The Proper Way to Wash Workout Clothes and Activewear

It’s a fact you just can’t get around: your workout clothes will get dirty. Whether you’re working out in the gym, hitting the trails for a jog, or suiting up for a tennis match, your exercise clothes will absorb any of the dirt, sweat, and grime that accumulates.

Your activewear attire is a different breed than your street clothes and requires additional laundering considerations to ensure you’re removing all the funk from your workout. If you’re wondering how to wash workout clothes so that your get-up is as fresh and clean as your style, we’ve got the answers. Let’s dive into how to wash activewear so you can power through workouts feeling and looking your best long into the future.

How Often to Clean Activewear

So, can you wear workout clothing more than once before washing? Maybe that’s a question you’ve asked yourself after realizing your last pair of leggings is sitting on your designated not-clean-but-not-dirty chair.

Well, how often you clean your activewear depends on your preference, the amount you sweat, and the amount you exercise. For example, if you’re one of those lucky individuals that merely glisten during exercise, then you might not need to go through the whole rigamarole of laundry post-workout. Unfortunately for the sweatier amongst us, you’ll need to wash your activewear after being active. Bacteria love damp environments and your sweaty gym clothes are an open invitation. That means your gear requires the full spa experience if you tend to sweat a lot.

Your environment will also affect how often you need to clean your exercise clothes. For instance, if you live somewhere dry, your clothes might be clean enough to don for another workout after some time hanging up in the sun. But if you’re in a more humid, tropical climate where clothes tend to always be a little damp, it’s best to clean them after every use.

Detergent and Softener

When you’re ready to wash your workout clothes, be wary of both detergent and fabric softener.

Activewear fabric is designed for performance, so they’re stretchier and constructed to withstand bending and flexing. These technical fabrics are vulnerable to hot temperatures, detergent, and fabric softener.

Your exercise kit will likely get dirtier than your everyday clothes, so you might be tempted to throw in extra detergent to combat any funk. But because your washing machine has a regular cycle calibrated to manage a certain amount of detergent, excess detergent won’t get rinsed out of your clothes. Instead, it will build up the perfect storm for mildew to grow.

Another activewear laundry rule to live by is to ditch the fabric softener altogether. Fabric softener is a no-go because it damages flexible materials, and it can also leave behind a residue that traps smells and debris. Instead of reaching for a fabric softener when washing your gear, add a half cup of white vinegar. White vinegar works as an excellent odor remover and a safe fabric softener.

How to Wash Workout Clothes: Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Turn all of your clothing inside-out. Not only will this help preserve the patterns and colors on your clothes, but it will also clean the dirtiest part of your garments where sweat builds up.
  2. Give your clothes a cold water soak with a half cup of white vinegar for half an hour before tossing them in the machine. This step will help kill odors and break down any debris.
  3. Use slightly less detergent than the detergent package recommends to avoid residue.
  4. Set your water temperature to cold. This helps avoid shrinkage and damage to elastics and other performance fabrics.
  5. Air dry your clothes whenever possible. If you have to use a dryer, set it to the lowest heat setting possible.

Keep Your Activewear Fresh and Ready for Action

During exercise, you should be focused on moving your body and staying in the zone, not worrying about if you’ll ever be able to get your sweatpants to be clean again. Following these guidelines for how to wash activewear will help keep your favorite Fabletics pieces clean, fresh, and ready to help you reach your next fitness goal.

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