How to Get Rid of the Smell of Sweat in Workout Clothes
Love working up a sweat but hate the lingering smell of sweaty gym clothes? Try these five tips for odor-free gear.
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Laundry detergent
- Gallon-sized container
Gym clothes absorb sweat throughout a workout. Certain types of fabric, like cotton, tend to retain moisture. Other materials, like the polyester fabric found in Nike Dri-FIT clothing, help keep the skin cool and dry by dispersing moisture across the fabric’s surface to evaporate faster.
No matter what your workout clothing is made of, it’s possible for stubborn sweat smells to remain, even after a cycle in the wash. Check out these five tips to remove body odor from workout clothing.
How to Get Rid of Sweat Smell in Workout Clothes
1.Dry Gym Clothes Before Washing
Even if workout apparel is made from quick-drying polyester or performance materials that wick moisture away from the body, it may not dry completely if it’s thrown in the hamper or kept in the bottom of a gym bag.
Odor-causing bacteria thrives in damp environments, so hanging up workout gear can help mitigate bacterial growth and therefore reduce the opportunity for smells to sink in.
2.Pre-Soak in Vinegar and Baking Soda
Combining two household staples — white vinegar and baking soda — can be a powerful, odor-fighting method. White vinegar is a natural deodorizer, and baking soda has alkaline properties, both of which help deodorize and sanitize clothes.
Before tossing workout clothing into the washing machine, fill up a large, gallon-sized container (or even the sink) with cold water. Next, add a cup of white vinegar and a cup of baking soda. Submerge the sweaty workout clothes and soak for at least 30 minutes before putting them through a wash cycle. They can go directly into the washing machine — no need to dry first.
If you don’t have time to do a vinegar-and-baking-soda pre-soak, consider adding a cup of white vinegar directly into the washing machine with the detergent and clothes. Don’t worry about vinegar smell lingering on the clothing; it washes out in the machine.
3.Go Light on Laundry Detergent
When it comes to detergent, adding more doesn’t necessarily yield a better result. In fact, detergent can be counterproductive when used excessively. Laundry detergents and boosters can leave a residue on workout clothing that can trap odors. Use the recommended amount of detergent, but avoid adding extra.
4.Skip the Fabric Softener
Like detergent, fabric softeners can leave behind a coating that may further trap bacteria and unwanted smells over time. Although fabric softeners can help some items of clothing feel soft and smell fresh, it’s best to avoid using them when washing workout clothes.
Tip: High heat can damage the fibers in performance fabrics. It’s best to wash workout clothes in cold water on a gentle cycle. This will help ensure workout clothing doesn’t shrink or lose its shape. Whenever possible, let workout clothing air dry. If you need to use the dryer, opt for a no-heat or low-tumble setting.
5.Turn Clothing Inside Out and Wash With Similar Fabrics
To maximize the washing machine’s efficacy, turn workout clothing inside out before washing. Since odor-causing bacteria tends to build up most inside clothes, washing them inside out helps achieve a more thorough clean.
While it may seem convenient to wash towels, hoodies and jeans all together, it’s best to avoid washing gym clothes with fleece-like materials. This can cause lint to stick to workout gear and cause pilling over time. Heavy fabrics, like denim, and anything with buttons or zippers should also be separately washed to avoid damaging the delicate fabrics of athletic wear.
Words by: Claire Tak