You’re separating lights and darks with the best of them, and woollen sweaters have taught you a lesson you’ll not soon forget. But what about the clothes you work out in? They get put through the wringer just like your body does, and may need more care when you wash them than your socks or T-shirts do.
But although your workout gear gets a lot dirtier than your everyday clothing does, they’re also quite delicate. And the pricey fabrics that make your clothing stretch right along with you and support you in your physical endeavours don’t react very well to either detergent or fabric softener. And in the same way that you wouldn’t jump into the bingo games free to play have to offer without learning the rules, make sure you know how to keep your duds in good condition before you wear them out!
Don’t Overdo it on the Detergent
Certain people may add a little extra detergent to their rank gym clothes, but this isn’t a great idea. Washing machines have standard cycles set to handle specific amounts of detergent, and the excess doesn’t get removed. It simply builds up on your clothes, trapping dead skin and creating the perfect environment for fungus to flourish.
Step Away from the Softener
Fabric softeners damage stretchy fabric and also leaves a coating behind that will catch odours. This can eventually become almost impossible to get rid off. Gym clothing often comes out of the wash without smelling particularly clean, and this is from fabric softeners actually locking the smells you want to get rid of in!
Adding a cup of white vinegar to your wash cycle can sort this issue out. It not only acts as a fabric softener but kills fetid odours as well, and it’s incredibly cheap.
The Ideal Way to Wash
The first thing you’re going to want to do is turn everything inside out. This will safeguard your colours and is effective because the dirtiest parts of your kit are on the inside. Soak your gear in a mixture of cold water and half a cup of white vinegar for between 15 and 30 minutes before you wash it. This will help eliminate odours and break down any build-up you may have created during your workouts. Use less detergent than what the product you’re using recommends, and wash with cold water. Hot water is responsible for breaking down textiles, which ultimately leads to shrinkage.
If you’re serious about dealing with smelly clothing, add another half a cup of white vinegar to your wash’s rinse cycle. Dry your clothes naturally if you can, or use your dryers’ lowest possible heat setting to avoid damage and shrinkage.
If you sweat very heavily you should also think about getting detergent specifically for gym clothing. There are several brands that have been created with cleaning high-performance gear in mind, and if you find yourself unable to get your kit as clean as you want it this may be the only way to go.