Gym Clothes: The Post Workout Laundry Guide
Since workout clothes are worn during exercise, they are prone to sweat, stains, and odours and need to be washed a lot. To help prolong the life of your gym gear and to ensure they are always clean & fresh, here are a few helpful tips.
How dirty are my gym clothes?
Aside from sweat dampness and odour, washing your gym clothes is essential for ridding bacteria and protecting against fungal infections. A person’s skin naturally has good bacteria, yeast, and fungus. But hot, moist clothes – especially tight gym clothes – are the perfect environment for bad bacteria to grow.
Wearing tight leggings or socks traps sweat against the skin and can lead to bacterial or yeast infections. Gym clothes that are tight around the chest, butt, groin and thighs can lead to an acne-like rash known as folliculitis. For women, the risk of developing a yeast or bacterial infection is higher when wearing tight workout pants.
Another reason why you should wash your gym clothes is that gyms, in general, are very germy places. So many different people share the same equipment throughout the day making it very easy for bacteria to be transferred from person to person.
How often should you wash your gym clothes?
It’s recommended that you wash your gym clothes after each use of wear, even if you hardly broke a sweat. If you’ve hardly sweated or aren’t prone to infections, using a quick, cold wash on a gentle cycle can freshen gym clothes in between wear, while heavier workout sessions may require a more heavy and regular wash. Items such as socks and sports bras should be washed after each individual use to maintain freshness and to ward off any chance of bacteria growth.
Don’t forget about your trainers/sneakers. Wearing them regularly can lead to sweat and dirt build-up, leading to smelly sneakers. You can keep your gym shoes fresh by making a natural shoe deodoriser. Simply sprinkle baking soda in each shoe and leave overnight to absorb moisture and smell.
Steps to follow when washing gym clothes
1. Air your gym clothes out
Instead of burying your dirty workout clothes in the laundry basket, let them air-out before washing them. This will make them much easier to clean while also avoiding your laundry basket from smelling throughout. After you take your gym gear off, turn them inside out and hang them somewhere they can dry out. Turning workout clothes inside out before washing allows laundry detergent to directly target the soiled areas, leaving clothes cleaner.
The natural bacteria found on the skin causes an odour when mixed with sweat. The residue is then left on your workout clothes, causing that smelly stuffy odour. To cut through that odour before washing, you can pre-soak using a vinegar solution. The low level of acid found in vinegar penetrates oily sweat and breaks bacteria down. Simply mix one part of white distilled vinegar to four parts cold water. Soak the clothes for 15 to 30 minutes in this natural pre-wash solution before adding to the washing machine.
Depending on the material of your gym gear, it’s a good idea to do a test patch first to make sure there’s no damage to the clothes.
3. Wash workout clothes
Before throwing your gym gear in the washing machine, make sure you inspect the garment care tags on each item of clothing. A lot of modern gym clothes are made of elasticised, stretchy fabrics which could shrink if washed in hot water. Generally, you are safe to use cold-warm water on workout clothes. For fragile fabrics, you can opt for a delicate wash cycle or hand wash. For loose or detailed tops, shorts, socks, or sports bras try using a wash bag to protect them from damage or from getting twisted with larger items.
Choosing the right laundry detergent will have an impact on the quality of the wash and the overall freshness of your clothing. Using a natural laundry detergent such as bio-home Laundry Detergent will protect your clothes, extending their lifespan and retaining their colour and elasticity. Plant-Based laundry detergent is far gentler on the skin than traditional chemical-based laundry detergents, which is important when it comes to your comfort while wearing your workout clothing.
Go easy on the laundry detergent. Microfibres in Lycra and Spandex-based materials repel water and hold onto product build-up. Always read your detergent’s instructions and never apply more detergent than you need. If your clothes are heavily soiled or if you notice yellowish stains under the sleeves, you can dip a soft toothbrush in the detergent and gently scrub the area before washing.
4. Skip the dryer
Stretchy fabrics can shrink or melt when exposed to high heat. A lot of workout clothes – particularly synthetic materials – are prone to static build-up which is not recommended for dryer use. Instead, hang your clothes on a washing line or clothes rack and let them dry naturally in the air. Another benefit to drying your workout clothes under the sun is that the sun’s rays act as a natural bacteria deterrent.
Do away with sweaty gym clothes naturally
You might think that using laundry detergents containing the strongest chemicals is the best way to wash your gym clothes, but natural laundry detergents are extremely effective in washing dirty, smelly clothes. The biodegradable, concentrated formula will target stains, smells, and dirt while protecting the skin and your health. The Laundry Detergent Regular and Laundry Detergent Delicate from Bio-home do not contain any harsh chemicals and are 100% plant-based, providing an extremely effective wash for your gym clothes.