The kimono is tough, strong, it withstands a lot of physical abuse to remain intact. But if you'd like your favorite Gi to stick around for awhile, you need to care for it.
Getting that fresh new Gi out of its packaging is soooo nice! I remember my first gi, it was a Hyabusa Light Weight. My first impression of it was man, this thing is so stiff, how and I suppose to move in it?! Its now one of my favorite gis to compete in and training regularly in.
First things first, we always wash the gi with like colors and wash it cold! You can use regular detergent and I usually ad fabric softener to each load. Once the cycle is complete you do not put it in the dyer. The first wash is dependent on the fit of your kimono, butt if your gi is big, if it needs shrinkage, you can dry it in 10 minute increments. Check it to see if the fit is to your liking, if not, put it back in for an additional 10 minutes and verify again. Once your new kimono is snugging in all the right places you can hang it to dry.
From that point forward, always hang dry your gi. Especially the light weight gis, they tend to shrink over time. I noticed some of this with my tatami gis, but the snugger the better, I really don't mind :)
Like it or not, our shield will one day have the smell to turn over growing flowers. I'd like to think I don't posses much body odor, but some people you train with may have the funk, and the funk will travel inside the fabric of your gi. I have the lovely privilege's of share washing responsibilities with the Professor. I'm really not bashing here, but on occasion his gis can smell like death, its unbearable. If you wash these special smells with a regular wash the death odor will follow it, and not go away. It will even invade other gis that don't have the stench.
Vinegar will save you! I purchase these buy the gallons and keep them handy in special times of crisis. The best cure for this is soaking the Kimono in a mixture of vinegar and some water. After soaking it run it through a regular wash cycle, with extra fabric softener, and you should be good to go! It's also ok to add a little vinegar to a wash cycle to combat those minor smells. I like adding vinegar to my white gi, always keeps them looking sharp and helps with stains.
Everyone has their own personal preference of storing them. In an ideal world, all our gis will be neatly hung in a closet. To extend your kimonos life, this is the best way. You can stack and fold them as well, but over time, you may notice wearing, especially in the folds of the jacket. But if you live in a house hold like mine, all of our family members do jiu jitsu. I easily have about 15 gis in my house at a time. Some get folded, some get hung. The competition gis usually always get hung up.
Caring for your gi is not hard, there's just a particular way of doing it. Learn what works best for you.