Moisture wicking fabrics are a wonderful thing. Gone are the days of embarrassing sweat stains and drenched cotton t-shirts. Fabrics like Lycra and Spandex draw moisture away from the skin, keeping you dry while you work and play hard. Equally important, these fabrics also remove odor causing bacteria from the skin and trap it in the fibers, so you can smell as good as you possibly can after a tough workout.
To keep your athletic gear smelling fresh and avoid the unpleasant task of trying to rid your gym clothes of funky smells, try following these simple guidelines:
- Wash After Each Use
The most important rule is to wash your workout clothes each time you wear them. If you re-wear them, odors accumulate and further set into the fibers and are more difficult, or impossible, to remove later.
Washing your garments after each use is one of the best ways to keep your athletic gear smelling fresh. Do not wear a new garment more than once before washing.
- Wait! Don't Toss That Sweaty Shirt in the Hamper
Damp clothes crumpled in laundry hampers are the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. Find a place to hang the item to dry before you toss it in your laundry hamper. If hanging space isn't available, you can simply lay the garment on a flat surface. Mold and mildew have the potential to ruin a garment, so it's worth it to take the time to do this extra step.
- Follow Care Instructions on the Tag
Wash your workout clothing in cold water and dry on a low heat setting. Avoid using fabric softeners as they build up on the fabric and interfere with the garments moisture wicking properties. If you have a garment with stubborn odors, you can add one cup of white vinegar to the wash. As with all your garments, the care instructions on the tag should be the final authority on caring for a specific article of clothing.
- Avoid Exposing to High Heat
Blended fabrics such as Lycra can quickly lose its elasticity when exposed to high heat in the washing machine or dryer. If you've ever accidentally put your favorite pair of yoga pants in the dryer, you know they're never quite the same again. To preserve the look and performance of your clothing, skip the dryer all together and hang your athletic gear to air dry. If hanging to dry and special care instructions are too much of a hassle for you, play it safe and take your athletic gear to a professional cleaner who knows exactly what to do to keep your athletic gear smelling fresh and looking great.