Are you horrified by the fact that your gym clothes smell even after you wash them? Believe it or not, this is a common problem — and we know how you can stop the smell for once and for all!
Do you find yourself anxiously raising your arms, afraid of what odor you might emit during a workout class? Well, there’s no reason to live in fear of your own stench — we’ve all been there, even if we don’t like to admit it. You are in the middle of a workout and just as you begin to really break a sweat a familiar, (and quite unsettling), smell seems to creep back up. Does it mean it is time to toss your workout clothes? No! If you wash them the right way you can eliminate the smell for good.
For starters, let’s dive into why your workout clothing holds onto a smell even after you wash your clothes. The Spandex and Lycra materials are great at repelling water, keeping you relatively dry as you work up a sweat — but the same saving grace that might work so well for you in the gym is actually working against you when you get ready to wash your clothing. I had the opportunity to attend the P&G Future Fabrics conference in Barcelona, where I learned a lot about how to properly care for clothing — and performance fabrics are actually dirt and odor magnets. Did you know, that each and every day the average human secrets 10 grams of salt, 1 liter of sweat, 40 grams of grease and sebum and 10 grams of skin cells and flakes? Can’t imagine it? Well, let me offer up a visual of exactly how much that is — simply check out the image inset above, (and remember: that’s just on an average, non-workout day).
So, how can you prolong the life of your favorite yoga pants and sports bras? By changing the way you approach washing your clothes. Just like a skincare routine, a laundry regimen is crucial for combating the odor and eliminating it for good. We are so quick to splurge on a new fashionable find, but when it comes time to wash our fave new outfit we aren’t nearly as eager — it’s just a fact. Think about the fibers in your workout clothes the same way you think of your hair fibers — it is possible to wash-in a deep clean and seal the cuticle, much like we do when we wash our hair.
Step 1: Wash your workout clothes after each wear. Again, performance fabrics LOVE attracting dirt and odor — and the best way to combat them is to WASH your workout clothes in between use, (especially because 70% of laundry soils are invisible). If you can, it is best to air them out and not roll them up in a semi-sweaty wet ball in the corner of your room — that honestly only makes matters worse!
Step 2: Turn your clothes inside out and wash in cold water — it is the “anti-aging” equivalent to fabric. Hot water strips dyes away faster while cold helps to maintain the shape of the garment and the color.
Step 3: Don’t be so quick to try a fashion hack — nothing will clean your clothes better than actually washing them. I’m sure we’ve all heard that freezing your jeans or yoga pants will eliminate odor and is less invasive than actually washing your clothes, but it actually isn’t true. Scientists freeze bacteria to preserve it — and all you are doing is preserving the bacteria on your dirty clothing until it warms up and comes back to life the next time you wear your clothes.
Step 3: Be diligent about how you wash your clothes — and yes, you will benefit using more than one product during the wash cycle. Tide & Downy introduced their Odor Defense Collection, which consists of three steps:
– Tide PODS Plus Febreze Odor Defense, which breaks down and removes the bulk of body soils
–Tide Rescue with Febreze Odor Defense, which consists of oxygenated bleach that breaks down the stubborn body soils and odors for a deep clean at the fiber level
–Downy Fresh Protect with Febreze Odor Defense: Active shield technology that neutralizes odors
Now I have to be honest here — after working out in the morning I throw my sweaty clothing into a sealed plastic bag until I head home at the end of the day and then discard the bag into the hamper, (I know, I’m already breaking part of rule one). The first time I did the laundry after switching to a morning workout schedule I was seriously questioning whether or not I would need a hazmat suit to separate my clothing. The bad news? Separating the laundry was not pleasant. The good news? After switching to the laundry regimen, my clothing smelled better than ever — and I actually emitted the pleasant odor as I worked up a sweat in the washed clothes.
Working out is hard enough — the last thing you should ever have to worry about are smelly clothes.