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How to Care For Your Workout Clothes

How to Care For Your Workout Clothes

How to Care For Your Workout Clothes

Workout clothes are pretty sophisticated, using fancy technology such as antimicrobial, ultraviolet protection and sweat-wicking fibres. But with all the sweat they have to deal with, it’s not unusual for your activewear to get a bit ‘gross’. If your workout clothes are smelling a little unpleasant (or downright stinky), even after a wash, read on for my cleaning solutions! (And we all know how much I love to clean ;) haha! )

First things first
Try to avoid leaving sweaty clothes in your gym bag, crumpled up in your laundry basket or on the bathroom floor. Leaving sweaty items stashed somewhere can become a breeding ground for bacteria (and even mould) if they are left too long. Bacteria build-up is one of the main causes of smelly workout gear!

To soak or not to soak
Soaking in a solution of vinegar and water can help kill bacteria and sweaty odours on your clothing. It can also help break down any build-up from detergents, deodorant and skin cells (I know, ewww!). Be careful when you pre-soak clothes though — especially if soaking clothes with bright colours and prints. It’s probably best not to leave your clothes to soak for longer than 30 minutes to an hour, to avoid causing any damage. Once they’ve had a soak, pop them in the wash as normal.

Setting your washing machine
Check the labels for specific washing information before you start! Lots of workout fabrics are best washed in cold water, as it helps to maintain their shape. Hot water might seem like the right idea to kill off bacteria, but it may be damaging to the fibres.

Sweat With Kayla
Detergents and softeners
There are specialty laundry products for sportswear, but you can use any standard laundry powder or detergent. Use the recommended amount of laundry powder for your load (or even a little less) so it rinses out properly.

Don’t use fabric softener on your activewear. At all. Softeners can actually lock in odours in the fabric. Most softeners work by coating fibres, which might stop those fancy moisture wicking fabrics from doing their job properly.

After the wash
Fresh air and sunny weather is a best friend to your activewear. Sunshine makes it hard for bacteria to grow, so your clothes shouldn’t take on any strange odours. I also hang everything inside out so it doesn’t fade — I hate having to throw away my favourite shorts because they are all faded!

Top tips for washing activewear:

  • Turn your workout clothes inside out before stuffing them into the machine (the gross stuff can collect on the inside!).
  • Wash really sweaty clothes as soon as you can to stop the smell getting trapped in the fibres.
  • Hand wash sports bras or use a lingerie bag for washing them in the machine (you can buy the bags at most bra shops). 
  • Don’t wash your activewear with clothing that has zips, velcro or any other item that might catch on the fabric and damage it. 
  • Don’t use the clothes dryer (even if you’re in a hurry) and skip the iron as well. It’s not good for workout clothes, and can even burn them! (Trust me, I know this first hand - hello holes in tops!)


Okay, so it might take a little effort to keep your activewear smelling fresh. But no one wants to worry about strange smells when trying to focus on your workout! Take care of your workout clothes and you should get more wear out of them as well.

Love, Kayla xx

* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.