How To Wash Your Workout Clothes
Women in the BBG community often ask me: “how often should I wash my workout clothes?”.
If you’ve followed me for a while on social media, you’ll know I actually love cleaning, so I wash my workout clothes after every workout. However, there are a few factors to consider when it comes to washing your activewear, so I’m sharing my top tips for keeping your workout clothes smelling fresh and clean.
There are even hints for keeping your clothing fresh when you can’t wash your workout gear on the same day — so you have no excuses for skipping your next BBG workout.
10 tips for getting the sweaty smell out of workout clothes
Workout clothing needs to be treated differently to the rest of your laundry due to how you use it, and the elastic or sweat-wicking fabric the gear is made from.
Get changed right after your workout
Once you’ve finished your workout and cool down, change into fresh clothing rather than staying in your sweaty workout gear. Sweat wicking fabrics are great for removing sweat from your skin during a workout, but changing out of your gear once you’re finished will help to keep the fabric in good condition.
If you’ve done a recovery workout and haven’t sweated as much, you might be able to wear the same gear a few times before washing, but you should still allow the clothing to air dry completely between uses.
Allow used workout clothing to air after use
If you aren’t planning on doing a load of washing the same day or you’ve been to the gym first thing in the morning, try not to leave your workout gear bundled up in your gym bag or washing basket.
Where possible, allow the workout clothing to air before tossing it into the washing basket. 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.
Don’t use too much detergent
Using too much washing detergent or products like fabric softener can cause build-up that may trap bacteria which produce odour.
It may seem like common sense that if workout gear is smelly, more detergent will fix the problem — but the opposite is actually true. If you’ve done this in the past, don’t worry, you can fix it with vinegar.
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.
Tackle deodorant build up
If your tank tops, t-shirts or sports bras have a deodorant build-up under the arms, you can remove this before washing. Try using an old, soft toothbrush with detergent or soap to scrub the area to loosen build-up.
Wash workout clothes inside out
One reason workout clothes smell is that when you exercise, bacteria, dead skin cells and sweat rub off your body and onto your clothing. This is perfectly normal, and all part of working 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.
Try adding a laundry booster (or baking soda)
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.
Do not use fabric softener
Fabric softeners are not recommended for workout clothes as these products can damage the elastic fibres in the fabric.
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.
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.
Some washing machines may even have a specific sportswear setting that you can use.
Do you need to wash workout clothing separately?
It’s not recommended to wash workout gear in a hot cycle, so make sure you don’t accidentally bundle it in with items that you might wash in warm or hot water, such as sheets or towels.
However, you can wash your workout clothing safely along with other delicate or synthetic fabrics — you don’t need a whole separate load just for exercise clothing.
Just like all of your other washing, separate whites from colours to prevent colours from running.
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.