Ever play that game where you see if you can squeeze in just one more workout out of an outfit? Well, trust me, it’s a scenario in which no one wins.
And now that we’re headed into winter (i.e. indoor workout season), I’d like to make a public service announcement: Please do yourself, your nose and the noses of those around you a favor and regularly de-funk that fitness gear.
Here are a few tricks I’ve picked up from
trial and error over the years, along with some new tips for feeling so fresh and so clean next time you hit the gym.
But first — why so smelly?
Blame those moisture-wicking technical fabrics. Sure, they keep you from getting soaked during sweatfests, but their water-repellent technology also means it takes more than a simple wash cycle to penetrate those fibers. Plus, we’re used to our street clothes getting slightly soiled; workout gear gets downright dirty with trapped oils and residue, so it takes some special TLC to get things totally clean.
Ok, so what should I do?
Short of burning it or buying a whole new wardrobe, there are a few things I like to do to keep my gear from getting too gnarly:
1. Strip Down: Lounging around in sopping-wet clothing is a no-no for several reasons (ladies, you know what I mean); get it off ASAP.
2. Hang Dry: If you can’t wash clothes immediately, at least drape them over a shower rod or door handle to air out and dry.
3. Soak Up: I let super stinky stuff set for 15-30 minutes in the bathroom sink with water and one cup of vinegar before washing.
4. Wash Well: I used to think my usual detergent was sufficient, but I’ve recently been converted to WIN (details below), a detergent designed specifically to treat fitness and sport clothing.
5. Dry Thoroughly: Dry clothing on the hottest dryer setting that’s appropriate for the materials. Or hang air-dry items outside in direct sunlight to kill any remaining bacteria.
If all else fails, know when it’s time to throw in the towel (or sports bra or bike shorts) — if it’s still full of stink after several washes, wave the white flag and throw down a few bucks for a new pair!
As I mentioned above, I’ve always relied on traditional detergent for washing my workout gear. Even if something seemed fresh when I pulled it out of the drawer, though, I’d occasionally notice that yucky mildew smell on some pieces as soon as they got wet (like my sports bra during last weekend’s trail race, for example).
But all clothing detergents are pretty much the same, I thought. Right?
Enter WIN, which I heard of previously while at a race expo but only recently got a chance to test. It’s specifically formulated to remove oils and residue that cause odor from synthetic fabrics — it literally breaks up all that gunk that’s accumulated on the fibers, removing the source of the smell and truly cleaning the garment.
My verdict: This stuff really works. Clothing smells good coming out of the wash, even better out of the dryer…and stays that way. So much so that I (who at one time may or may not have stocked up on so much underwear I’d only have to do laundry once a month) have done a load each day this week. Yep, it’s WIN for the win.
But you don’t have to take my word for it — you can try WIN yourself! Enter via Rafflecopter below, and you’ll have the chance to win two bottles of WIN detergent (one regular and one green) to try at home on your stinkiest of workout wear.
Got any best practices for keeping the stench out of your gym clothes? I’d love to hear!