How To Wash A BJJ Rash Guard

March 20, 2023

If you train no-gi BJJ regularly, there are no excuses not to wear a rash guard at practice. Still, even if you do traditional gi jiu-jitsu, the rash guard is literally a skin saver. But do you know how to wash and keep your training attire fresh and doing its job of protecting you?

After every training session, you must wash your BJJ rash guards by using cold water and letting them air dry. Following the washing instructions and using mild detergents will maintain the longevity of your training attire.

Rash guards are expensive but are indispensable for protecting you from skin burns and infections while rolling on the mats. It’s best to treat them with care, and they will serve you for a long time, but to do so, you need to follow a few simple but essential steps.

How To Wash A BJJ Rash Guard

Rash guards are made of synthetic materials, mainly polyester and spandex, which are very durable and will last you through many hard rolling sessions.

But you can also destroy them in minutes if you wash or clean a rash guard the wrong way, so you must learn how to do it properly.

It’s straightforward, but if you do the wrong things, you will need to have deep pockets to buy new apparel more often than necessary. You can wash BJJ rash guards by hand or using a machine, but either way, you must follow the instructions.

Follow The Washing Instructions

The most obvious and least followed advice is to first read the washing instructions on the rash guard and all clothing, for that matter. The manufacturer always provides all you need to know about the apparel and how to clean, dry, and use it for optimal longevity.

There may be differences in the allowed washing temperatures and whether the product is suitable for machine drying. They will be clearly written on the label.

The bits of advice in this article are universal. Still, it’s always best to know exactly what the manufacturer suggests and what they don’t.

Turn It Inside Out

It’s best to wash your rash guards inside out. This is done to better preserve the color and prints on the fabric, which can be implemented in several ways. Then drying the rash guard in the sun, turned inside out, is also a good idea to prevent discoloring.

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Wash Separately

Wash your rash guards separately from most other clothing. You can put it in your gi, for example, but I advise against washing rashguards with clothes made of rougher fabrics. But most of all, you need to avoid clothing with Velcro. It can quickly tear the polyester apart and create undesirable fabric piling.

If you machine wash rash guards with other clothing, place them in a mesh lingerie bag, protecting them from other clothes and from threads being torn. 

Wash Cold

Rash guards are preshrunk and will not change size after washing, but always use cool or cold water to ensure this remains the case. If you wash by hand, this is not an issue, but use gentle programs and low temperatures if you use machines.

Choose The Correct Detergent

There is not one correct cleaning detergent you can use, but you should always go for mild and gentle ones. The same goes for fabric softeners.

Some products are made specifically for sports products, but you can go with normal detergents that are not strong. And never use bleach.

Hang Dry

One of the benefits of rash guards is that they dry out very fast, even when on your body, so there is no point in overheating them by using a machine dryer.

The best option is to hang the product to dry, ideally outside, where it will dry faster, and the sun will help further remove any leftover odors. Do not leave it under direct sun for too long, just enough to dry.

How Often To Wash Your Rash Guards

The clear and simple answer is after every training session. The first thing you must do when you get home after training is getting the sweaty clothes and gear out of the bag. Keeping them closed for extended periods will turn your gym bag into a cesspool.

Not only must you wash your rash guards after every training, but it’s wise to do so as soon as possible. Letting the clothes dry with sweat and bacteria is a sure way to build up bad odors and shorten the life of your BJJ attire.

Washing your rash guards after every session and following the washing instructions is a sure way to use them for a long time and keep them fresh.

Here is a quick summary of what we’ve covered in the article and how to preserve your BJJ rash guards.:

  • Never wear a used rash guard again before washing it!
  • Do not keep used rash guards in a closed bag. Get them out immediately after you come home from practice.
  • Ideally, wash the rash guard immediately.
  • Turn inside out before washing.
  • Use cold water.
  • Do not use bleach and strong detergents.
  • Keep away from Velcro and use a lingerie bag.
  • Air dry.

How To Get The Smell Out Of Rash Guard

If you fail at the instructions above or a rash guard becomes smelly even if you do things properly, there are a few ways to get the smell out.

  • Baking soda – common baking soda can have a positive effect on sour-smelling clothing. Add one cup to a bucket of odor, let your rash guard soak overnight, and then wash and dry as usual.
  • Vinegar – Many people swear by this method of odor removal. Vinegar works best on synthetic materials like the ones found in rash guards. Again, soak the rash guard with white vinegar for a few hours, and the smell should disappear after washing. Or you’ve just added another layer of unpleasant smell on top of it. Results may vary.
  • Special odor-removing products – Arguably, the best solution is to use special products made for removing odors from clothing. Depending on where you live, the products may be different. Still, I am confident some are readily available in your local stores. Just be careful that it’s not something strong and aggressive, or it might remove the color of your rash guard and the nasty smell.


Washing your rash guards after each training session, using cool water and light detergents, and air drying them are sure ways to prolong their longevity.

Eventually, every fabric will get destroyed through heavy use, but you extend that period immensely by proper handling. And as a courtesy to you and tour training partners, always wear a washed, clean, and freshly smelling rash guard to BJJ training.

About the author 

James de Lacey

I am a professional strength & conditioning coach that works with professional and international level teams and athletes. I am a published scientific researcher and have completed my Masters in Sport & Exercise Science. I've combined my knowledge of research and experience to bring you the most practical bites to be applied to your combat training.


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