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7 Essential Tips to Keeping Your Gym Clothes Fresh & Clean

by Ann Ferguson

It's no secret that when you work out, you sweat. And that sweat stays on your clothes. That's why keeping your workout clothes clean is important — especially if you want them to last. But wait! You can’t just wash them any kind of way, there are essential steps you should follow to keep your gym clothes in shape!

And we’re covering everything you need to know, including how to get rid of bacteria and odors and which washer settings are ideal. So, no matter if you work out occasionally or every week, you'll always have fresh and clean clothes to go to the gym in!

1. Soak Your Clothes in White Vinegar

Woman smelling funky clothes that should be clean

Do you feel like your gym clothes don't smell clean even if they just came out of the wash? It's most likely leftover sweat and oil that haven't been washed out.

One of the best ways to get rid of bacteria and odors in your workout clothes is to soak them in white distilled vinegar for 30 minutes before washing. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer and cleaner with a low acid level that will kill any bacteria lurking in your clothes and remove any lingering sweat smells.

So fill a basin or sink with cold water, add a cup of vinegar, and let your clothes soak for 30 minutes. Then swish them around and rinse thoroughly before putting them in the washer.

2. Wash ASAP

Once you've given your workout clothes a good soak, it is best to wash them immediately. And even if you don't get too sweaty during your workout and skip the pre-soak option, washing your gym clothes as soon as you're done using them is vital.

Immediately washing your gym clothes is the best way to remove bacteria that creates foul odors, so your clothes will always come out fresh!

Pro Tip: Add ½ cup of baking soda to the washer cycle and your gym clothes for extra odor-neutralizing!

3. Turn Your Clothes Inside Out

Clothes tag describing to put clothes inside out

Since most bacteria and oils will be on the inside of your clothes, you'll need to turn your gym clothes inside out before putting them in the wash. Turning them inside out ensures that any sweat or bacteria on the inside of the fabric gets washed away.

And your gym clothes will look newer for longer!

4. Wash with Like Fabrics

When washing performance fabrics, you must put them with other like fabrics. This means washing all your synthetic fabrics together in one load and washing natural fibers like cotton separately. If you mix up the fabrics, the performance fabrics in your gym clothes will pick up lint in the wash and get damaged by heavier clothing.

So, make sure to keep your loads separate!

5. Use Little Detergent

Hand dripping some detergent into dispenser

You might think that more detergent means a better clean, but you don't need much detergent to clean your workout clothes. Using too much detergent can actually leave behind a residue that traps sweat and bacteria and doesn't wash out.

Moisture-wicking fabrics also repel water during the rinse, which can also leave a film on your clothes that traps in odors. So stick to using just a small amount of detergent, about half the detergent you'd usually use for regular fabrics — don't worry; everything will still come out clean!

6. Don't Use Fabric Softener

If you're thinking about adding fabric softener to your gym clothes — DON'T! It's the worst thing for synthetic fabrics.

Fabric softener can leave behind a coating on your clothes that will bind odor-causing bacteria to your clothes' fibers. Not only will your workout clothes smell worse than usual, but they also won't perform as well.

But if you need to use something to soften your clothes, try adding a ½ cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle instead, which will safely soften the fibers and naturally kill any lingering odors.

7. How to Wash in the Washing Machine

Man hanging clothes out to dry

The best way to wash your workout clothes is in the washing machine. Just be sure to turn your clothes inside out, add the correct detergent (look for sportswear-specific detergent), use cold water, and set your washer on the gentle cycle. Then make sure to air dry your clothes since too much heat can ruin the fabric. But if you have to use the dryer, always use the lowest heat setting.

Pro Tip: To treat stains, dip an old, soft toothbrush in some detergent and scrub the area before putting your clothes to wash.

Get the Laundry Started

By following these simple tips, you can keep your workout clothes clean and fresh — no matter how much you sweat in them! But if your clothes still aren't coming out as clean as you'd like or your washer is getting old, it might be time to upgrade your laundry appliances at Downeast Home Appliance Center!

Have any questions? Give our experts a call or stop by — we'll help you select the laundry powerhouse that makes every laundry day a breeze!