How to Get the Stink Out of Workout Gym Clothes

Activewear absorbs some of the strongest smells. Even after multiple washes, sweaty and sour odors remain. Find out why your gym clothes smell and how you can wash them to sanitize the stench away.

Why do my clothes smell sour when I sweat?

Did you know that your sweat doesn’t actually have an odor? It’s when sweat mixes with our skin’s bacteria-containing microbiome that the sour smell is produced.¹ The smell then sticks to the fabric of gym clothes and becomes hard to remove.

How often should I wash activewear?

It’s best to wash your gym clothes after every workout to prevent built-up odors and lingering bacteria that can cause skin irritation or infection. You can wash your activewear less regularly if you’re just doing light exercise but avoid re-wearing without washing more than 2–3 times.

How to wash workout clothes

The next step to having the freshest, cleanest athletic gear is learning how to get the smell out of your gym clothes.

Turn you clothes inside out

Turning your gym clothes inside out allows detergent and other cleaning products like Clorox Fabric® Sanitizer to really get to the source of the smells. This way, the side of the fabric that has touched your body and absorbed sweat and other odors is more easily cleaned.

Avoid fabric softener

Fabric softener limits the ability of towels to absorb moisture and workout wear to wick moisture away from the body. Because fabric softener coats fabric with ingredients to impart a soft hand feel to fabrics, it can actually trap odors in, rather than removing them.

What you need

Steps to remove smells from gym clothes

  1. Pretreat with Clorox® Fabric Sanitizer

    Spray Clorox® Fabric Sanitizer on gym clothing to pre-treat odors.

  2. Wait

    Wait 3 minutes while the bleach-free sanitizer gets to work.

  3. Machine wash

    Wash laundry with your favorite detergent as usual.

Clorox has a solution for all of your laundry sanitizing needs. For sanitizing your everyday loads, try Clorox® Laundry Sanitizer. If you have a tough stain, you can use Clorox® Fabric Sanitizer Pre-Treat Spray. Or if you have no time to wash, try Clorox® Fabric Sanitizer Aerosol.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Clorox® Fabric Sanitizer work on all fabrics?

Clorox® Fabric Sanitizer can be used on most washable fabrics. For first time use on fabrics, spot test a small inconspicuous area and check with manufacturer’s care label before use. Wait 5 minutes, then rinse with water. Allow fabric to dry completely. If there’s no discoloration, then this means the product to be safely used on the fabric.

How does Clorox® Fabric Sanitizer sanitize clothes?

Clorox® Fabric Sanitizer kills 99.9% of odor-causing bacteria that gets trapped deep within the fibers of clothing and linens. Our powerful formula removes and breaks down naturally occurring bacteria within fabrics. Just spray, wait 3 minutes and wash.