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How to Shrink a Gi

Sizing charts are without question a valuable tool when deciding upon a gi. That said, there’s always the chance that a newly-ordered gi arrives in a size that is just too big for you to use properly.

Fighting this problem is pretty straightforward and in this guide, we are going to let you in on the steps you need to take on how to shrink your gi and begin training in comfort and style.

Why Do I Need to Shrink My Gi?

First impotant point: the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gi Brands won’t shrink much. So invest in a good Gi, and you won’t have to worry about ordering the wrong size in the first place.

Most people are not looking for a way to shrink their clothing; in fact, they would rather avoid it altogether. But, in the case of your gi, you may need to shrink the uniform for a better fit.

If your gi is too baggy or too long in the arms and legs, you will not be able to train properly and effectively.

Shrinking your gi may sound crazy, but it is a consequence of the inconsistencies between some sizing charts. Each company has little variations in the sizing of their gis, and ultimately, you must choose what you believe to be is the best fit.

When you try on your new gi and attempt to figure out what modifications are needed, shrinking may well be at the top of your agenda.

Two BJJ fighters rolling in a gym
Ensuring your gi fits well will allow you to avoid having your own outfit used against you in the middle of a roll.

The Science of Shrinking

Shrinking a garment is a science that involves knowing what fabric manufacturers used to make the piece. It also is related to the weave of the fabrics. Since gi manufacturers make their products mostly from a cotton blend, it is important to know that cotton products tend to shrink rather easily but do stop shrinking after a number of subsequent washings. (1)

How to Shrink a Gi (KW)

To shrink your BJJ gi properly, you should follow these steps.

  1. Wash your gi correctly by turning it inside out before washing it in cool water.
  2. Hang your gi to dry inside. The UV rays from the sun could damage the fibers of your BJJ gi.
  3. Once your gi is dry, rewash in warm/hot water.
  4. Place the gi in the dryer on a reduced heat setting.
  5. After the gi is dry, try it on for size. If the fit is right, then you have successfully shrunk your gi.

We want to note that even after you shrink your gi, it will stretch with wearing and grappling on the mat. You may have to follow these steps a few times before you get the perfect fit.

Sweat, body heat, and being yanked on in training will stretch it again too, so expect some changes over time.

If your gi is still too large after following steps 1-5, continue shrinking it with the following steps.

  1. Place the gi back into the dryer on a hot heat setting.
  2. Let the gi toss in the dryer in 10-minute intervals.

For more information about caring and shrinking your gi, watch this video:

Final Thoughts

Initially, the idea of purposely shrinking a garment will likely sound quite strange. The purpose of shrinking your gi is for a better fit. A BJJ student will not be able to train well when their uniform is baggy, and the legs and arms are too long.

Shrinking your gi is simple if you follow the steps we have laid out for you. Don’t let a baggy and uncomfortable gi keep you from reaching your highest potential.


In the first six months, a gi will typically shrink 1-2 inches. Over the course of the next year, your BJJ gi will most likely shrink another inch or so. Of course, the amount your gi will shrink depends on the quality fabric used in the making of your gi.

A pre-shrunk gi will only hold up to that guarantee if you follow tips on washing your Gi. It is possible to shrink the arms and pant legs if you wash the gi in warm/hot water and place it in a dryer.

It is always recommended you wash your gi before rolling on the mat. If you have a colored gi, you will want to let it soak in a vinegar and water mixture for about 30 minutes. Then wash the gi in cool water and air dry. The vinegar solution will “lock-in” the color and prevent fading. (2)

Does the color of your gi matter in BJJ? It can, especially if your gi’s color fades over time.

  1. How do I care for my 100% cotton clothes?. Retrieved from:
  2. How to Use Vinegar in the Washing Machine to Set Colors | Hunker. Retrieved from:

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