What Is The Best Way To Clean Gym Clothes And Sportswear?

Most gym and workout clothes are made from synthetic materials due to their ability to provide fast wicking and to boost your performance. While synthetic materials may help to improve your workout, they are also really good at retaining sweat and odour, even after washing.

If you find that your workout gear still smells, even after a wash, then follow this handy guide for ensuring you smell fresh the next time you hit the gym and make sure that your expensive performance sports clothes last longer.

How To Clean Odour-Infested Gym Clothes

If your sports gear has a noticeable whiff, then get rid of the smell by following these simple tips.

Odour-Infested Gym Clothes


1. Air dry before a wash

If you are not washing your clothes instantly, then make sure you allow your gym clothes to air dry rather than putting them in a damp heap on the floor/in the laundry basket before the next wash. Leaving clothes in a moist pile creates the ideal breeding ground for bacteria, making your clothes even smellier.

2. Wash well

Make sure to turn all your clothes inside out, then add them to the washing machine with half the amount of detergent that the detergent maker suggests and around 300ml or 16 tablespoons of white vinegar. Then wash the clothes in cold water.  The vinegar works to break down the bacteria which causes the smell.

distilled white vinegar

After the wash, you may notice a slight smell of vinegar, but it quickly disappears as your clothes dry.

Top tip: Sometimes it is the overuse of detergent that causes the smell because the fibres in the clothes still retain the soap suds from the last wash. The bacteria then feed on the soap to create a more powerful aroma. With this in mind, try to refrain from using too much detergent in future.

3. Ditch the softener

Fabric softener may make clothes soft, but it creates a coating on clothes. This means that it is harder for water and detergent to get to the fibres through the coating making the garments much harder to clean. While fabric softener is great for jumpers, skip softener on gym wear or any other moisture-wicking and stretchy fabrics.

Top tip: You can find odour-eliminating products to add to your wash or even sports-specific detergent in you want to protect your gym clothes.

4. Air dry (if possible)

Heat helps to increase odours. For your sportswear, it is best to air dry items if you can. If you are short on time use the no-heat or low-heat setting on your tumble dryer.

Top tip: Workout clothes last longer the less that they are exposed to heat.

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