Working out a lot more since the pandemic hit? Or perhaps your workout wardrobe currently doubles as your work-from-home wardrobe? In either case, cleaning your activewear isn’t as easy as separating your white shirts from red sweaters. Athletic wear is made from special fabrics to wick away your sweat, so you need to wash them differently than your other clothes. How? By using the best detergent for gym clothes, and a bit of TLC.
What is athletic wear?
Think of what you’d typically wear to work out: leggings, tank tops, running shorts, compression clothing, or yoga pants. Special clothes made for certain activities, like soccer jerseys or cycling gear, are also athletic wear.
Athletic wear is typically made from stretchy, comfy materials like spandex, cotton, polyester, nylon, TENCEL, or a mix of synthetics. These fabrics help keep you dry with moisture-wicking properties or keep you cool with breathability and temperature regulation. They can even protect your skin during outdoor workouts, thanks to UPF. (It’s like SPF for fabrics.)
How do I wash my athletic wear?
With proper care for your workout clothes, you can prolong their lifespan and your investment. We know gym clothes aren’t always cheap, so let’s talk about how to preserve them with the right techniques and the best detergent for gym clothes.
Choosing the best detergent for gym clothes
Have you ever noticed a weird smell in your athletic wear after using regular laundry detergent or fabric softener? Fabric softener could be to blame, as it tends to lock in bad odors and damages stretchy fabrics like your workout leggings.
Another possible problem? You may be using too much “Brand X” laundry detergent. While that might sound counterintuitive, trust us: excess detergent doesn’t clean your dirty clothes better. The excess just builds up on your clothing trapping bacteria which can cause a weird, mildew smell.
A concentrated, no-frills laundry detergent ensures that your sweaty workout gear is clean down to each fiber — not covered up with fake fragrances or damaging softeners. Since it’s concentrated, you only need a small amount to get your speciality clothing clean and bright.
Wash your gear ASAP
If you sweated through your top and shorts during your last workout, wash them as soon as you can afterward. It’ll prevent odors from setting in the fabrics. If they’re especially smelly and dirty, keep them separate from your other activewear and regular clothes so the odors don’t transfer.
If you can’t wash an item as soon as you’d like but it has a stain, at least pre-treat it with a stain remover. Stains can be more difficult to remove from synthetic fabrics, especially the longer they sit. You can even pre-treat potential problem odor spots like underarms.
Follow each garment’s care labels
Check each garment’s care label to make sure you can toss them in your washing machine. Some may need to be hand washed. Like your other clothes, separate whites, darks, and brights to prevent dye bleeding into other lighter clothing.
When you’re ready to wash, turn each garment inside out as an extra safeguard against colors bleeding onto other fabrics. Plus, you want the side that touches your body on the outside so it can get a good cleaning.
Use cold water and the delicate cycle
Care label missing? Generally, the delicate cycle on your washing machine that uses cold water is a safe bet. The delicate cycle will be gentler than the agitation on other settings. And cold water will prevent fading or stretching of your athletic wear fabric. In the dead of winter, use the cool or even the warm setting because tap water during those months can be too cold to work.
Avoid washing your athletic wear with other heavy fabrics, like jeans, towels, or outerwear. These fabrics can tear into your delicate items. Play it safe and wash athletic wear alone, or with other delicates.
Dry as directed
Air drying your athletic wear is the best way to protect the fabric, preventing it from shrinking or damage. If you must dry your clothes in your dryer, use the lowest heat setting possible. You can even take items out and let them finish air drying while still slightly damp.
Charlie’s Soap: the best detergent for gym clothes
Keep your workout clothes smelling great by washing them properly with natural laundry detergent! Charlie’s Soap Natural Laundry Liquid Detergent is your best bet for getting your activewear clean and fresh. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic, biodegradable, and affordable, so it’s safe for sensitive skin, the environment, and your next athleisure-wear shopping spree.