How to Get the Smell Out of Seriously Stinky Clothes
Nothing's worse than putting on gear that reeks even before you start to sweat.
Most workout gear these days features fancy high-tech performance fabrics. To keep them that way, you need to wash 'em with a little more attention than you do your regular ol' cotton tees. First things first? Take the time to consult the tags on each individual item. Short of specific cleaning instructions, adopt these tips for how to clean stinky clothes as your general game plan-especially after a super-sweaty HIIT class. (Here's what sports bra engineers look for in a bra.)
How to Wash Stinky Clothes
1. Rinse them out ASAP.
Tossing your sweaty clothes straight into the laundry basket means everything else in there will adopt that same stench. Ideally, you'd wash the sweaty clothes right when you get back from your workout. Sometimes that's just not possible-or you feel wasteful running a load of laundry with just a sports bra and a pair of shorts. Here's the quick fix: Rinse the sweaty clothes with water in a sink or bathtub, says Anna Moseley, cleaning expert and founder of Ask Anna. Hang the items up to air-dry, and then once dry, they're okay to toss in the laundry basket.
2. Wash with distilled white vinegar.
When the time comes to start a load, wash your items as you normally would, but add vinegar. "I dump a cup of vinegar straight into the wash," Moseley says. "That gets rid of that stink, that gym odor." Moseley estimates you should pour in about one cup, but increase that to two cups if you're washing a full load of workout gear.
3. Run on hot.
Set the washing machine's water temperature to hot to zap even more of the stubborn bacteria, Moseley says.
4. Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets.
Both of these may strip your workout clothes of their wicking abilities and can trap smells, Moseley says.
5. Line dry or put in a dryer set to low heat.
You can run most of your gear through a dryer on its lowest setting, which can also help get rid of any lingering vinegar smells, Moseley says. But the delicate items-like sports bras or leggings prone to pilling-are best left to air-dry so the fabric doesn't end up damaged or stretched out.