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.
Make sure you unpack your gym bag as soon as you get home. Leaving sweaty clothes in a tightly packed bag can make smells stronger. Think about getting a bigger laundry hamper to give your dirty gym clothes more room to breathe.
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.
The next step to having the freshest, cleanest athletic gear is learning how to get the smell out of your gym clothes.
Turn your 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 tends to coat fabrics with a thick layer that can actually trap odors in, rather than removing them.
Wash with cold water
Another important element to fresh clothes is knowing what temperature to wash gym clothes at. It’s easy to think that hot water will blast away sweaty smells, which is true for clothing made of natural fibers like cotton. But the synthetic fibers used in activewear can’t stand hot temperatures and using hot water shortens their lifespan.² Wash your gym clothes in cold water, use the cold dryer setting or air dry them outside.
Use Clorox Fabric® Sanitizer Pre-Treat Spray*, which is designed specifically to sanitize stubborn sweat smells away:
Wait about 3 minutes while the bleach-free sanitizer gets to work.
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.
Use as directed.
Popsci. 2019. “Here’s why gym clothes smell so rank—and how to freshen them up.” Popular Science. https://www.popsci.com/smelly-gym-clothes/.
Washington Post. 2019. “This is why your workout clothes still stink after being washed.” Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/this-is-why-your-workout-clothes-still-stink-after-being-washed/2019/03/04/543c5a94-39ed-11e9-a2cd-307b06d0257b_story.html.