Did you know that your workout clothes deserve a totally different washing treatment than the rest of your clothes? Your gym gear is made of different materials to other garments including sweat-wicking and elasticated fabric which is why it has to be treated differently. The Reform Athletica Team got together and set out their best tips for treating your stinky gear!
1. Work out done, clothes off!
As soon as you are done with your workout, change into fresh clothes rather than staying in your sweaty gear. Even if you don’t have time for a shower, remove your clothes and allow them to air dry. It also avoids you getting cold because once the sweat evaporates, your body temperature will drop. This is especially true for long runs outdoors when the weather is cooler.
If you’ve done a light workout where you didn’t break a sweat, you can re-use the same clothes provided they are not wet when you take them off. Allow them to also air dry before putting them away.
2. Do not put your sweaty gear straight in your bag or laundry bin!
We have all done it before - we change and leave the gym in a rush and forget our used kit in our gym bag (for many days)! Always allow your clothes to dry off before putting them in your laundry basket. Sweaty clothes in an enclosed space can grow bacteria (which causes the BO smell) so always allow to dry before placing in your laundry basket. If you change in the gym, put your clothes in a sweat-bag away from your other belongings and as soon as you get home, allow to air dry! This will help to reduce build up of odour-causing bacteria.
If you can’t air out your gear or wash it right away, you could try putting it in a zip-lock plastic bag in the freezer, as the cold destroys bacteria. You’ll still need to wash your workout gear, but this will prevent odour building up in the short term.
3. Less (detergent) is more
Don’t use too much washing detergent on your gym-gear. Some believe the smellier the clothes, the more detergent you need. Using too much washing detergent or products like fabric softener can cause build-up that may trap bacteria which produce odour.
4. Remove the smell with white vinegar
If you find that your workout gear smells fine when you take it off the washing line, but after wearing it for a short time it starts to smell, here’s how to fix it.
Next time you wash your workout clothes, use half as much detergent and add half to one cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle of the wash. White vinegar will eliminate any lingering smell by breaking down the build up of laundry products.
5. Wash workout clothes inside out
To prevent a smell from building up in your workout gear, turn clothing inside out before washing to allow the water and detergent to effectively remove the source of the smell during the washing cycle.
6. Do not use fabric softener
Fabric softeners are not recommended for workout clothes as these products can damage the elastic fibres in the fabric.
7. Use a cold, gentle washing cycle
Laundry detergent works just as effectively in cold water as it does in hot water — so protect the elasticity of your workout clothes by using a cold wash cycle. It is not necessary to wash your gym gear separately. You can combine with your synthetic or gentle cycle wash!
8. Baking Soda is not just for baking!
If you are looking for a quick way to make your workout clothing smell nice, try adding lemon juice to the wash cycle. Citrus juice helps to break down oils from your skin that get into the fabric, leaving the clothing free from odour.
If your workout clothes are really smelly, try a sports-specific detergent or laundry booster to help to eliminate the smell. If you don’t have these in your laundry, you can add half a cup of baking soda to the wash.
You can soak the clothes before washing using baking soda and vinegar, but be careful not to leave them soaking for too long, and always use cold water. Soaking for a maximum of 30 minutes will help to remove the smell, and prevent colours from seeping out of the fabric.