How to Wash Your Gym Clothes

How to Wash Your Gym Clothes
Written by: Coach Slater

We commonly get asked (in private) about eliminating smells from gym clothes. It’s like a taboo to admit your clothes stink from working out. But, we’re here to tell you it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Below are some easy changes to your washing routine which can keep your gym clothes smelling great.

Use Steam
If you have the ability, upgrade to a washer unit with a “Steam” feature. Steam gets into the small fibers of your clothes, bringing dirt and odor to the surface, so your washer can wash your clothes more deeply and proficiently.

Wash Clothes Inside Out
The bacteria that causes our workout gear to stink builds up on the inside of the clothes, so turning them inside out prior to washing will allow the water and detergent more contact with the source of the smells. Doing so will also lead to a longer life of the print on the front/back of your gear. It’s helped us from cracking the print on many cherished DCCF shirts.

Don’t Overuse Detergent
More detergent doesn’t make your clothes cleaner, and soap residue will add to the presence of smells even in clothes that have been through the wash. Using too much detergent actually leaves a buildup of soap residue that traps odors in clothes after going through the wash.

Switch to a Sports Detergent
Sports detergents are formulated to address odor issues, and take away the need to use a second product in addition to your regular detergent. Some good ones to check out are HEX Performance Detergent and Win Sports Detergent. Or, if you’re a “pods” person (like I am), then the Tide Pods Sport Odor Defense cover a lot of bases in one product.

Add Boosters
Laundry experts will tell you to add white vinegar in addition to your regular detergent, and they swear the smell is minimal, but fuuuuuuuuuck that. That is an outright lie. That vinegar smell never goes away. So, I recommend trying an odor-eliminating laundry booster, like Downey Unstopables or Gain Fireworks in-wash booster. I’m currently loving the smell of Gain.

Never Use Fabric Softener
This one is super clutch. Fabric softener doesn’t play nicely with stretchy and moisture-wicking fabrics, as it leaves behind a coating that makes it difficult for water and detergent to fully penetrate the fibers. So, I skip it in loads that contain workout clothes.

Wash Gym Clothes by Themselves
Implied in all of the above topics is the notion that you need to wash your workout clothes *differently* than your other items. And that means washing them entirely separately from other clothes. Your workout clothes have special needs, especially if they have stretch in them. So don’t wash them with linty items, like towels and fleece, or with heavy garments, like jeans and sweatshirts. Athletic clothes with stretch in them will pick up stray lint in the wash, and heavy items can lead to pilling and damage to our delicate athleisure-wear.

Low-Heat or Air Dry
When drying your gym clothes, use a low- or no-heat setting. (Air drying isn’t realistic. Who has the space to air dry that many clothes?) Workout fabrics (dri-wick or tri-blend) tend to be quick-drying, they’ll last longer if they’re not exposed to the heat and agitation of the dryer, and drying them on low heat seems to lock the good smells in.

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