You wouldn’t throw a silk dress in the washer or toss a “dry clean only” jacket in the dryer. But most of us don’t give much thought to how we launder our workout clothing. Big mistake! Not only do active wear items require a little extra care to fit well, look good and last over time, they need to be cleaned properly to remove sweat, excess oil and dead skin (yuck!) that can stain, soil and make them stink. Here are some washing tips to keep in mind for your next laundry day.
1. Divide and conquer
After working out, separate your workout clothes from your regular laundry. Do not leave them balled up in your gym bag!
2. Rinse before washing
If you won’t be washing clothing right away, give sweatier items (tank tops, leggings, etc.) a quick rinse and hang them up to dry. Depositing sweaty clothes directly into the laundry basket may cause mold and mildew to set in.
3. Start with a soak
About 15 to 30 minutes before washing, turn workout clothes inside out and pre-soak them in a mixture of cold water plus 1/2 cup white vinegar. This can help to remove the bacteria that may have set in.
4. Be stingy with soap
Use a little less detergent than normal, and try a natural laundry soap made especially for workout clothing. These formulas are designed for heavy-duty cleaning while also being gentle on fabric and your skin.
5.Get a boost
Laundry boosters are great for deodorizing, removing stains and odors, whitening, brightening colors and keeping clothes fresh without chlorine or phosphates. You’ll want to use them with all of your laundry, not just your exercise gear!
6. Keep it cold
Wash everything in cold water to help maintain color and prevent shrinkage.
7.Take it outside to dry
Skip the dryer. Air drying is the best option for active wear. Drying workout clothes may cause the fabric to pill, lose elasticity and just not fit the same. If you don’t already have one, invest in a drying rack. That way you can set the rack outside and let the sun do the work.
8. Handle hard water
If you have hard water, then you probably already know that it can cause workout clothes to get stiff, look dingy, retain odors and leave residues. Make sure to use a soap booster and hard water treatment to soften water along with getting rid of odors and stains.
9. Fight footwear odor
Stinky sneakers? Remove them from your gym bag daily for fresh air. If needed, sprinkle with a little baking soda to help freshen them up.