If you’re someone who engages in a lot of fitness activities, you probably already understand how important it is to take care of your workout clothes so that they don’t lose their special features like cooling effect or moisture wicking property, elasticity, etc.
Proper wash and care of fitness or performance apparel helps keep them in good condition and makes them last longer, which is a good thing because workout clothes aren’t exactly cheap, especially if you own a lot.
So you probably have the basics of laundry – like separating types of fabric and colors – down pat, but we’ve put together a few tips on how to handle your workout clothing when it comes to washing and drying them.
Take Them Out of Your Gym Bag & Air Them Out Or Hang Them Out to Dry
It’s best to wash your workout clothes as soon as possible, but if you can’t wash them right away, don’t leave them wet or damp inside your bag or in a stinky pile in your hamper. Hang or air them out so that they will be dry by the time you have time to wash them. Damp and smelly clothes can become a breeding ground for germs and molds or mildew, and these can get trapped within the fabric even after washing.
Check the Tags Or Labels for Wash Care Instructions
Different items of clothing have a different wash and care instructions. Check whether your clothes can be tossed in the washing machine or need to be washed by hand. Check also for temperature requirements since some fabrics are built for heat while others need to be washed solely in cold water.
Soak Them In Vinegar & Water
If you feel that your workout clothes are extra funky, you can try soaking them first in a mixture of one part white vinegar and four parts cold water for around 30 minutes before washing. It can help kill the odor and break down the dirt, bacteria, and what not that have accumulated in your clothing during your workout.
Turn Them Inside Out When Washing
All the sweat, bacteria, and oils from your body are mostly on the inside of your clothing, so turn them inside out for better chances of washing them away. Turning them inside out also protects the colors and any print or design that are on the outside of your clothing.
Wash Them in the Right Temperature
If you already checked the tag for care instructions, then you’ll know whether to use cold, warm, or hot water. Most, if not all, performance clothing are not built to withstand high heat and should be machine-washed or hand-washed in cold water to avoid damaging the fabric. You may also want to avoid the dryer altogether. High heat can shrink or damage the fabric.
Use Less Detergent & Avoid Fabric Softener
Don’t put too much detergent or you’ll risk having excess detergent that doesn’t get rinsed out. Excess detergent can build up in the fabric and trap dead skin cells, oils, and dirt. Avoid fabric softener as well since it can damage the stretchy material, and, like excess detergent, can also get trapped in the fabric and trap other particles in, which can lock the funky smells in. You can also try using a sports detergent, which is specially formulated for tech fabrics or high-performance clothing.
Hang Them to Dry.
Some workout clothes can stand being tumble dried, while others need to be handled with extra care. That is, no spin cycle, no dryer, no wringing to maintain the elasticity and fit of the material. Again, check the tag for instructions; if you want to be on the safe side, just air dry your workout clothes.
Additional tip: Wash your gym bag regularly as well. Remember, you put your sweaty and dirty workout clothes in there. Check the label to see if it’s machine-washable or if you need to clean it by hand with a sponge or soft brush. You can also give it a good wipe down with disinfectant wipes after every use.
Let us know what techniques you use to wash your workout clothes below!