Tips

Don’t Sweat It: 6 Tips to Get the Stink out of Workout Clothes

Workout attire is trending hot. But smelling like a gym is not.

Workout wear is designed for performance. Most is made of synthetic material meant to stretch and wick away moisture. While great for the gym, washing this attire can be a workout in and of itself. Those same moisture-wicking properties that make sweating it out more comfortable can wreak havoc in the laundry room—literally. Learn how to remove body odor from clothes—no matter how much you sweat—with these helpful tips.

Tip #1: Let sweaty clothes dry: Although it may be tempting to immediately toss your sweaty workout attire down the laundry chute, doing so breeds bacteria. Hanging your workout attire to dry before tossing in the hamper can help keep stink from setting in and reduce bacteria by 90%.

Tip #2: Wash clothes inside out: Gym clothes are dirtiest on the inside where there is direct contact with sweaty skin. Turn inside out before washing so your detergent can better access soiled areas. Doing so also helps target sweat stains and lessen fading and pilling.

Tip #3: Invest in a booster or sports detergent: There are several sports detergents and laundry boosters that claim to defend against the stinkiest of stinks. These contain polymers that trap dirt and odor-causing compounds to keep them from binding to your clothes. They even work well in cold water.

Tip #4: Turn to home remedies: Keep clothes smelling fresh with kitchen staples like vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. White vinegar is a natural deodorizer. Add one cup to cold water and soak workout clothes for 15 to 30 minutes. Then wash as normal. The alkaline properties of baking soda get rid of sweat’s acidic odor. Throw a cup right into your wash and say hello to freshness. And when life gives you lemons, squeeze one into your wash basin. The citric acid will kill odor-causing bacteria.

Tip #5: Skip the fabric softener: Gym clothes and fabric softener don’t mix. Those same moisture-wicking properties that pull away sweat during your cardio session also make cleaning laundry more difficult as water and detergent can’t easily soak into the fibers. Fabric softener adds fuel to the fire as it leaves behind a coating that further traps bacteria and odors. For best results, forgo the fabric softener. The same vinegar and baking soda that helps rid your clothes of that sweat smell also are natural softeners. Or, toss wool dryer balls in the dryer with your load.

Tip #6: Avoid heat: You may think hot water helps remove sweat odor from clothes. On the contrary, heat amplifies it. For best results, wash gym clothes in cold water with a cold-water detergent. Dry on the low- or no-heat setting.

Your workout should be tough but cleaning your gym clothes doesn’t have to be. These tips will help you keep your workout clothes smelling fresh—no matter how hard you hit the gym.