we failed to follow proper care instructions for our gi.

The Science Behind Gi Shrinkage

All fabrics react differently to various conditions, and it's this reaction that causes your beloved BJJ gi to shrink. Take cotton gis for instance, which make up the majority of the gis on the market - they tend to shrink more than those made from a blend of cotton and polyester. And here's why:

Cotton fibers are spiral-shaped by nature but straighten out when stretched during manufacturing. When exposed to heat (like in a dryer), these fibers revert back to their original shape leading them to 'shrink' or rather contract.

Many BJJ brands claim that their gis are "pre-shrunk," but the truth is, even if a gi is labeled as pre-shrunk, it can still shrink to some extent when exposed to high heat.

The Impact of Washing and Drying Techniques on Gi Shrinkage

BJJ Gi Washing and Drying

You might be surprised how washing temperatures can affect gi shrinkage. For example, using hot water versus cold water makes quite a difference. Hot water has more energy than cold water causing higher fiber agitation which leads to greater contraction hence increased shrinking.

Then comes drying - another critical factor influencing gi shrinkage. Extreme temperatures caused by high heat settings in dryers result in substantial contraction of the fibers too.

In fact, washing and drying a gi multiple times can cause more shrinkage over time - it's cumulative. So make sure to give your gear some TLC with proper care practices.

This is why we ALWAYS recommend washing in cool water and air drying your gi.

How Much Will A BJJ Gi Shrink?

The amount of shrinkage that a BJJ gi may experience when washed in hot water and machine dried typically falls between 5% to 10% of its original size. This can result in a difference of half a size to even a full size, meaning that the A3 you purchased might now fit like an A2.

However, it's important to note that this shrinkage can vary depending on factors such as the brand, fabric composition, and initial fit of the gi. Practitioners should be mindful that significant shrinkage is possible, which could impact the overall fit and comfort of the gi.

How to Shrink A Gi On Purpose

If you find yourself in between sizes for your BJJ gi or if you have a unique body shape, intentionally shrinking the gi can be a helpful solution to achieve the perfect fit. To do this, begin by washing the gi in hot water and then placing it in the dryer for short five-minute cycles. After each cycle, check the fit to see how much it has shrunk. This gradual approach allows you to closely monitor the size reduction and ensure that you don't overshoot your desired fit.

Keep in mind that different fabrics may respond differently to shrinking, so patience and attentiveness are crucial. Continue with these five-minute drying cycles until you reach your ideal fit for your body type. 


Now that you've learned the importance of preserving and adjusting the size of your BJJ gi, it's clear that it requires both skill and knowledge. Understanding how different fabrics behave and implementing proper washing and drying techniques are key to maintaining the fit and functionality of your gi. Whether you want to prevent shrinkage or resize your gi for a better fit, remember that being patient and paying attention to detail will help you succeed. 

If you have any questions on how to properly take care of your gi so that it lasts a long time, reach out to us through our live chat and we'll point you in the right direction. So go ahead and roll with comfort and confidence!

September 29, 2023