Get that Stink Out?

Gym rat or not you know that workout clothes get stinky and need special care. The stink and amount of sweat goes one step further if you are a runner. Now you might be proud of the sweat in your workout clothes because that offensive odor means you worked super hard at the gym. Yes, you are partly right about that. Sorry, but I must inform you that other things are causing the sweat and stink in your workout gear. Bacteria, skin cells and salt create odors and stubborn stains. How can you get that stink out of your workout gear? Read on….

Performance fabrics are great for staying cool and moving with you while working out. But after the workout is over, they become sweat magnets. Exercise gear is mostly made of sweat-wicking materials like Lycra, spandex, and polyester, and they trap sweat and stay stinky. The channels and spaces in moisture-wicking synthetics trap body secretions. If the sweaty clothes are left in the hamper, bacteria grow, and odors worsen. You can even end up with moldy clothes if you leave them in there long enough. Plus, the longer you put off washing these clothes, the harder it is to remove sweat stains.

Removing that lasting smell from your fitness gear can be frustrating. Plus, taking care of these delicate fabrics is different than your regular clothes. I hear you because you thought you got the whole lights/darks thing down. You even learned how to wash the wool sweaters. Washing workout clothes a full different ball game. Worry not! Here are a few tips for taking care of your sweaty Gear.

If you’re washing dark-colored workout clothes, follow the same steps for removing sweat stains, but skip the hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide can ruin dark colors because it’s a natural bleaching agent.

Now that you have a handle on removing sweat stains let’s get your workout clothes fresh and clean and looking good.

Tips and Tricks to Get that Stink Out

Your laundry doesn’t have to smell gross

Wash your Gear ASAP- Wash the clothes immediately after your sweat session. It’s the best way to eliminate the bacteria that create odors.

Soak Them-

To get rid of the dirt, sweat, and oil in performance fabrics is vinegar. This all-natural product can remove the odors and stains from your workout clothes, Exactly the vinegar you use in salads can be used for your workout clothes. Dilute it with water and soak your workout clothes for 30 minutes before washing.

Turn ’em Inside Out-

Bacteria accumulate inside your gym clothes so, turning workout clothes inside out will help get rid of the bacteria quickly. Plus, your clothes will look newer and perform longer. That’s the secret behind workout gear endurance.

Use Cold Water Cycle-

Hot water breaks down synthetic fabrics shrink them. Using the cold-water cycle helps to keep the clothes looking newer.

Wash Workout Gear Separately-

Avoid synthetic washing fabrics with towels and your jeans. Making a separate load for workout clothes will help keep the clothes looking newer and their sweat-wicking ability intact.

Limit the use of Detergent-

With the smelly, dirty clothes on your hands, it’s tempting to add extra detergent. But according to laundry experts, more detergent is terrible for your synthetic garments.

Performance fabrics are built to repel moisture when you are working out, but they also repel the rinse cycle water. The extra detergent leaves a film on your clothes that further traps the bacteria and body soils. Using half of the detergent as your regular clothes will get your exercise gear clean and smelling fresh.

Softener is the Enemy-

The real enemy of your workout clothes is the fabric softener. It damages anything that stretches. Plus, it coats the fabric with a film that traps odors and bacteria.

Air Dry is Your Friend-

The dryer heat can break down activewear. It damages the fabric and makes the material lose its shape. The best way to dry the activewear is by running them through an air-dry cycle.

Use Odor-eliminating Powder-

there are many products on the market that are made for sportswear. They eliminate odor and help clean the fabrics. The best specialty detergent is Nathan Sport-Wash, and Win is runners up.

For natural odor-fighting, add a cup of baking soda to your next load. It works! I was skeptical at first. The baking soda neutralized the odors of my running gear, and, they smelled fresh for days to come. Moreover, my clothes retained less odor when I went for my next run.

You can download the step-by-step guide below and stick it in your laundry room.

  • Wash workout clothes separately
  • Turn everything inside-out for a deep clean
  • Soak your load in diluted vinegar
  • Less is more when it comes to detergent
  • Use cold water and a delicate cycle
  • Add backing soda to block odors
  • Use the lowest heat setting or air dry.

Cleaning your workout gear shouldn’t be hard. Pushing yourself while working out should be. These tips will keep your activewear smelling fresh and clean even after your long, long runs and hard lifting sessions.

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About the Author

Aesha Tahir is a health and wellness coach and a certified personal trainer. She holds a Master’s degree in Applied Exercise Science and is certified by the NASM as a Personal trainer. She is a certified USA Track and Field Running Coach and Road Runners of America Coach. She is a 200-HR Registered Yoga Teacher. She is also a group exercise instructor specializing in barre, spinning, strength training, boot camp, and yoga classes. She has over five years of experience in the fitness and wellness arena with focused expertise in coaching, corrective exercise and injury prevention, individualized fitness programs, and group fitness programs. She is also an aspiring public speaker in the fitness and wellness world who believes in this quote; “To be inspired is great, but to inspire is incredible.”



Aesha Tahir, Speaker, Author, Wellness Consultant

Aesha Tahir is an award-winning author, keynote speaker, corporate trainer, and columnist. She delivers high-energy presentations. Book a Call