Doing regular old laundry doesn’t rank high on most people’s favorite household chores list, but when you have loads of workout clothes to wash that require extra care, doing laundry can be even more of a time-consuming pain. Women’s activewear can’t just be thrown in with the towels and then dried along with everything else. To make sure your workout clothes stay in tip-top shape, make a note of these tips on how to wash workout clothes.
Less is more when it comes to detergent.
Contrary to what you might think, it’s not necessary to double up on detergent if your clothes are extra dirty. Though it may seem logical, more detergent doesn’t do a better job since washing machines have standard cycles that are only capable of processing a certain amount of detergent. The excess will just build up in your clothing and trap dead skin on your clothes. Shape magazine says this creates the perfect breeding ground for fungus. Eww! Oh, and skip the fabric softener. It’s not made for stretchy fabrics!
Hand wash whenever possible.
This is the top tip on how to wash workout clothes, and even though it’s a little more work, the results are well worth it. Keep in mind that workout clothes are made of delicate, stretchy fabrics that don’t take kindly to the rigorous cycles of your washer and dryer. Instead, hand wash your gym clothes with a mild detergent. Sometimes even the gentle cycle on your washer is too rough! If you must wash your workout clothes in a machine, choose a cold water cycle to prevent shrinkage and to stop the colors from bleeding.
Air drying is your friend.
The heat of a dryer will not do your workout wear any favors in the long-term and may even cause the item to shrink or wear out quicker than it should. Depending on the item, you can hang it or lay it flat to dry on a drying rack or outside (the sun is a fantastic odor neutralizer). Yes, this takes time so you may have to plan ahead if you know you wear a specific sports bra for a specific workout, but the benefits of air drying your workout clothes are worth the extra effort. If you don’t have time to air dry, make sure you use a low-heat setting on your dryer.
Wash inside out.
The fabric that was against your sweaty skin is what needs the most attention so turn your workout clothes inside out before you wash them to preserve the colors and make sure the dirtiest parts get the attention they need.
Use a specialty detergent.
Sometimes regular laundry detergent doesn’t cut it. To ensure a thorough clean, pick up a detergent that’s formulated specifically for gym clothes. Real Simple recommends Sports Suds which works its magic on tough stains and stinky clothes. It even works on sneakers!
Another tip? Pop the extra-delicate pieces like undergarments that are likely to snag in a mesh lingerie bag. And the strangest tip we’ve come across? Putting your smelly clothes in the freezer! Cleaning expert Jolie Kerr says it kills smells.