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Tips to Extend the Life of Your Workout Clothing

April 17, 2019

Exercise is important. It’s one of the best things that you can do for your health. The benefits will be there whether you’re going for a run or attending a spin class.

This might seem obvious but you always want to make sure that you’re wearing proper apparel when you’re working out. For instance, you wouldn’t want to wear a pair of jeans to the gym—that wouldn’t do you any good! Ideally, you want to wear something comfortable that will allow for a wide range of motions.

Enter activewear. These types of garments are specifically designed for exercise purposes. Not only are they comfy, but they’re made from special fibers that give it unique properties. For example, most athletic clothing is cut from synthetic materials, which are known for their moisture-wicking finish. Essentially, what this does is that it allows them to pull perspiration from the skin—this prevents you from getting wet and clammy at the gym.

The Importance of Washing Your Workout Clothing

Chances are, your workout clothing would have come into contact with sweat during your workout. Most, if not all of them are close-fitting after all. Given that, it’s not uncommon for them to develop a stink (you know what I mean).

why you should wash your activewear

For hygiene purposes, you always want to wash your activewear after exercising. The worst thing that you can do is to leave it in a pile in your room—that pile of clothes will only get stinkier and grosser with time. You wouldn’t want people to associate you with the smell, would you?

Normal Wearing and Tearing

Over time, your workout clothes will wear down. The ends will fray and the elastic will loosen. In some cases, the colors might even fade as well. That’s normal—that’s just the way things are. You can’t expect the fibers to last forever, after all.

With that said, it is totally possible for you to extend the life of your clothes. Essentially, what you want to do is just to take good care of them. Don’t treat them like normal garments. Remember, they’re special—they have a purpose. They’re meant for you to exercise in.

Activewear isn’t cheap. By extending their life, you’ll also be able to get your money’s worth! Is that something that you’re interested in? If so, be sure to read on—we’ll be sharing some of our best tips below!

The Best Ways To Extend the Life of Your Workout Clothing

As it turns out, there are several things that you can do to ensure that your workout clothes will last a long time. Follow along and you’ll be glad you did!

1. Hand Wash Your Garments

Just because your workout clothes are machine washable doesn’t mean that you should toss them into the washer. Over time, the materials will wear out from all of the throwing around that goes on inside.

Ideally, you want to wash your activewear by hand—that’s the gentlest method, after all. It’s not that difficult either. Simply fill your sink with water and add a scoop of ACTIVE detergent. Submerge your items once the solution is thoroughly mixed. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes before rubbing the material gently with your hands. Rinse out the soap suds with running water and they’re ready to be dried. For the best results, line them dry.

2. Pass on the Dryer

dont put activewear in dryer

As a general rule, you never want to put your activewear into the dryer—even if the care tag label says it’s okay. As it is, almost all workout clothes are made from synthetic materials and they do not like being in high heat. What happens is that the temperature will cause the technical fibers to deteriorate, quickly.

There’s another plus of not using the dryer—you’ll minimize greenhouse gases and save on your electricity bill! It’s a win-win situation!

3. Do Not Use Fabric Softeners

A lot of people use fabric softeners. The truth is, however, it should never be used on athletic clothing. The way these conditioners work, they will coat your garments with a certain chemical compound. In doing so, it will hinder the item’s ability to pull sweat away from your skin. In other words, there’s a greater chance that you’ll stay uncomfortably clammy throughout your workout.

Want to soften your clothes? Try white vinegar. It’s all natural and will not leave any type of substance on your garments. It also works incredibly well as a softening agent! Simply add one cup to your washer when you’re washing your clothes.

4. Don’t Overdo it with the Detergent

Laundry detergent is essential when it comes to washing workout clothes. However, you never want to add too much—that will cause them to get stuck in the fibers. More often than not, it will be difficult to rinse out, even if you use the washer.

dont use too much detergent

If you don’t rinse it out, the detergent in your clothes can cause skin irritation. If you want to rinse it out, however, you’ll need to wash it again, which will cause the item to wear out faster. After all, it’s the washing process that really wears down your clothes.

5. Always Wash With Cold Water

Remember to always wash your activewear with cold water—whether you’re washing by hand or by machine. Despite being “heat-resistant”, many man-made fibers will wear out much in hot water. They’re just not made to withstand such high temperatures.

Wouldn’t you want to save some money on your electricity bill?

6. Wash Your Workout Clothes Separately

Often times, it’s fine to wash your activewear with other clothes (given that they’re of similar colors). If you want them to last, however, you might want to consider washing them separately. After all, your workout garments can easily be damaged by zippers, velcros, and other hardware—polyester and similar materials are just prone to snagging.

It might take some more work having to separate your laundry into different loads, but trust me, it’s definitely worth it.

7. Protect Your Activewear with Mesh Laundry Bags

Hand washing is ideal. However, it’s not always practical. In some cases, you will have to depend on your washing machine. Instead of just tossing your workout clothes in, though, you should do an extra step to protect them—that is, you should put them in a mesh laundry bag. By doing that, you’ll prevent them from coming into direct contact with the rest of your laundry (i.e. prevent damage from snags).

use laundry bags

Don’t have a mesh laundry bag? Why not improvise? You can easily use a clean pillowcase for the same purpose. Simply put your activewear in and tie off one end with an elastic.

8. Always Air Out Your Workout Clothes

Did you just come home from the gym? If so, be sure to air out your workout clothes—that’s the least that you can do if you don’t have time to wash them. What good will it do? It will prevent moisture from building up in the material. This is important—after all, odors will form in moist environments, including your gym shirt.

Not just contaminants (which are responsible for the icky odors, by the way), but other residues will set-in to your clothes. In the end, you’ll need to use more detergent to wash it all out, which will cause your garment to wear out faster.

9. Let Them Dry Completely Before Putting Them Away

About to put your gym clothes away after washing them? Great! You just want to make sure that they’re completely dry beforehand. As mentioned earlier, odors thrive in moist environments. For this reason, you never want to put wet items in your dresser—the odors will only grow on the fabric!

Here’s the takeaway message—feel the material and check to see that it’s fully dry before putting them away.

10. Rotate Your Workout Clothes

Don’t wear the same outfit every time you hit the gym—rotate your clothes. Try to have at least a few that you can switch between; that way, you won’t have to wash them as frequently, which would mean that they wouldn’t wear out as quickly.

11. Wash Your Activewear Right Away

We mentioned this earlier but you want to wash your activewear right away after coming home. The longer you wait, the greater the chance of odors locking into the fabric. Not only that, but your clothes will get smelly—fast! You wouldn’t want to struggle with odors now, would you?

12. Wash Your Workout Clothing Inside Out

It doesn’t matter whether you’re washing your clothes by hand or by machine—you always want to turn them inside out. Why? That will prevent the outer surface from rubbing against your other garments, which can damage the material. Not only that, but it will prevent lint from building up!

turn your clothes inside out

To top it all off, turning them inside out also makes them easier to wash. It makes sense when you think about it—after all, you’re exposing the dirty layer to the outside, where the water and detergent are.

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Picture of Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

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