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How to Wash Workout Clothes – Ultimate Guide

January 25, 2024

Struggling with sweat odors and stains on your gym clothes? On this page, we’ll be going over how to wash workout clothes effectively using the right detergents to enhance their longevity so that they’ll always be ready for your next gym session.

Choosing the Right Detergent for Activewear

Conventional detergents struggle to eliminate sweat, odors, and stains from your sportswear, as they are not designed to penetrate the tight weaves of synthetic fibers.

Not only that but they also leave residues that trap sweat and oils, leading to unpleasant odors and making subsequent cleaning more difficult.

Activewear detergents, on the other hand, are adept at confronting these laundry issues. They contain non-toxic ingredients that are less likely to irritate sensitive skin and are gentle on the fabric of your high-performance activewear.

ACTIVE Detergent – The Best Choice For Workout Gear

active laundry detergent

ACTIVE Laundry Detergent stands out among its counterparts. The formula includes plant-based enzymes that will effectively break down sweat and odor-causing agents without harming the fabric or your skin.

And it can be used to clean all types of athletic clothing, including:

  • Leggings
  • Yoga Pants
  • Workout Shirts
  • Shorts
  • Sports Bras
  • Compression Gear

Alternatives to Laundry Detergents

Dishwashing soap, shampoo, or even a grated bar of soap can serve as makeshift detergents in a pinch.

Remember to dissolve the bar soap in hot water and use vinegar or lemon juice in the rinse cycle to eliminate any detergent residue.

Preparing Your Workout Clothes for Washing

First things first, examine your activewear for any stains or areas that may need pre-treatment. Turning your garments inside out is also highly recommended. That will allow for an effective clean on the most sweat-affected areas and will also reduce color bleeding, and preserve fabric quality by minimizing friction.

Ensure all hooks are fastened, and zippers are closed to prevent tangling with other clothes during the wash cycle.

If your workout gear features decorative designs, sort and separate these items for extra protection against wear and potential damage.

Sorting by Fabric and Color

When it comes to washing, not all activewear is created equal. Sorting the garments in your laundry basket by fabric type and color before washing will help prevent damage and color bleeding.

Each fabric has specific care requirements during washing, and sorting them will ensure each type receives the attention it needs.

To minimize color bleeding, wash similar colors together. When mixing loads of different colors or fabric types, consider using a mesh bag – that will provide additional protection against snagging, especially for delicate fabrics.

Pretreating Stains and Odors

pretreating stains and odors

Sweat stains can be stubborn. But with an enzymatic stain remover, you can effectively treat color-based stains on workout clothes. For dirt, grease, or chalky deodorant marks, an oil-based remover is your go-to solution.

Persistent sweat odors can be a nuisance. Here’s a simple method to eliminate these odors before laundering:

  1. Create a solution of distilled white vinegar and cool water in a 1:4 ratio
  2. Pre-soak your workout clothes in the solution for 15 to 30 minutes
  3. Follow up with a thorough wash using an appropriate detergent
  4. Remember to test the stain remover on an inconspicuous spot of the fabric before applying it fully.

Washing Techniques for Different Types of Activewear

With most types of activewear, you want to use a gentle cycle with cold water to protect the fabrics.

Leggings and athletic tights should be turned inside out before washing to preserve color and prevent fabric pilling. Placing them in a mesh washing bag will also protect them from snagging and damage inside the washing machine drum.

Activewear-specific detergent like ACTIVE Laundry Detergent can help maintain the elasticity of leggings and reduce the risk of pilling. Select a delicate cycle with cool water and a low spin when washing leggings to prevent shrinkage.

Athletic bras, on the other hand, should be hand-washed or machine-washed on a gentle cycle with cold water and mild detergent. When machine washing bras, be sure to place them in a mesh bag along with other delicate underwear to maintain their shape and prevent tangling.

These washing instructions can be followed to wash all kinds of activewear from any brands including:

  • Afitne
  • Albion Fit
  • Alternative Apparel
  • Ardene
  • ASOS 4505
  • Balance Athletica
  • Bandier
  • Boody
  • Boohoo Sportswear
  • C9 Champion
  • Crossfit Clothing
  • Dragon Fit
  • Everlane
  • Forever 21
  • Geyoga
  • Good American
  • Groceries Apparel
  • Indigo Luna
  • Juno Active
  • Kyodan
  • Lemedy
  • Levi’s Athleisure
  • Lolë
  • Mippo
  • Missguided
  • Nagnata
  • Nimble
  • No Nonsense
  • Oiselle
  • Omkagi
  • Onzie
  • Organic Basics
  • Outdoor Voices
  • Pact
  • Prana
  • Pretty Green
  • Real Essentials
  • Reformation
  • Running Girl
  • Ryderwear
  • Set Active
  • Spiritual Gangster
  • Splits59
  • STAX
  • Tamga Designs
  • Tasc Performance
  • Tentree
  • The Gym People
  • The Upside
  • Threads 4 Thought
  • Titika
  • TMPL
  • Universal Standard
  • Upside Down
  • Varley
  • Wanayou
  • WodoWei
  • Year of Ours
  • Zeeshy

Hand Washing Tips

how to hand wash workout clothes

Hand washing is the gentlest option when it comes to washing activewear. Use cold water and delicate detergent specifically designed for activewear to avoid damage.

To hand wash activewear, follow these steps:

  1. Soak the item for 30 to 60 minutes in cold water, ensuring that the detergent is fully absorbed
  2. After soaking, rinse the item with cool water
  3. Gently press out excess water from the garment, avoiding any twisting or wringing that can cause damage

Drying and Caring for Your Activewear

drying and caring for activewear

Your drying method can considerably affect the lifespan of your activewear. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Lay activewear flat to air dry
  • Avoid using high heat settings in the dryer to prevent fabric damage
  • Skip the fabric softener when washing activewear as it can leave a waxy layer that will hinder the fabric’s ability to wick moisture and may cause the clothing to lose its shape

Keeping your activewear clean and stored in a dry spot can deter bugs or larvae from being attracted to any lingering organic stains. To prevent pilling and maintain elasticity, consider using a sweater comb on areas of high friction and avoid exposing the clothes to heat.

Air Drying Techniques

Air drying is without a doubt the best drying technique for activewear. Skipping the tumble dryer is crucial as high heat can break down fibers and elastic, causing the clothes to sag and lose their performance capabilities.

Leggings should be laid flat to air dry to preserve their elasticity and prevent warping, while sports bras should be hung up to dry.

To minimize the risk of fiber degradation, activewear should be air-dried away from heaters or direct sunlight, in locations such as drying racks or clotheslines.

Machine Drying Precautions

While machine drying may be convenient, it can significantly shrink clothes due to mechanical agitation and forced air, impacting the activewear’s size and fit.

Repeated tumble-drying cycles can also weaken the fabric over time, leading to premature wear and tear.

To reduce the risk of fabric damage, always use the lowest heat setting.

Storing and Maintaining High-Performance Activewear

what to wear at gym

Here are some tips for storing your activewear:

  1. Fold each item and store them in a breathable area rather than hanging. This method helps retain its shape and prevents stretching
  2. Consider folding and stacking items vertically in drawers for easy viewing and access
  3. Use boxes without lids for items that unfold easily.

By following these storage tips, you can ensure that your activewear stays in great condition for longer.

Don’t forget to cycle through your activewear collection to prevent rapid wear and tear. Also, be aware that hanging these garments can stretch elastane fibers and create pucker marks.

Folding vs. Hanging

Storing your folded activewear vertically in drawers offers several benefits – it will:

  • Preserve the form of your activewear
  • Enhance visibility and accessibility
  • Reduce time spent searching for specific items
  • Enhance your workout preparation process

Organizing Your Activewear

organizing your activewear

Open-topped boxes are a great way to store your activewear as they’ll help prevent items like leggings, running shorts, and sports bras from becoming unfolded.

Employing a ‘filing technique’ to store clothes vertically in drawers can also maximize space efficiency and enhance the visibility and accessibility of individual items.

Small activewear accessories like socks and hair bands should be stored in drawers, which will help keep them organized.

Washing Workout Clothes – Overview

We’ve covered the importance of using activewear-specific detergent and alternatives, preparation before washing, and the best practices for machine and hand washing.

We’ve also provided valuable tips on air drying and machine drying precautions, along with advice on how to store and maintain your high-performance activewear.

Remember, your activewear is designed to support and enhance your performance during workouts. As such, taking the necessary steps to care for them, not only increases their longevity but also ensures they continue to serve you effectively. Let’s give our activewear the care it deserves!

Washing High-Performance Workout Clothes – FAQs

Can you put gym clothes in the washing machine?

Yes, you can put gym clothes in the washing machine. Use a delicate or gentle cycle with cold water and avoid using fabric softener or bleach for best results. You can even wash your gym bag in the same cycle.

Should you put gym clothes in the dryer?

washing high performance workout clothes

Avoid putting them in the dryer as the heat can damage the elastic bands. Instead, opt for air-drying or use the tumble dry low setting if necessary.

How do you wash stinky gym clothes?

To wash stinky gym clothes, soak them in a mix of one part distilled white vinegar to four parts cold water immediately after wearing them, and then wash as usual or use powdered oxygen bleach.

Should I wash sweaty clothes in hot or cold water?

Wash sweaty clothes in cold water to avoid shrinking, fading, and setting stains.

Why can’t I use regular laundry detergent for my workout clothes?

Regular laundry detergent can leave residue on workout clothes, trapping sweat and oils and causing unpleasant smells.

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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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