I Worked Out In the Same Shirt for a Month Without Washing It
I decided to put one sweat-resistant shirt to the ultimate test.
I usually don't get too excited about sweatproof clothing or makeup. But after stumbling on one company's crazy-convincing marketing ad, I was hooked on finding out if it was worth the hype. In the video I saw from the Ably brand, soda rolls over the sweat-resistant cotton t-shirt without leaving a trace. But what caught my attention the most was this bold statement by the narrator: "You can literally wear this shirt to the gym every day for a month, and it will still smell new." Seriously!?
How do they do it exactly? Ably uses the Filium process on its 100 percent cotton shirts. This technology makes natural fabrics repellent to liquids (like sweat), while still allowing them to be soft and breathable. Filium is pretty secretive about what the process actually entails, other than stating that it doesn't use "harmful chemicals that can break down and leach into your skin or the environment." (Related: The 10 Best Fabrics to Wear While Working Out)
I've been burned by plenty of infomercials in the past (I think I still have a knot in my hair somewhere from a braid twisting device), so I knew I shouldn't get my hopes up. But just like with every other gadget I've ever been suckered into, deep down I convinced myself it would work because I really, really wanted it to work. The possibility of doing less laundry sounded fantastic, TBH.
So I got my hands on a red Ably t-shirt (which retails for $48) and wore it all 13 times that I went to the gym during December. I took it through a variety of workouts (yoga, cardio, strength training) and broke a sweat every time. On days two and three, things looked good. Despite sweaty workouts, the shirt didn't smell. (Disclaimer: There are plenty of reasons why you should wash your workout clothes after every use besides the smell.)
Sadly, the fresh scent didn't last. By day four there was a lingering odor, and it went downhill from there. By day 10, I was thanking my lucky stars that I don't know anyone at my gym. At the end of the experiment, I stuck the armpit of the shirt in my poor parents' noses. My mom said it smelled like it was fresh out of my drawer, and my dad said that it was the worst odor he'd smelt in 50 years of living. I think the truth is somewhere in between. (Related: How to Get the Smell Out of Seriously Stinky Clothes)
IMO, Ably's 13-days claim was an exaggeration, but the shirt definitely had odor-repelling powers. With each day it smelled less strongly than it would have had I been wearing a standard workout shirt. While I wouldn't recommend following in my footsteps for a full month, I would recommend the shirt if you're looking to save room in a carry-on and need a shirt you can get away with working out in a few times. (Which is probably closer to the actual intended use of the shirt, anyway.) But to anyone who desperately wants to believe there's a cure for laundry: Don't expect anything to smell fresh after a month.