How To Get That Funky Smell Out Of Workout Clothes

Because who wants to wash them every time?


by Zing Tsjeng |
Published on

After a hardcore workout, the last thing you want to do is deal with your sweaty workout clothes. If you’re like me, you probably leave them lying around till your next gym sesh, whereupon you’ll be forced to re-wear a sports bra that now smells like death. Even worse, you might find that the smell doesn’t go away even after you wash it normally. What gives?

Well, most gymwear is made from synthetic materials (like Lycra or Spandex) which are water-resistant. This helps them to repel sweat, but it also makes it harder for water to penetrate their fibres in the washing process, which is why you might find it hard to wash the gym stink out of your workout gear.

The best thing to do is to toss your gym clothes into the washing machine as soon as you can. If you can’t do a laundry load for a while, you should hang them to dry – if you leave sweaty clothes to rot in a pile, they’ll breed mildew and mould spores. Pro tip: turn clothes inside-out and hang by a sunny window – sunshine is great at neutralising funky odours.

If you’re faced with a smell that particularly lingers, you can pre-treat your workout clothes with this simple bacteria-killing solution. Mix one cup of white distilled vinegar in a sink of cold water and leave your gymwear to soak for about half an hour. (Don’t worry, you won’t end up smelling like a salad – the vinegar smell will dissipate as the clothes dry.)

If you don’t have any vinegar to hand, you can squeeze a whole lemon into warm water, soak for the same amount of time and then scrub the armpits and any other funky-smelling areas in the water. Both the citric acid and the vinegar help to counteract smells and eliminate bacteria.

Once you’ve treated your clothes, you can throw them into the washing machine. Just halve the amount of detergent you would normally use and ditch the fabric softener – if too much soap builds up on your workout gear, it can often stop water from working its magic on the offending smell.

If you can’t be arsed to fiddle about with pre-soaking, you can also fork out a little over a fiver on a speciality detergent that is formulated especially for technical sportswear. Runners Needsell one by Halo for £5.99.

Lemons, vinegar and a little bit of know-how are pretty much all you need to never smell bad on your run. Until you start sweating again, obviously.

Follow Zing on Twitter @misszing

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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