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11 Ways to Make Your Sweaty Workout Clothes Stink Less

11 Ways to Smell Less When You're Sweaty

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While a good stench is proof of a good sweat, sometimes you need to smell a little sweeter if you’re, say, grabbing coffee with a friend post-run. Deodorant can’t do it all, but luckily there are ways you can avoid the stench. From buying the right workout clothes to washing them correctly, keep things smelling sweet with these 10 suggestions. (Ever wonder why your sweat smells? Learn about The Bacteria That Causes Body Odor.)

Photo: Corbis Images

What to Wear

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The secret to forsaking the funk starts with the gear you wear. Luckily there’s an entire fleet of odor repelling products to keep things from getting too pungent.

Athleta's Unstinkable

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To keep things fresh, Athleta’s Unstinkable fabrics are made with silver salts. Silver bonds with the negative ions produced by your body’s bacteria, keeping them from reproducing. Unstinkable technology (found in an array of bras, tops, and bottoms) means you can wear clothes more, and wash them less. ($44;

Photo: Athleta

Lululemon's Silverescent

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Lululemon’s Silverescent technology weaves silver into each thread used in their gear—meaning that anti-stink technology will never wash out. Look for these spiffy silver threads in a full range of tees and tanks. ($48 to $88;

Photo: Lululemon Swiftly Tech Top

Pearl Izumi’s Minerale

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Cyclists stay loyal to Pearl Izumi’s Minerale gear for good reason—there’s nothing worse than being sweaty in the saddle on a 10-mile ride. The fabric used in all of Pearl Izumi’s base layers is made with Minerale technology, in which fabrics are infused with crushed volcanic rock. That not only sounds cool, it is cool: This speeds dry time and whisks away funky smells to keep you cool, dry, and stink-free—no matter how many miles you’re clocking. ($50; (Do You Smell? 10 Sneaky Sources of Body Odor.)

Photo: Pearl Izumi

The North Face's FlashDry

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If you’re hitting up brunch with your bestie right after you’re a.m. SoulCycle ride, you’re going to want to stay stink-free and dry. Eco-friendly FlashDry technology from The North Face wicks away sweat and odor so fast it would make even a mountaineer proud. ($40;

Photo: The North Face


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Shrimp may not be the first thought that comes to mind when you think stink-free, but Chitosan technology—which uses crushed shrimp shells to fight odor-causing bacteria—is starting to pop up in athletic fabrics. Check out Atayne’s eco-friendly chitosan treated gear or Wigwam’s moisture wicking chitosan socks to avoid the dreaded running shoe stench. ($35; ($12;

Photo: Atanye

37.5’s Cocona

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The newest odor-reducing technology on the block comes from coconuts. Cocona technology used by athletic fabric company 37.5’s gear uses the activated carbon in coconut shells to wick away moisture and block sweaty smells. The carbon in the fabric actually creates a microclimate against your skin so it keeps you warmer when it’s cold and cooler when you work up a sweat. Cocona tech from 37.5 can be found in Bauer’s base layer gear. Originally designed for hockey players, you know this line will stand up to some serious stink. ($75;

Photo: Bauer


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Not about the fancy (read: expensive) workout gear? A good old cotton tee might be your best odor-free bet. According to a study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, polyester (found in many synthetic fabric blends) encourages the production of odor-causing bacteria. The downside of staying away from synthetics? Cotton is a massive moisture absorbent, so even though you’re less prone to stinking, you might be walking around in sweat soaked clothes all day.

Photo: Corbis Images

How to Wash It

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Of course, some of our favorite workout gear isn’t treated with fancy-schmancy anti-stink technology, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck being smelly. Wash with the right stuff before you wear it to block odors. (Find out What Fitness Editors Really Wear to Work Out.)

Downy Fresh Protect

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Want to smell like you just walked out of a meadow instead of spin class? Wash your workout gear in Downy Fresh Protect. The little beads neutralize odor molecules once your sweat hits the shirt, plus it infuses the fabric with a better scent to not just negate but mask your funk. ($6 to $16;

Photo: Downy

Tide Plus Sport

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Tide Plus Sport is born from the same philosophy. Tide Plus Sport is infused with slow-releasing Frebreze molecules (just like your favorite air freshener) so the more you move, the fresher your smell. ($10; (Psst: Learn how to get rid of pesky sweat stains with this genius $1 trick.)

Photo: Tide

White Vinegar

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If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly hack, try washing with white vinegar. This stuff helps to prevent your favorite running tights from holding on to their funky scent by fighting odors in the fibers. Add a cup to the rinse cycle when you’re washing your sweaty gear (or pre-treat it with a 30-minute soak in the sink) to really get the stink out. ($5;

Photo: Soap

Skip the Softener

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Another laundry pro-tip? Skip the softener when you wash your athletic clothes. Since softener is designed to deliver moisture, it can leave a coating on your clothes that can actually trap scent—and the dead skin and bacteria that cause it—on your skin. Yuck! (Learn The Right Way to Wash Your Workout Clothes.)

Photo: Corbis Images


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