It happens to the best of us. Those yoga pants, tanks and even ToeSox start to REEK after a while! Before you feel all bad about your smelly self, understand this: It’s actually pretty normal. You know how the material your workout clothes are made of is designed to keep you sweat-free? Well, stick it in the washing machine and it’s also resistant to that water, making it tough for suds to penetrate the fabric and get it smelling squeaky clean. What’s more (and slightly grosser), the body oils that seep out of your pores when you sweat—in addition to a buildup of detergent on your Lycra and Spandex—further contributes to water and suds not being able to penetrate the fabric.
So, what’s a self-conscious sweat-soaked (MDR)’r supposed to do? Follow this simple advice for workout gear that smells just as fresh as the day you toted them home:
- Never use fabric softener. When you’re washing synthetic materials (read: all of your wicking workout gear), fabric softener leaves behind a film that’ll forever prevent your clothes from getting clean.
- Use less detergent than you think you need. Sounds crazy. The more your clothes stink, the more suds you need, right? Wrong. More detergent also causes a buildup, coating your Lycra and Spandex with a film that’ll make it even tougher for water to penetrate.
- Run your gear through a wash cycle with no soap. This can help remove any detergent or fabric softener buildup that’s already there.
- Line dry, or use low heat. While your go-to high-heat cycle may dry your clothes fast, it also bakes in the stink.
- Try the vinegar trick. Followed the advice above and still dealing with funky-smelling little black yoga pants? Pre-soak in a sink filled with cold water and 1 cup white vinegar for 15 minutes, then launder as usual. Trying to eliminate serious stink? Go ahead and pour two cups of white vinegar in there.