Running, yoga, cycling — whatever your workout of choice, it all ends the same way: with seriously funky-smelling workout clothes. If you’re working up a sweat, then working up a smell is pretty inevitable. Though sweat itself is actually odorless, it starts to stink once it hits the bacteria from your body. There’s not much you can do to avoid the process — your body is oily and salty, and even more so when you’re active — but there’s plenty you can do to get the stink out of your leggings and sports bra.
It’s tempting to throw your sweaty clothes in the hamper as soon as you get home, but resist the temptation — a damp heap of clothes is a bacteria magnet, so they’ll completely reek by laundry day. Instead, let them air dry before throwing them in the hamper. Or, if you’ve got a few extra minutes, rinse them in plain water first.
Keep things separate
You already know to separate your whites from your colors, but you should also be separating your workout clothes from the rest of your laundry, too. Experts say that regular detergent won’t remove the odor from synthetic workout gear, so wash those in a sport-specific detergent like WIN.
If you notice a lingering smell on your workout clothes straight from the dryer, they’ll need some extra TLC. Clothing fibers — especially those in sweat-wicking and stretchy outfits, aka all of your workout clothes — can trap odor-causing bacteria. To truly get rid of the buildup, head to your kitchen, says cleaning expert Jolie Kerr. She explains that a cup of white vinegar combined with a tablespoon of detergent will do the trick. Just turn your clothes inside out, machine wash in cold water, and air dry or machine dry on low heat. Keep fabric softener and dryer sheets out of there — they’ll mess with the wicking properties and break down the stretchiness of your gear.
Less is more
When it comes to detergent, that is. Resist the urge to use more than the bottle tells you to. Instead of getting your clothes cleaner, the extra suds will just stay behind on your gear, creating a playground for bacteria.
Don’t forget your yoga mat
Your sports bras, tanks, and leggings aren’t the only things that get dirty and stinky. If you spend Savasana pinching your nose shut, that’s probably a sign that your yoga mat is overdue for a cleanup. Luckily, it only takes about it a minute. You can buy wipes made for yoga mats and use them after each session Or throw equal parts water and vinegar into a spray bottle, give the mat a few spritzes, wipe with a damp sponge, and air dry.