There's nothing more heartbreaking (to your wallet) than spending oodles of money on workout clothes just to have them fall apart once you start washing them. It's typically not to do with the quality of the garments themselves, but how we wash them. Laundry tips specific to fitness gear are your key to success.
Workout clothes are made of fabrics that are as high tech as they are delicate, so they don't deal with our (lack of) laundering skills as well as our everyday clothing does. Here are 9 laundry tips to keep your workout clothing looking snazzy:
1. Hang your clothes right away
"I always have time to wash my gym clothes right after a workout," said no woman, ever. Until you have time to squeeze in a load of laundry, hang your clothes to dry instead of throwing them in a hamper. You don't want your sweaty duds taking on a life of their own in the form of mold and mildew. Ick.
2. Give them a soak
To avoid that skunky smell embedding into your workout clothes, pre-soak them in one part vinegar and four parts water for about 30 minutes. You should also toss a little vinegar, baking soda or lemon juice into your rinse cycle—you know, just in case.
3. Turn your gear inside out
Not only does doing so keep your colors bright, but all of the sweat and dead skin cells accumulate on the inside of your workout gear, not the outside. Plus, if there are any garment-to-garment snags during the wash cycle, they won't be visible on the outside of your clothing.
4. Wash in cold water
Elastic agrees with extreme heat about as much as we agree with Mondays, so you should always wash your workout gear in cold water. Try your best to avoid washing your part-lycra clothing with rougher fabrics like cotton or wool, as this may cause pilling. Plus, this is one of those handy money-saving laundry tips: No hot water equals saving money on utilities!
5. Hand wash your sports bras
And when you do toss them in the washing machine, fasten the hooks first and put them in a mesh washing bag. Don't put your sports bra in the dryer, which can break down fabric fibers and warp their shape. If laundry day isn't exactly around the corner, in a pinch you can wear your bra in the shower post-workout, wipe it down using a gentle body wash and let it air dry.
6. Hand wash your grippy socks
Either wash your grippy socks by hand or wash them inside out on delicate—and never toss them in the dryer. The heat can make the grips become brittle and fall off. Womp, womp.
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7. Use half the soap
It sounds counter-productive, but use less soap than you would normally. Because of the sweat-wicking fabric, you need to make sure the solution successfully penetrates the fibers of clothing. More suds will just get in the way of your cleanser doing its thing.
8. Nix the fabric softener
Fabric softener sinks into the weave of the fabric, which means your moisture-wicking fabric won't be so helpful in that department anymore.
9. Air or tumble dry
Buy a drying rack, hang on a clothesline, or tumble dry your workout clothes sans heat. Again, the heat will totally eff with the elastic—and there's nothing more annoying than a saggy ensemble. Because of the moisture-wicking fabric, they won't take as long to air dry as typical clothing, but if you miss the whole fluffy thing that comes from using the dryer, tumble dry your gear with a rubber dryer ball.
What are your go-to laundry tips for workout gear?
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Image: Workout gear photo via Shutterstock