What comes first, the perfect workout clothes or the perfect exercise routine? Luckily, having a gym membership is no longer a prerequisite for wearing attractive, comfortable workout clothes. Whether you're sweating it out at the gym, walking around the block after dinner, or running to the supermarket in the morning, you can don your activewear with pride and confidence. No matter where you're going in your workout clothes, you want to look (and smell) your best and do what you can to protect your health. We've got some great tips on how to wash workout clothes so they're always clean, smelling fresh, and looking like you just bought them.
Let Your Workout Clothes Air-Dry Before Washing
If you're tempted to throw your workout clothes right into the washing machine after a sweaty workout, don't! If you've changed at the gym, get them out of your bag as soon as you step into the house. Activewear needs special care to get rid of odors, bacteria, and sweat stains, so before washing, hang them up and let them dry out.
Get Rid of All That Bacteria!Drying your workout clothes before washing them eliminates the warm, damp environment where bacteria thrive. Killing bacteria not only helps prevent smelly clothes, but it also protects you from annoying health conditions like:
- Yeast infections
- Skin rashes and other irritations
- Chafed nipples
Prep Your Workout Clothes Before Washing
- Turn them inside out to expose the sweatiest parts of your outfit.
- Spot clean stains from deodorant or heavy sweat on the inside. Apply a paste of baking soda and water and gently rub it into the fabric where the stains are.
- Soak your workout clothes in vinegar and water for 15 minutes before washing. All you need is half a cup of white vinegar in a tub of cool water to get rid of smells and bacteria.
- Protect your Leonisa sports bras and other delicate items by placing them in a separate mesh bag before washing.
Wash in Cold Water on a Gentle Cycle
Keep your workout clothes looking like new by washing them in cold water. Activewear is made of special materials that can shrink, lose color, or get damaged when washed in hot water. Using a gentle wash cycle also ensures that your activewear outfits don't get damaged in the machine. Make sure to read the care tag on each piece of clothing before you wash it the first time. Some pieces may not be washing-machine-compatible, so you should wash them by hand. You can make your workout clothes last longer if you care for them appropriately.
Choose the Right Detergent
You want to get the odors out of your sportswear, but you want to keep the material looking and feeling like new. That's why you should never use your everyday laundry detergent to wash your workout clothes. Look for a detergent that's specifically for activewear and sports bras. There are numerous brands available on the market, so you won't have trouble finding one that fits your budget and does a great job of cleaning your clothes. Don't add fabric softener! The ingredients in fabric softeners tend to coat the fibers of your clothing and build up over time. This buildup prevents the material from absorbing water during the wash cycle. You'll end up with dirty clothes that are less odor resistant.
Hang-Dry Your Workout Clothes
As soon as the wash cycle finishes, hang them to dry! Don't let them sit in the washing machine, and don't dry them in a dryer. Set up a foldable clothes-drying rack in a well-ventilated area and gently drape your outfit pieces over the rungs so they aren't overlapping. The drying time depends on the thickness of the material and the temperature of the room, but activewear typically dries quickly. Just make sure your clothes are completely dry before storing them. Avoid putting your activewear in direct sunlight because this could fade the fabric or damage the fibers.
Put Your Workout Clothes Away
When your sportswear outfits are nice and dry, fold them and put them away in a separate drawer. Keeping them separate from other clothes protects them from snagging on zippers and snaps. Rotate your outfits to reduce wear and tear and ensure you always have clean ones. Organize your closet so you can choose the best outfit to suit the activity or exercise of the day.