Tips to get the smell out of your workout clothes

Sometimes despite repeated washings, your workout clothes still stink. Stinky clothes might tempt you to toss them out and buy (or sew) new clothes, but part of being more eco-conscious is taking care of your clothes to extend their life. 

Our workout clothes can smell because  sweat, skin cells, salt and bacteria get trapped inside them. I suppose if you want to put a positive spin on this, stinky clothes mean you had an awesome workout! Your workout clothes have grooves and channels that enhance wicking. Unfortunately, those grooves and channels allow sweat and bacteria to get trapped.

Here are some tips on getting the stink out and preventing it from coming back.

1. Presoak your clothes in cold water after your workout, preferably within 30 minutes of your workout. I personally don't wash my clothes after every workout, this causes microfibers to shed and breaks down your clothes faster. But not washing them causes layers of sweat and bacteria to build up. A 30 minute soak in cold water will remove the sweat and bacteria. Afterwards lay flat to dry. 

2. Presoak not an option? Then at least air out your clothes.  Mold and mildew can grow within six to 12 hours, so do not toss your damp/sweaty workout clothes into your gym bag. The same goes for balling up and tossing sweaty clothes into the hamper. Let them air out first. Once dry then toss them in the hamper. 

3. Wash your clothes inside out. Your sweat touches the inside of your clothes, so make it easier for your detergent by turning your clothes inside out. This also helps your clothes from fading. 

4. If your clothes currently stink do a white distilled vinegar presoak before washing. This should kill any existing bacteria. One part vinegar and 4 parts water, let your clothes soak for 15 to 30 minutes and then toss in the washing machine. You can also use Oxiclean instead of vinegar.

5. Don't wash with towels, sweatshirts or any other heavy fabrics. The lint from heavy fabrics will get on your workout clothes, making it harder for detergent and water to get through.

6. Add half a cup of baking soda along side your detergent. Baking soda helps to regulate the pH level in the washer's water by keeping it from being too acidic or alkaline, this allows your laundry detergent to work more effectively. 

7. Don't use too much detergent . Too much detergent can cause a soapy build up to be left on the clothes, which creates a perfect environment for fungus to breed. 

8. Skip the fabric softener. Fabric softener will leave a coating on your clothes, trapping any dirt and bacteria on them. In addition, fabric softener breaks down the elastic fibers that give workout clothes their stretch. It also decreases the moisture-wicking and odor-fighting properties of the clothes.

9. Wash in cold water.  Protein stains (blood, sweat) can set in when washed in hot water, and hot water may shrink or wrinkle synthetic fabrics. 

10. Skip the dryer. The dryer should always be skipped because it will break down the fibers of your workout clothes. In addition, if your clothes do have a bit of stench when they come out of the washer, the hot dryer is just going to seal that smell in. Workout clothes are designed to dry fast, so skip the dryer and lay flat to dry. 

11. You can also try a detergent specifically made for sports wear. Nathan's Sports Wash,Win Sports Detergent, and Sweat X Sport are just a few I found. 

These were recommended to me by followers on Instagram:

And don't forget your washing machine can smell if you don't clean it. Here are some tips on cleaning your machine. 

Leave me a comment if you have additional tips I should add. 

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