Washing the GI and HAKAMA
When you purchase and receive your very first cotton GI and/or HAKAMA there are some major points that you need to be aware of. 100% cotton GI and HAKAMA are Indigo Dyed and processed, and this means when you first receive it, you will experience that the color will bleed out when you first wear it. This is NORMAL, as all Indigo GI and HAKAMA are dyed with the color excessively to give it its unique color. Hence do not wear it with any light color Jacket over it, or light colored cloth under it as the bleeding of the dye can color/stain your cloth permanently.
Hence during your first few trainings, you will find your body turning blue and again this is normal. The bleeding of the color will stop after a few weeks of training. The Indigo Dye on your body will wash off easy in the shower with any normal soap.
Should you want to wash your GI and/or HAKAMA, we recommend the following method. Please note that you will need to take full responsibilities in following these steps, should you not be confident about these steps, please speak to members of your Kendo club who may have the experience in doing so to provide assistance.
What you will need are the following
- Wash tub (Size big enough to fit the GI or Hakama when filled with water, not too big)
- White vineger (optional)
It is best to wash the GI and HAKAMA separately.
Step 1: Fill the wash tub full of cold water.
(Optional): Add about a cup of white vinegar into the water. What the vinegar will do is minimize the discoloration of the dye and keep the color in the fabric.
Step 2: Carefully place and soak the GI or HAKAMA in the cold water firmly and leave it in the water for about 2 ~ 4 hours. Make sure the GI or HAKAMA is fully soaked and there are no air pockets anywhere inside the folds of the fabric.
Step 3: After 2 ~ 4 hours, wash the GI or HAKAMA softly in the water, especially the inside of the pleats. You can gently push the GI or HAKAMA down into the water to wash it. Make sure you wash the Obi as well gently. The water will turn yellow and blueish, this is again a by product of the Indigo Dye which is normal.
Step 4: After a well wash, drain the water, and fill the tub again with clean water, and gently wash the GI or HAKAMA.
Step 5: Then take the GI or HAKAMA out of the water, and hang it in the shade, and away from direct sunlight. For HAKAMA make sure you straighten the pleats and then hang it to keep the folds neatly together.
Step 6: After the GI or HAKAMA is dried, fold it neatly and prepare for your next training.
How often should I wash my GI and/or HAKAMA?
How often you wash your GI and/or HAKAMA is totally up to you (Once a week/month/quarterly/yearly etc). But keep in mind the more times your wash your GI and/or HAKAMA the quicker the color will eventually fade. General practise is to hang your GI and HAKAMA after each training and in a place where it is well ventilated and away from any direct sunlight. Do not lend your GI and/or HAKAMA to another person for Hygiene purposes unless it has been washed.