After a long run or a hard workout at the gym, the last thing I’m thinking about is how to properly clean my gym clothes. In fact, I had no clue there was a specific way to wash athletic clothing until my wife scolded me as I went to do a load. It turns out it is very easy to ruin that expensive gym clothing if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Athletic clothing today is made of synthetic fabrics which are designed to wick moisture away from your body. This fabric is great when working up a sweat, but there are a few care instructions you will need to follow when cleaning your clothing after a workout.
Here are four rules for the best way to wash workout clothes:
- Don’t put clothing made of cotton into a load with your gym clothes. Cotton fluff can become attached to the synthetic fabric and will decrease the effectiveness of it. A good rule to stick to is to only wash your athletic clothing with other athletic clothing. Jeans and clothing with zippers on them can be damaging to the synthetic fibers.
- In most cases, cold wash on a gentle cycle. My instinct was to throw my clothes in for a hot and heavy washing session, but this can damage the fabric and reduce the life expectancy of your clothing. It is also a good idea to use less laundry detergent, as using too much will clog the fabric.
- Either dry on low or lay flat. High heats can actually melt the fabric which may damage the garment’s breathability and stretchiness.
- Never use fabric softener or dryer sheets. These will leave behind a coating that will prevent the clothing from absorbing moisture. If you accidentally use fabric softener or dryer sheets on your athletic clothing, wash the item again to restore their moisture-wicking abilities.
Also, here’s the answer that common question: “How do I get rid of the bad smell in my workout clothes?”
If you find your workout odors are lingering after washing your clothes, try using white vinegar in the rinse cycle or try switching to a liquid laundry detergent designed specifically for athletic clothing (i.e. WIN, Tide® Plus Febreze Freshness Sport, Atsko™ Sport Wash). Another option is to air dry your items, but do not dry them in direct sunlight, as the heat can damage the exercise clothing.