First things first
Try to avoid leaving sweaty clothes in your gym bag, crumpled up in your laundry basket or on the bathroom floor. Leaving sweaty items stashed somewhere can become a breeding ground for bacteria (and even mold) if they are left too long. Bacteria build-up is one of the main causes of smelly workout gear!
To soak or not to soak
Soaking in a solution of vinegar and water can help kill bacteria and sweaty odors on your clothing. It can also help break down any build-up from detergents, deodorant and skin cells (ewww!). Be careful when you pre-soak clothes though — especially if soaking clothes with bright colors and prints. It’s probably best not to leave your clothes to soak for longer than 30 minutes to an hour, to avoid causing any damage. Once they’ve had a soak, pop them in the wash as normal.
Setting your washing machine
Check the labels for specific washing information before you start! Lots of workout fabrics are best washed in cold water, as it helps to maintain their shape. Hot water might seem like the right idea to kill off bacteria, but it may be damaging to the fibers.
There are specialty laundry products for sportswear, but you can use any standard laundry powder or detergent. Use the recommended amount of laundry powder for your load (or even a little less) so it rinses out properly.
Don’t use fabric softener on your activewear. At all. Softeners can actually lock in odors in the fabric. Most softeners work by coating fibers, which might stop those fancy moisture wicking fabrics from doing their job properly.
After the wash
Fresh air and sunny weather is a best friend to your activewear. Sunshine makes it hard for bacteria to grow, so your clothes shouldn’t take on any strange odors. Hanging everything inside out helps against fading. — You’d hate having to throw away your favorite shorts because they are all faded!
Top tips for washing activewear: