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How to Properly Launder Your Running Shorts: A Comprehensive Guide How to Properly Launder Your Running Shorts: A Comprehensive Guide


How to Properly Launder Your Running Shorts: A Comprehensive Guide

Discover a comprehensive guide on how to properly launder your running shorts. Learn about the best practices for washing, drying, and caring for your running shorts to maintain their performance and longevity.

To the dedicated runner, their running shorts are much more than just a piece of clothing. They’re a piece of essential equipment that can make the difference between a comfortable, productive run and an uncomfortable one. But as with any vital piece of equipment, proper care and maintenance are essential for maximizing longevity and performance. This comprehensive guide will provide you with expert tips on how to properly launder your running shorts.

Understand Your Running Shorts’ Material

Different materials require different care procedures. Common materials for running shorts include:

  • Synthetic fabrics: Polyester, nylon, and spandex are the most common materials used in running shorts. They are praised for their durability, moisture-wicking capabilities, and elasticity.
  • Natural fabrics: Although less common in running shorts, you may find some made from natural fabrics like cotton or bamboo. These are known for their softness and breathability.

Understanding your running shorts’ fabric will guide you in choosing the correct washing and drying procedures.

Reading the Care Label

Before you do anything, read the care label on your running shorts. This label includes valuable information, such as:

  • Water temperature for washing
  • Recommended wash cycle (gentle, normal, etc.)
  • Whether or not to use bleach
  • Drying instructions

Following the manufacturer’s instructions on the care label will go a long way in preserving your running shorts’ lifespan and quality.

Pretreating Stains

Active individuals know all too well about the dreaded sweat stains on their running shorts. To treat these:

  • Apply a small amount of mild liquid detergent directly on the stain.
  • Gently rub the fabric together to help the detergent penetrate the fibers.
  • Allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes before washing.
Hand-Washing Shorts

Image from Adobe

Washing Your Running Shorts

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to wash your running shorts properly:

  1. Turn your shorts inside out: This helps to protect the colors and reduce the wear on the outer fabric.
  2. Use the right detergent: Choose a mild detergent, preferably one specifically designed for sportswear. These detergents are designed to remove sweat, body oils, and odors more effectively than regular detergents.
  3. Set the correct temperature: Unless the care label specifies otherwise, wash your running shorts in cold water. Hot water can break down the fibers of synthetic materials and cause shrinkage in natural fabrics.
  4. Choose the right wash cycle: If your washing machine has a ‘delicate’ or ‘sport’ setting, use that. Otherwise, a normal cycle will do.
  5. Avoid fabric softeners and bleach: These products can break down the fibers of your shorts and affect their moisture-wicking properties.

Drying Your Running Shorts

Air-dry when possible

Air drying is the best method to dry your running shorts as it minimizes wear and tear. Plus, it helps to maintain the shorts’ shape and fit. Lay them flat in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight.

If you must machine dry, use low heat

High heat can cause your running shorts to shrink or warp.

Avoid ironing

The heat from ironing can damage the synthetic fibers of your shorts. If your shorts are wrinkled, simply dampen them and smooth out the wrinkles by hand.

With these steps, you’ll not only keep your running shorts clean and fresh, but you’ll also prolong their lifespan, ensuring many more comfortable runs in your future.


Can I wash my running shorts with other clothes?

It’s best to wash your running shorts with similar fabrics and colors. Avoid washing them with heavy items like jeans or towels, which can cause unnecessary wear and tear.

How often should I wash my running shorts?

It’s best practice to wash your running shorts after each run to remove sweat, bacteria, and dirt.

Can I use bleach on my white running shorts?

Unless the care label specifies that it’s safe, avoid using bleach. It can damage the fibers and affect the shorts’ performance features.

My running shorts still smell after washing. What can I do?

Try soaking them in a solution of one part white vinegar to four parts water for 30 minutes before washing. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer and can help remove lingering odors.

How can I prevent my running shorts from getting stained?

Pretreat any potential stains as soon as possible, and wash your shorts promptly after running. It’s also helpful to choose running shorts in darker colors, where stains are less visible.