No one wants to wear smelly clothes. But what you do with your workout gear after you get home from the gym makes a big difference in the way your clothes smell the next time you wear them. Learn how to wash workout clothes the right way and extend the life of your performance wear.
Why Do Workout Clothes Smell After Washing?
The simplest answer as to why workout clothes smell after your session is odor-causing bacteria. A study in 2014 found that different fabrics harbored various types of bacteria, significantly affecting whether the clothes smelled bad and to what degree after working out. For example, synthetic polyester clothing smelled much worse after a spinning class than natural cotton clothing did. Natural fabrics, like cotton, can absorb moisture and odors better than polyester.
But, the study only mentioned smells on clothing after working out and before washing. What about the causes of odors after you wash the clothes? The answer is the same – odor-causing bacteria remain in the material, leading to that particularly malodorous scent.
Unfortunately, most synthetic workout clothes have a design to keep you cool during exercise. Cotton and other natural fabrics are worse choices for workout gear because they hold moisture and do not promote cooling. Therefore, for greater comfort, you should choose synthetic workout gear. But, what about the odors in the material? There are steps that you can take to kill the bacteria and correct the gym odor and to protect the longevity of the material.
How Often Should You Wash Your Workout Clothes?
When it comes to the frequency of washing your activewear, give yourself plenty of time. To avoid damaging synthetic materials, you cannot rush the wash and dry process. In fact, skip both the dryer and the fabric softener when you wash synthetic workout clothes. Both of these will wear out the material, causing it to irreparably stretch.
Yes, you should wash your workout clothes after each exercise session. Wearing them a second time only allows the bacteria, sweat, and skin cells to build, making it harder to remove them and increasing the smell factor of the clothes.
Therefore, air-dry your clothes after wearing and before washing unless you can immediately get them into a washing machine. After cleaning them, allow them plenty of time to air dry. You may need to have at least two or three sets of workout clothes, especially if you exercise daily, to ensure that you will always have a fresh set of activewear.
Steps To Take Immediately After Changing Out of Workout Gear
To effectively keep odors from lingering in your clothes, take action as soon as your workout ends. Do the following to increase the chances of making your clothes smell fresher and preventing damage to the delicate synthetics.
1. Remove Clothes
Take off your workout clothes as soon as possible. First, wearing sweaty, hot clothing can increase the chances of yeast infections for women or skin rashes for those with sensitive skin. Secondly, you want to begin to treat your clothes quickly.
2. Turn Clothes Inside Out
Turn your clothing inside out. The interior of your activewear is where most of the sweat, skin, and bacteria collect. Therefore, by having this on the outside, it will more effectively have contact with cleaning agents to remove the bodily fluids.
3. Wash or Soak Gym Clothes Immediately With Cold Water
Wash your workout gear as soon as you can after working out. However, if you must wait to clean your sports clothes, for instance, if you have a laundry delivery service pick up on another day, you should soak the clothes in four parts cold water mixed with one part of white vinegar for no more than half an hour. The vinegar helps to neutralize the odors while the cold water keeps heat-loving bacteria from replicating and making the odor worse.
4. Skip Fabric Softeners and Hot Water Cycles
When washing your clothes in a washing machine, don’t wash them with other clothes that use hot water. The hot water will wear out the synthetic material, making it stretch without returning back to its original shape.
Fabric softeners will also prematurely wear out synthetic materials. Therefore, avoid putting your workout clothes with others clothing that you add fabric softener to.
5. Air Dry Sports Clothes For Longevity
Make sure to air dry your sports clothes to preserve their longevity. Too much heat will cause them to become too stretched and not return to their natural shape.
Ways To Remove Workout Odors From Sports Clothes
Often the problem of bad smells remaining on your sports clothes after washing comes from the washing instructions for activewear that require cold water washing. Using only cold water does not kill bacteria or remove oily sebum from the surface. Therefore, you must adapt your strategy to keep your clothes looking great while removing the extra oils, skin cells, and bacteria that cause odors.
1. Baking Soda
Adding a cup of baking soda to your wash with your performance wear will help to eliminate odors and naturally freshen the clothing. This option works if you run out of laundry booster or want an all-natural approach to cleaning. Don’t forget to use your regular detergent in cold water, gentle cycle on your washing machine when cleaning sports clothes.
2. White Vinegar
Just as you can soak your clothes in vinegar and water before washing, you can also add vinegar to the wash. Replace half your detergent with vinegar to remove soap build-up in your workout clothes that could be trapping odor-causing bacteria.
3. Performance Clothing Detergent or Laundry Booster
Consider investing in a performance clothing detergent or laundry booster. These products are specifically formulated to prevent damage and wear to workout clothes while eliminating odors from them. In fact, many brands of activewear recommend using such products to extend the lives of the clothes and prolong their quality.
Get Help Cleaning Your Workout Garments
For help with how to wash workout clothes, let the experts do the job for you! Contact us at The Washroom Laundry Service to keep your clothes fresh and odor-free effortlessly with our laundry delivery service. You’ll also feel fresh and clean whenever you wear your workout clothes by maintaining them with the above laundry tips. Have questions about keeping workout gear clean? Leave us a comment below.