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Why Do My Gym Clothes Smell So Bad?

April 13, 2022

Do you workout? If so, you’ve probably experienced this scenario—you’ve finished up at the gym just to realize that your clothes stink! Why does that happen? The short answer is your sweat. As it is, that plays a major role in why that is.

The Science Behind Stinky Sweat

We have two types of sweat glands—eccrine and apocrine. How are they different? The latter produces slightly salty sweat, which has minimal odor, whereas the latter is responsible for a thick, oily fluid. Yup, you guessed it, it’s what’s responsible for the smell.

Keep in mind, however, that it’s not the apocrine sweat itself, that’s stinky. It’s the bacteria on your skin that enjoy eating these oily compounds. Put it simply, they’re the ones who create the sink.

So Why Do My Clothes Smell Bad?

These smelly compounds ultimately cling to your clothes. This is what causes them to smell bad. As it is synthetic materials (the type that activewear is usually made of) is oil-loving. In other words, apocrine sweat will be stuck on there good. This means that they’ll be extra smelly, compared to say, something made from cotton.

Why Is It So Difficult To Get Rid of the Smell?

Generally speaking, that has to do with how you do your laundry. As mentioned earlier, the smelly compounds tend to grab tightly onto the fibers. Given that, you want to make sure that wash them properly. For example, a traditional detergent will do you no good in getting rid of the smell. Why? They’re not capable of penetrating deep into the fibers, where these compounds are. As a result, they’ll be left on the fabric. This means that your shirt or pants will still have the odor even after they’ve been washed.

The best way to fix this problem is to use a specialized product—such as ACTIVE detergent. Not only is it able to penetrate deep into the fibers, but it’s also able to dissolve the compounds with enzyme action. Put it simply, it’ll get rid of the smell by treating the root of the problem.

What Else Can I Do About the Stink?

There are other household tricks that you can use to get rid of the stink. For example, it helps to dry your clothes out in the sun. The UV rays from kill the bacteria that’s causing the odor. Not to mention that it’ll also break down the smelly compounds. Just keep in mind that some clothes may fade in the sunlight.

You can also soak your garments in white vinegar. A weak acid, it will effectively kill the odor-causing bacteria on your clothes. Bleach is another option, however, it can fade colors, so be careful when you use it.

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