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How to Wash a BJJ Rash Guard? (Full Care Guide)

wash a bjj rash guard

How to Wash a BJJ Rash Guard

Immediately when you get in from jiu jitsu training throw your rashguard in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with cold water with strong detergents then let it hang dry.

Tips for Washing and Care:

  • Do not use bleach
  • Do not use softeners
  • Do not iron
  • Do not wash in hot water
  • Wash the rash guard inside out
  • I personally always put my rashguards in the dryer – if you are concerned with damage you can use low heat or low tumble (I’ve found that when I put my rash guards in the dryer they tend to smell better – but always check with the label/brand)

-See below for how to deal with a smelly rash guard or one that you cannot get the smell out of.

Do Rash Guards Shrink?

Most rash guards do not shrink when washed or when put into the dryer. Generally, rash guards are pre shrunk and will not shrink when washed.

You can also put your rash guard in the dryer on low heat if it is pre shrunk or if manufacturer shows dryer use is okay.

However, putting your rash guard in the dryer can possibly damage elasticity or the graphics on it.

How to Get the Smell Out of a Rash Guard?

Here are some of the effective tips to get the smell out of a rash guard: 

  • Mixture of ½ cup of vinegar and 2 tbsp baking soda – Vinegar and baking soda are actually odor neutralizers and bacteria cleaners. You can mix this concoction with your detergent during a wash cycle. Another option is just to soak your rashguard in this mix with some water overnight.
  • Oxyclean – Oxyclean is probably my go to detergent if I can’t get the smell out of a rash guard. Again, you can use it during a wash cycle or soak it in Oxyclean over night.
  • Detergents with “active ingredients” / made for sport – Finally, there are other detergents available with “active ingredients” or “made for sports”. I used Tide Sport in the past with good results.

Lastly, I always recommend drying your rash guard in low heat in the dryer in order to get it fully clean. For me personally, hang drying my rash guards does not always get the smell out. So if the manufacturer says machine drying is okay – I strongly recommend it.

Can You Put a BJJ Rashguard in a Dryer?

Yes, you can put your rashguard in the dryer. However, it may reduce elasticity of the material over time. If you are concerned with damage we recommend putting it on a low heat cycle. Additionally, you should always check the manufacturer’s instructions to confirm.

For a quick, personal example, here are my current rashguards (and brands) in my weekly training rotation – I’ve put all of these in the dryer on normal heat after every session and haven’t noticed any change or any damage to them:

1. Throw It in the Wash Immediately When You Get Home

1.1 Do Not Let It Sit Unwashed and Sweaty in a Confined Space

The biggest mistake I see people make who start jiu jitsu in terms of washing their rash guard is that they leave it in their gym bag or in their trunk.

Having a rash guard sit sweaty and dry up is the number one thing that leads to a rash guard get a permanent smell to it.

While the tips mentioned further down in this post can help when dealing with a permanently smelly rash guard, sometimes you may just have to give up and buy a new one.

1.2 Follow Washing Instructions from the Brand

Let us be honest, how many times have you bought a piece of clothing but never read the care or washing instructions? While most jiu jitsu rash guards are safe to follow the common washing instructions outline in this post – it’s always good to check the brand.

Some rash guards may come pre-shrunk and some are able to be thrown in the dryer (while others will shrink terribly if thrown in the dryer).

I prefer to throw my rash guards in the dryer since I find them smelling better than hang drying, but the ones I do put in the dryer and meant for it. I’ve thrown by Nation, Gold BJJ, and Hyperfly rash guards in the dryer and never had an issue.

1.3 Wash Inside-Out

While this isn’t the most important tip, washing your rash guard inside out can help:

  1. clean it better
  2. better preserve any graphics on the outside

Most of the time, your bjj rash guard has a print all over or atleast on one portion of it. This can be either sublimated or silk screen. Now in order to preserve the details and design of your gear, we recommend washing it from inside-out. Another reason for doing that is to lessen the chance of having loose fiber or snags on the clothing.

1.4 Choose the Correct Washing Ingredients

Just like any piece of clothing, your bjj rash guard will have a care guide. This can come in the form of a tag attached to the clothing, or even a printed out copy. But here is the thing, you have to read the label in order to find the correct washing ingredients. 

I strongly recommend using a sport detergent or one that has active ingredients that can really help clean your gear and get the smell out of it.

Once you get the idea of what you are allowed to use, you can easily research and read reviews. Sometimes, it can be a trial and error process. Keep in mind that there are some ingredients/products that may work for others, but may not work for you. So just keep on trying to look for the best fit.

1.5 Wash In Cold Water

Washing in cold water guarantees no damage will come from washing your rash guard. If you was it in hot water it may shrink or damage it.

While I haven’t personally had a problem with washing my rash guards in hot water – cold water is always safer.

1.6 Avoid Washing it with other Velcro Clothing

As you know, your bjj rash guard is made of thin material that can easily be subjected to velcro damage. This is because velcros are made of rough material that can cause fabric picking on your rash guard. This means that the fiber ends of your rash guard have pulled away from the fiber surface. Therefore, do not wash your gear with pieces of clothing that have velcro. 

2. Hang Dry (or Put in Dryer*)

After washing your rash guard, we recommend that you hang it to dry. This can be indoor or outdoor. If you live in a warm and sunny place then you can even opt to hang it outside. This is also because the sun’s properties are actually a natural odor killer that can help kill remaining germs and bacteria in your gear.

1.1 Can Consider Using Dryer

While hanging drying your rash guard is always the safest bet, you can put your rash guard in the dryer on low heat if manufacturer shows dryer use is ok

I’ve found that when I put my rash guards in the dryer they smell better than letting them hang dry. This is someone you can test out on your own too – but make sure to check the manufacturers guide!

How to Avoid a Smelly Rash Guard

You probably have had a rolling partner who consistently has a smelly gi or rash guard. Did you know that this is something avoidable? Here are some of the tips we have for you: 

  • Never keep it enclosed in a tight bag. 
  • Toss it immediately in the washing machine.
  • Read the washing instructions to ensure proper care and cleansing. 
  • Use the right laundry products that prevent bacteria build up and eliminate odor. 
  • Make sure that it is 100% dry before using again.

How to Wash a Rash Guard by Hand

If you don’t have access to a washer or prefer to wash it by hand here are some basic steps:

  • Using a bucket or bin inside of your tub
  • Throw your rash guard in with lukewarm water
  • Add cleaning product (this can be laundry detergent, soap, and white vinegar)
  • Let your rash guard soak for a bit
  • Scrub it with your hand for several minutes
  • Lastly, rinse it with lukewarm water to get all the cleaning agents off of it
  • And hang dry

While you can definitely wash your rash guard by hand, throwing it in the wash is always recommended as the more effective way to clean your rash guard.

Can You Wash Rash Guard and Gi Together?

Although, you can save time and water by washing your bjj rash guard and Gi together, it is not recommended. 

This is because of its individual composition and materials used. If you wash them together it can cause (minimal) damage. Therefore, ruining your gear. 

 One thing about it is that your bjj rash guard is actually made of smooth fabric. Meanwhile your gi is something that is made of rough textured material that can break apart some fibers of your rash guard. Another thing is that the required drying can be different from each other. 

Thus, washing your gear individually may make your training gear last longer.

Hope this has been a great read! Catch you next time!

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Should I wash a rash guard before wearing it?

If you bought a new rash guard you do not necessarily need to wash it before wearing it.

However, we strongly recommend washing your rashguard immediately after each class to make sure it is clean for the next training session. Just always make sure that you read care instructions to ensure proper washing techniques.

How Often Should You Wash Your Rash Guard?

Each time you go to training and use your rash guard, make sure that you wash it immediately. This means, you must wash your rash guard every after use. 

Trust us, you do not want to delay washing your rash guard. The moment you get home from training, make sure you toss it in the washing machine already. By doing so, you will prevent build up of bacteria, dirt and odor. 

Note: Never reuse a rash guard that has been worn already but not been washed. Always go to training with clean and well maintained gear.

Can I wash my rash guard in the washing machine?

Definitely! If you have the luxury to use a washing machine to clean your rash guard then by all means, do it. Just always make sure that the water that you are using is cold. This is to prevent possible damages to your rash guard. Aside from that, by using a washing machine you can make sure that all parts of your gear is thoroughly cleaned and rinsed, making it good as new! 

Can You Put Rash Guards in the Dryer

We do not recommend putting your rash guard in the dryer. Why? Well, because it can cause damage to your gear. If your sublimated rash guard is tossed in the dryer, although print will not fade, the stitches can break. Meanwhile, for a silkscreen rash guard, the print can look worn out or old. Lastly, putting your bjj rash guard in the dryer can cause it to shrink.

However, if it is pre-shrunk and the manufacturer recommends it than by all means feel free to put your rash guard in the dryer on a low heat setting.

Why does my rashguard smell?

Your rash guard likely smells or will beginning to smell when you begin sweating due to bacteria and germs that have not been fully remove during washing.

If this is the case we recommend using stronger detergents like those rated for sports such as items like Tide Sport or Oxyclean.

Why Are Rash Guards So Expensive?

Rash guards are so expensive for a couple reasons:

  • materials used
  • manufacturing process
  • added benefits like:
    • four panel flat lock stitching
    • breathable armpit fabrics
    • rubber lined waistband
    • sublimated graphics

On top of the marketing made specifically towards bjj and combat athletes, there are a couple benefits to wearing bjj rash guards that make them more expensive than T-shit or compression shirts.