For fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and anyone who leads an active lifestyle, having fresh-smelling workout clothes is essential. However, many people often find that their athletic wear continues to emit unpleasant odors even after washing. This article aims to shed light on why some workout clothes stay stinky and offers practical tips to prevent and eliminate those stubborn smells. Additionally, we’ll explore the impact of different materials on odor retention and discuss sustainable practices to keep your workout clothes fresh.
Why Do Some Workout Clothes Stay Stinky Even After Washing? The persistent odor in workout clothes primarily stems from the buildup of bacteria and sweat. During physical activity, sweat becomes trapped in the fabric’s fibers, providing an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. Regular detergents may not be able to fully remove these bacteria and their associated odors, leading to the lingering stench even after washing.
Materials to Avoid:
Certain synthetic materials, such as polyester and nylon, tend to trap odors more than others. These fabrics are designed to wick away moisture, but their synthetic composition can retain bacteria and sweat, contributing to the unpleasant smell. While these materials are often durable and affordable, it’s worth considering alternatives if odor retention is a persistent problem for you.
What Needs to Be Done to Make Workout Clothes Smell Fresh Again?
- Pre-treat and soak: Before washing, pre-treat any particularly smelly areas with a mixture of water and vinegar or baking soda. You can also soak your clothes in a vinegar solution for 30 minutes to help eliminate odors effectively.
- Choose the right detergent: Opt for detergents specifically formulated for sports or activewear. These detergents are designed to break down and remove bacteria and sweat residues more effectively than regular detergents. Avoid using fabric softeners as they can create a film on the fabric, trapping odors.
- Wash at the appropriate temperature: Follow the care instructions on the garment’s label and wash at the recommended temperature. Hot water can help kill bacteria, but be cautious not to use excessive heat, as it may damage certain fabrics.
- Proper drying: Ensure that your workout clothes are thoroughly dried after washing. Dampness can exacerbate odor issues. Line drying in direct sunlight is a great option, as the sun’s UV rays can help kill bacteria naturally.
*Do not dry your merino wool clothing in the direct sunlight as it will shrink but all other fabrics are fine.
Sustainable Practices for Keeping Workout Clothes Fresh:
- Choose natural fiber clothing: Natural fibers like bamboo and merino wool have inherent properties that make them resistant to odors. Bamboo fabric is breathable, moisture-wicking, and naturally antimicrobial, reducing the growth of bacteria. Merino wool has similar properties and is particularly effective in regulating body temperature.
- Proper ventilation: After a workout, allow your clothes to breathe and dry out by hanging them in a well-ventilated area. Avoid leaving them in a gym bag or laundry hamper, as this can promote bacterial growth and odor retention.
- Use eco-friendly detergents: Look for eco-friendly laundry detergents that are biodegradable and free from harsh chemicals. These products are better for the environment and can still effectively clean and refresh your workout clothes.
- Extend clothing lifespan: Taking care of your workout clothes can prolong their lifespan and keep them smelling fresh. Avoid using excessive detergent, as it can create buildup in the fabric. Additionally, using a laundry bag or turning delicate garments inside out can protect them from friction and damage during washing.
Why Do Natural Fiber Clothing Hold Smells Less Than Synthetics?
Natural fiber clothing, such as bamboo, tencel™ and merino wool, possess unique properties that make them resistant to odor retention. Bamboo fabric has natural antimicrobial properties, which inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria.