We love fabrics like Spandex and Lycra in our gym clothes because they’re great for wicking off perspiration when we’re burning those calories. But that sour-salty smell that seeps into them forever after and that you can’t seem to get rid of no matter how many times you throw them in the wash? No thanks.
Unfortunately, it’s precisely the water-repellent nature of these synthetic fabrics and the build-up of our body oil and detergent in them that prevents our workout wear from getting fully cleaned in the washing machine. Plus the gradual accumulation of oil, bacteria and dirt can create a thriving environment for fungus – yikes!
If you’re tired of wasting good money on those Lululemons or Lorna Janes, only to have them stink to high heavens after, it’s time to learn the proper way to wash them. Here’s how, in five easy steps.
#1 Turn everything inside-out before washing
…Because most of the gross stuff tends to build up from within.
#2 Air-dry your clothes first
Don’t ball up your exercise gear and let it soak in perspiration till the next laundry day. Not only will that make it reek, mould and mildew may also begin to surface over time. Hang each piece to dry as soon as you get home in a well-ventilated space, and wash as soon as possible.
#3 Soak in vinegar before washing
Soak your gear in a mixture of cold water and half a cup of white vinegar for 20 minutes before throwing it into the wash. For, uh, extreme cases, add another half-cup of vinegar to your machine’s rinse cycle. This will help eliminate odours.
#5 Go easy on the detergent
Use a little less than the recommended amount for your load. Excess detergent makes it difficult for water to penetrate the fabric’s fibres, and may even trap dirt as a result. Avoid bleach and fabric softener at all costs as these contribute to preventing water from penetrating the fibres.
#5 Dry in direct sunlight
Once your washing is done, hang your gear to dry again – this time in direct sunlight. The sun’s rays are a natural bacteria deterrent and will help keep your workout clothes cleaner (and fresher!).
For more on workout-related stories, check out If You Really Need To Gym With Makeup On, Here’s What To Wear and The New Way To Exercise.