After a successful workout, your athleticwear is covered in sweat, dead skin cells, and oils. Clean your clothes thoroughly without ruining the fabric. Use these five essential tips for clean workout clothes.
1. Air Them Out
The sooner you can get out of your sweaty activewear, the better you’ll feel. If you can’t immediately wash your garments, avoid piling them up in the hamper.
Instead, let air circulate around the clothing to help it dry out quickly. Drying these items out will prevent odor-causing bacteria from multiplying on the fabric. You can use a mesh laundry hamper to improve air circulation or hang your clothes to air dry until you can wash them.
2. Turn Clothes Inside-Out Before Washing
Unless otherwise noted in the care instructions on the garments, turn your workout clothes inside out before putting them in the washing machine. Doing this will make it easier for the machine to clean the sweat, oils, and dead skin cells from the fabric that directly touched your skin.
Turning clothes inside out can also protect the fabric’s prints and colors. The clothes will be more thoroughly cleaned and look better.
3. Wash Gently
Follow the care instructions on each garment’s label for essential washing information that will extend the life of your clothes. Washing gently will effectively clean the clothes and minimize damage.
Washing in cool or cold water rather than hot water slows color fading and prevents the fabric from shrinking. You might also be able to hand-wash some garments between full washes. How often you should wash your base layers and other activewear depends on the type of fabric and your activity.
4. Don’t Use Too Much Detergent
Another essential tip for clean workout clothes is to avoid using too much detergent. You might feel tempted to add more detergent when washing dirty gym clothes, but it won’t make your laundry cleaner.
In fact, too much detergent can damage your clothes and prevent them from getting clean. If the washing machine doesn’t completely rinse the detergent off your clothes, the buildup will make your clothing look dingy. Not to mention, the filmy layer will trap dirt, sweat, and other debris more readily than clean fabric.
5. Avoid Fabric Softener
Liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets smell great and make fabrics feel softer, but they’re generally terrible for workout clothes.
Fabric softener coats fabric with a chemical compound that softens the fibers and makes them fluffy. However, most athletic clothing is made with carefully engineered moisture-wicking fabric. When softener coats the moisture-wicking material, it diminishes the fabric’s ability to manage sweat. So, avoid adding fabric softener to the wash if you wear moisture-wicking workout clothes.