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Washing & Care Guide for Athleta Leggings & Clothing

November 8, 2023

Athleta is a premium fitness and lifestyle brand that sells women’s activewear. Some of their products include jackets, sports bras, tops, bottoms, swimwear, and dresses.

Since the late ’90s, they have also been selling sport-specific apparel such as those for hiking, dancing, tennis, and golf.

More About the Company

how to wash athleta clothesAthleta was founded by a group of women, all of whom were involved with different sports, in 1998.

Working together, they created Pilayo, a breathable, wicking fabric, which they used to help launch the brand. Soon, they began to sell apparel for different sports such as surfing, snowboarding, and skiing.

Years later, they were purchased by Gap, Inc. for $150 million.

As of 2024, Athleta products can be found online and in their brick-and-mortar stores. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 150 locations.

Taking Care of Their Products

Their apparel isn’t exactly cheap, however, you do get what you pay for in terms of quality.

To ensure your clothes last, it’s also important to care for them properly and that means following the correct washing instructions.

Using the proper detergent is also important as it can affect the fabric’s integrity.

Standard Fabrics Used by Athleta

Athleta mainly uses synthetic fabrics for their activewear. Not only are they more comfortable than traditional fibers but they also have moisture-wicking properties, which will keep the wearer dry.


Polyester is a common synthetic material that’s durable and can withstand a good amount of wear and tear.

On top of that, it holds its dye well, which leads to less fading. While it’s not particularly absorbent, it dries super quickly and is also wrinkle-resistant.

Athleta uses polyester (sometimes recycled) in their: leggings, joggers, tees, sports bras, tops, jackets, shorts, skorts


Nylon is similar to polyester in that it’s lightweight and quick-drying. It’s also naturally hydrophobic, meaning that the fibers will expel water to the surface of the garment.

Athleta uses nylon (sometimes recycled) in their: leggings, tights, swimwear, underwear, shorts, skorts, capris


Spandex/Elastane is known for its remarkable elasticity and is often incorporated into clothing with polyester. Not only is it comfortable but it’s also resistant to moisture. However, it is sensitive to heat and tends to stick to the skin.

Note: Lycra is the brand name of the original spandex that was created in the late ’50s. Spandex is also the same as elastane.

Athleta uses spandex in their: leggings, tights, shorts, skorts, sports bras, bras, capris

Athleta’s Proprietary Fabrics

Like most activewear companies, Athleta also has its own proprietary fabrics that it uses for its products.


washing athleta fabricsThe Powervita line was launched in 2017. The fabric is not only soft but also has the right amount of support and compression. To date, it’s one of their best-selling collections. Powervita is used in their tights, bras, tanks, and capris.


Powerlift offers more support and compression than Powervita. The fabric is used in their tights, bras, support tops, shorts, and even their headbands.

Featherweight Stretch

Featherweight Stretch is unique in that it’s made out of recycled polyester. Not only is it sleek but it’s lightweight and stretchy.

It’s also fully breathable and provides UPF 50+ protection for outdoor activities. This fabric is used in their shorts, tanks, ankle pants, shorts, joggers, and more.


Their Speedlight collection is great for medium and high-impact workouts. It’s seamless and comfortable and will stretch with every one of your movements.

This makes it great for both indoor and outdoor routines. Their Speedlight line includes their tanks, tops, and tees.


Their Foothill line is specially designed for indoor and outdoor yoga practice. It’s chafe-free and designed to stretch with every move. This type of fabric is used in their tees, tanks, and long sleeves.


Their Renew collection is designed for travel, work, and commuting. Not only is it breathable but it also wicks sweat so that you’ll stay dry during your workout. This line includes various tanks and tees.

How to Wash Athleta Leggings, Shorts and Skorts

Their leggings, shorts, and skorts can be machine-washed or hand-washed. Here’s how.

Machine Washing Athleta Shorts, Leggings and Skorts

how to wash athleta leggingsBefore you wash Athleta leggings and other bottoms, turn them inside out. That will expose the sweat and oils on the inner layer, making it easier to wash out.

Place the pants in a laundry bag and toss them in the washing machine.

Measure one scoop of ACTIVE Detergent powder and pour it into the washer.

Pro-tip: Do not add fabric softener – it will coat the items with a layer of wax-like material that will impede the fabric’s ability to wick moisture.

Choose a delicate or gentle wash cycle and run a cold wash.

Take the leggings and shorts out of the laundry bags once the cycle is finished, and allow them to drip dry. Do not put the items in the dryer – high heat can damage the synthetic fibers.

Washing Athleta Yoga Pants, Shorts and Skorts by Hand

Washing by hand is another option.

Fill a large sink with water and add a small amount of ACTIVE Detergent powder. Once the solution is thoroughly mixed, place the shorts and skorts in. Soak them for at least 15 minutes.

Gently rub the material against itself to remove any loose oils and dirt.

Rinse the item with clean water afterward – continue until all soap suds are washed off.

Allow the items to air dry afterward, ideally in a well-ventilated space, away from direct sunlight. Do not put the items in the dryer.

Note: You can wash their pants, joggers, tanks, long sleeves the same way.

Best Way to Wash Athleta Underwear

Their underwear can be put in the washer or washed by hand, the latter being the gentler option.

Putting Athleta Underwear Into the Wash

athleta washing instructionsTheir underwear can be machine-washed as long as you take the proper steps. Start by putting them in a mesh lingerie bag – that will prevent them from being stretched and snagged.

Place the bag in the washing machine and add one scoop of ACTIVE Detergent powder. Avoid using chlorine bleach or fabric softener.

Choose a delicate cycle and wash with cold water.

Once the wash cycle is finished, take the items out of the bags and hang them up on a clothesline to air dry. Do not put them in the dryer. Not only will it damage the elastic, but it will also cause the fabric to wear out quickly.

Handwashing Athleta Underwear

Fill a tub or large sink with water and dissolve a bit of ACTIVE Detergent to create a bath.

Place the undergarments in the detergent solution and let them soak for at least 15 minutes.

Gently rub the fabric against itself to remove any dirt or oils. Rinse the item with clean water afterward to remove the soap suds.

Never wring or twist the nylon-polyester material as that can lead to stretching. Line dry instead. Do not put the undergarments in the clothes dryer.

How to Clean Athleta Sports Bras and Bras

Their bras are similar to the rest of their synthetic clothes and can be put in the washing machine or washed by hand in a sink or tub.

Washing Sports Bras and Bras in the Washing Machine

Close all clasps, and place the bras in a mesh bag. Make sure the bag is zipped up and place it in the washer.

Note: You can wash their sports bras and bras with other gym clothes as long as you’re not mixing lights with darks.

washing athleta sports brasMeasure and add one scoop of ACTIVE Detergent to the tub or dispenser drawer.

Choose a gentle cycle and run with cold water. Avoid using hot water – you don’t want to expose your bras to unnecessary heat as that can cause the fabric to shrink.

Allow the cycle to run.

Wait until the wash cycle is complete before taking the bras out. Drape them over a drying rack and allow them to air dry. Do not put them in the dryer.

Washing Athleta Sports Bras and Bras Manually

You’ll want to soak the items in a sink or tub filled with soapy water. To do that, mix cold water with a bit of ACTIVE detergent powder.

Make sure the powder is fully dissolved and place the bras in the solution. Leave them in for 15 minutes, before gently massing the material to get rid of any remaining oil or sweat.

Rinse them under the faucet until the water runs clear.

Lay them on a dry towel and lightly press down on the fabric to remove the excess water.

Line or drip dry. Do not tumble dry.

Best Detergent for Athleta Brand Clothes

best detergent for athleta clothingACTIVE Detergent is the best choice for Athleta leggings and their other clothes. The reason is simple; it’s specifically formulated with synthetics in mind, meaning that it’ll be more effective than your average detergent.

Not only is it plant-based, but it also contains enzymes that will work at and remove tough odors. You can even use it to spot-treat tough stains.

Given that, there’s no reason not to give it a try!

How to Wash Athleta Leggings and Other Clothing – FAQs

Can you put Athleta yoga pants in the washing machine?

Yes, their yoga pants and leggings are made of a synthetic blend, meaning that you can safely put them in the washing machine.

To ensure they last, it’s highly recommended that you place them in a mesh laundry bag. That will prevent the fabric from rubbing against other items during the wash cycle, which can cause it to deteriorate prematurely.

Should you wash Athleta clothes with cold or hot water?

It’s best to wash your Athleta activewear with cold water as hot water can cause damage to the material over time.

How can you remove grease stains from Athleta leggings?

You can spot-treat the stain with ACTIVE Detergent. Dissolve a small amount of the powder in a bowl of water and apply it directly onto the problem area with a soft bristle brush or sponge.

Let it sit on the stain for 15 to 20 minutes – that will give the detergent time to work its magic.

Rinse the area with clean water afterward and launder as normal. If the stain is still present, repeat the steps.

How can you deodorize Athleta leggings?

You can remove odors from your leggings by adding baking soda or white vinegar during the final rinse cycle. You can also soak them in a vinegar and water solution.

Can you wash Athleta clothes with other activewear?

Yes, you can wash their activewear with other clothes as long as you’ve sorted out the colors beforehand. Remember, you never want to wash brightly colored items with dark-colored ones.

Also, we highly recommend placing the individual items in mesh laundry bags – that will prevent them from rubbing against each other during the wash.

Can you put Athleta bras in the clothes dryer?

No, it’s not recommended that you put your bras (or any delicates for that matter) in the dryer. The high temperature will damage the synthetic fibers, causing the item to wear out prematurely.

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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.

Comments (4)

  • Christal C Reply

    How can I clean the outer body of the tan Athleta Crossbody purse? It gets dirty very easy!

    June 30, 2023 at 12:55 pm
  • CE Reply

    How would you get grease stains out of the Powervita please?? Help!

    August 5, 2021 at 9:41 pm
  • barb Reply

    I purchased some athleta clothes today that have wrinkles in them from the store. I washed them in cold water, but the wrinkles are set. How do I get them to look decent?

    May 13, 2021 at 7:12 pm
  • Laura O'Leary Reply

    How do you specifically get deodorant and sunscreen marks out of Athleta swimwear ??

    April 22, 2019 at 7:43 am

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