I tend to live in my activewear. I am either dressed like I am going to work out, or, I actually did work out and just haven’t showered yet! Just keeping it real. Can anyone else relate to this? I love activewear and live in it! I don’t think I’m the only one. I tend to buy activewear that has a higher price point because I wear it so much. But I am all for the frugal finds too. Either way, I need the fabric & quality to be great so it will last more than just a few wear and washes.
A few years ago I learned that I was ruining my workout clothes in the wash. I had always just washed it the same way I washed everything else. I mean who has the time to worry about that. Well…When my clothes started to wear out, smell funny, collect lint, and fade… I made a few changes to the way I cared for them that helped save my clothes and help them last longer. I can’t say that it helped my bank account since I have a slight obsession with leggings and cute workout clothes. I just keep buying more. It makes me happy and helps me get excited to work out. Now that my older clothes are lasting longer, it has created a need for more space in the closet.
Here are a few ways that you can quickly RUIN your Workout Clothes in the wash:
- Leaving them in a pile and not letting them air out while waiting for laundry day.
- Not washing them inside out.
- Washing with Different Fabrics.
- Using too much detergent & fabric softener
- Washing them in hot water
- Drying them in the Dryer (especially with other fabrics)
Do you do any of these? Yeah, I did too. It’s okay. Here is WHY you want to avoid these things and how to properly care for your activewear:
Let them Air Out
After you are finished with your workout, where do you put your clothes? Do you leave them on the floor in a pile? In the hamper all damp and nasty? Or even worse…Shoved in a gym bag? Left to sit, your sweat and dead skin cells will create a build-up of bacteria that’s harder to wash out. And it just smells really gross. After a workout, it’s best to hang pieces over the side of the hamper, tub, shower, or left to air out a bit if you can’t wash them right away.
Wash Inside Out
You want to wash your activewear inside out because the inside gets the dirtiest. The part that makes your workout wear moisture-wicking or has UV protection often comes from topical treatments on the outside of the clothing. Washing the pieces inside out protects the fabric and helps it last a lot longer.
When it comes to washing your workout clothes, you should think of them like your delicates and wash them separately from your everyday wear. Why? The soft fabrics will wear out faster because they are rubbing up against harsh materials such as denim and clothing with zippers or buttons. If you can’t handle doing all those loads, then consider putting your sports bras, tanks, and leggings in a medium to large mesh bag or pillowcase when you wash them.
Use Less Detergent and Skip the Softner
A lot of detergents, and especially fabric softeners, will break down the fibers that make your workout clothes stretchy and firm. When washing, avoid the urge to add extra soap. You should actually use less detergent. Just skip the fabric softener because the softening agents create a film that sticks to the synthetic spandex fabrics and makes them even harder to get clean. And it will block the pieces’ ability to dry wick.
If your exercise clothes are just really gross and nasty from an especially sweaty workout, soak them in a mixture of water and vinegar before you launder them. You can also put the vinegar right into the wash. If you don’t have vinegar, then a few tablespoons of baking soda added to your laundry load will neutralize the smell, as will a splash of lemon juice because the acid in the citrus will take a bite out of that nasty (and stinky) bacteria.
Skip the Dryer & Hang Dry
A hot dryer will shrink or warp your leggings, tops, and sports bras. More so, because the material is made to be fast-drying and moisture-wicking when you sweat. When you put it in the dryer the heat ruins the high-tech properties in the fabric that help it perform and it will no longer be moisture-wicking or fast drying. You will also notice that everything in the air starts to stick to it. Lint, hair, dirt…EVERYTHING. Over time you will notice the texture changes too. It is one of the fastest ways to RUIN your workout clothes. IF you are going to put your workout wear in the dryer, choose a low or AIR DRY setting. You especially want to separate your gym clothes from your regular laundry when it comes to the dryer because they will spend the last half of the dryer cycle baking.
After you remove your clothes from the wash, hang them in a dry, well-ventilated area away from the direct sunlight, as the sun makes color fade much faster. Avoid using a hanger. No one likes marks in their leggings, shirts, etc. The fabric will take on the shape of the hanger and leave marks or points in your shirts and indents in your pants if you use the clips. Fold them over something like a drying rank or the center of the hanger to dry.
Did you learn anything new! Do you have any other tips that you would like to share? Feel free to share them below! Here’s to keeping your favorite activewear vibrant and fresh for longer!