The Best Way to Wash Workout Clothes
If you’re training for a Summer or Fall Race, welcome to what I call Laundry Season.
Sure, some people call this time of year Spring, but here in Florida it’s the start of the sweatiest time of the year. And sweaty season means more laundry.
I'm all in for the Palm Beaches Marathon Weekend, which means I'll be running a lot during Laundry Season. That’s why it seems like a good time to share these tips. If you’re like me, you want your active wear to smell fresh and last a long time.
Keep reading for performance wear laundry tips that work for me.
1. Don't Let Your Running Gear Grow Bacteria & Mold
Did you know that smelly bacteria and mold grow faster in a pile of sweaty clothes? It's true! Bacteria loves living in damp synthetic material.
It's hard to wash workout clothes immediately, but it's easy to reduce the chance of mold, bacteria and funky smells.
If you can't wash right away, hang your sweaty clothes on your shower curtain rod, a hook or outside after you workout. Let your clothes fully air dry cuts down on the growth of bacteria. And remember, bacteria = smell.
2. Ditch the Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets
It might seem like a good idea to add fabric softener to the wash, but it's never a good idea to use it on your expensive performance wear.
Fabric softener is absorbed into synthetic fabrics. The residue builds up making it harder and harder to get your gear clean. Instead of helping, it makes odors and sweat cling to your clothes.
This advice goes for both liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets. Just don't do it.
3. Air Dry Your Performance Gear
Just like hot water can ruin the longevity of your gym clothes, so can hot air. It breaks down the elastic and makes colors fade. Heat also can bake the stink into fabric.
Don't EVER dry your workout gear on high heat in the dryer. Instead, consider air drying your clothes outside on a line, inside on hangers or a clothes rack.
If that isn't an option, use air dry or the lowest heat setting on your machine.
Air drying is the best way to preserve the elasticity and colors in your sportswear.
More Tips for Taking Care of Your Running Clothes
Those are my top 3, easy-to-do tips. If you want more, try the suggestions below. I've used them all and my workout gear definitely smells good and lasts a lot longer.
Good luck, and Happy Laundry Season!
Wash Your Clothes Inside Out
Washing clothes inside-out helps protect the color, and gives your activewear a deeper clean. Think about it — the inside of your clothes is where the real dirt happens. Armpit stains, body bacteria, etc. Turning things inside out before washing puts the bacteria in direct contact with water and detergent.
Pre-soak to Eliminate Odors
You can use a commercial oxidizing additive or white vinegar to help get out hearty smells.
Presoaking your clothes for an hour or more in half a cup of white vinegar mixed with cold water helps remove stinky odors as well as break down sweat stains. You can use the presoak cycle on your machine, or do it in a sink or bathtub.
Another option is to add an oxidizing agent like Oxiclean in your washing machine load. I've been doing this forever. It's easy and definitely gets the stink out.
Use a Sports-Specific Detergent
Detergents made especially for activewear are specially formulated for moisture-wicking fabrics. They're made to fight odor and deep clean synthetic materials. They're definitely worth trying on your expensive performance outfits.
Just remember, with detergent more doesn't equal better. Adding extra detergent makes it harder for your washing machine to rinse out your clothes. Soap buildup acts like a sweat and odor magnet. Too much soap is a bad idea.
Garden of Life Palm Beaches Marathon Weekend
I’m thrilled to be running the Garden of Life Palm Beaches Half for the first time in December. Discount code coming soon!
I'm so excited that I'm determined to train all Summer. I'll be using all these laundry tips to help me get through the sweaty season.
Check out the race events and course below. Click any image to register and join me in West Palm Beach in December!
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March 13, 2023