Unless you have an unlimited amount of clothing at your fingertips, you probably wear your gym clothes more than once before you wash them. (No shame, we do too!). But coming home from an intense, sweat-dripping workout, shucking them off, and then dumping them in a corner and forgetting about them until your next barre class is a good way to end up with some seriously ripe workout clothes. And you don't want to be that girl at the gym.
Luckily there are a few easy steps you can take to keep your clothes as clean and nose-friendly as possible until it's time to do laundry again.
1. Use scent-free detergent. They may smell nice, but detergents with scents, perfumes, softeners, or additives can leave residue on your clothes after they come out of the washing machine, which can eventually degrade the fabric of your clothes, says Tracy Byrnes, Athleta senior manager of innovation and product information. "That can cause a breakdown in your clothes' performance attributes and wicking ability, and actually cause foul odor," she says.
2. Hang it up. Don't just toss your sopping-wet sports bra and shorts into the hamper. Hang any wet gear up to dry, Byrnes says, "even if it's just over the backseat of your car."
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3. Separate your shoes and apparel. ASICS accessories product manager Pam Fiske suggests placing your sneakers and yoga pants and tank in different bags within your gym tote to minimize the spread of odor-causing bacteria. "Look for specific bags that have separate compartments that allow you to store your shoes away from the rest of your gym clothes," she says.
4. Buy anti-stink clothes. Both experts agree that, when possible, opt for clothing that includes polygiene technology, which uses natural silver salt in low concentrations to prevent bacteria from multiplying—and help your clothes stay fresh and odor-free.