One down side to being a Fit Girl is that you’re laundry basket is never empty! Smashing a sweaty workout several times a week comes at the price of endless, smelly laundry. It’s about time that someone investigated how to wash smelly sportswear for us Fit Girls so we can keep our workout wardrobe looking as awesome as we feel and smelling good.
Why do people think we are always saying a Fit Girl can never have enough workout clothes?! Because we just can’t keep up with washing them! Maybe you’ll admit that you don’t wash your jeans or bra after every wear but how are you supposed to wash your workout clothes? Here are 4 things you need to know to do it right!
1. Detergent and dead skin
When it comes to washing workout clothes my natural instinct is to put them in with as much detergent as possible on high heat. Surely extra soap and heat is all it needs to get rid of the bacteria. WRONG. Adding extra detergent is actually worse. Your washing machine cycle is only set to handle so much soap so it can’t rinse all of the excess off in the same length of time, trapping dead skin cells into the fabric and bacteria continues to grow. If you feel like your clothes still smell, its probably mildew which feeds off of the soap that wasn’t washed off in the cycle! Yikes, less is more in this case!
2. Funky fragrances and fabric softeners
If you use fragranced fabric softener in your washing it makes sense that you would add it to your workout clothes too. They’re potentially the smelliest items in your wardrobe so why wouldn’t you want to walk into the gym smelling like fresh cotton or lavender fields (whatever your preference)?! But this is actually counter productive for the purpose of workout clothes because fabric softener traps fragrances into fabric. So in essence, you’re trapping the sweaty smelliness into the clothes! That certainly didn’t occur to me. Not only this, fabric softener damages anything that is elastic so it’s doing your gear more harm than good.
3. Do I have to wash my yoga pants as often as my running tights?
According to dermatoligist Dierdre Hooper, the answer is yes, you do have to wash them after every wear. You might think after an easy Hatha yoga class that didn’t you break a sweat but the tight fitting style of clothing means, sweat or no sweat, bacteria rubs off of you and onto your clothes while you wear them. She says, “Many of those bacteria will still be on those clothes the next day—possibly in higher number if they’ve multiplied, which they can do even when the clothes are dry.” Putting them back on means you expose yourself to now – fortified bacteria or yeast and risk irritating your skin and increase the chance of getting an infection!
4. So how do I kill all that nasty stuff without ruining them?
You are not doomed to smell forever don’t worry. Instead of following the normal washing procedure follow these steps to get keep your gear in good form and fresh ore you put them on!
- Turn everything inside-out to protect the colours. It’s also the inside of the clothes that need the deepest clean because that’s where all of the sweat and skin cells are rubbing onto!
- If you have the time to, soak clothes in a mixture of cold water and half a cup of white vinegar for 15 to 30 minutes before you put them in the machine. This cleans some of the gross stuff that has built up during and after your workout.
- Use a small amount of detergent, slightly less than the recommended amount for the size of the load.
- Wash your clothes in cold water as hot water can damage the fabric causing your beloved clothes to shrink! And the same goes for drying. Use the coolest setting on the dryer so as not to shrink them or better yet be eco-friendly too and let them dry by air!
Now you know how to wash smelly sportswear, get your dirty tights smelling clean, keep your workout wear in good condition and get even more out of your detergent! But it can be our little secret so that you can still use not having enough fresh sports clothes as the excuse to go and buy more, we won’t tell!
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