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How Do You Get The Smell Out Of Workout Clothes How Do You Get The Smell Out Of Workout Clothes


How Do You Get The Smell Out Of Workout Clothes

Discover the secrets to eliminating odor from your workout clothes with our featured guide. Say goodbye to smelly gear and hello to fresh, clean laundry.


Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, but the unpleasant odor that lingers on workout clothes can be a major deterrent. If you’ve ever experienced the unbearable stench that emanates from your gym clothes, you’re not alone. Sweaty, damp fabrics can create a breeding ground for bacteria, resulting in a foul smell that seems impossible to eliminate.

In this article, we will explore the reasons why workout clothes tend to develop such stubborn odors, and provide you with effective strategies to get rid of them. From common mistakes that contribute to the problem, to proper washing techniques and natural remedies, we have you covered.

One of the main reasons why workout clothes smell is due to the sweat and bacteria that get trapped in the fabrics. Unlike everyday clothing, workout attire is designed to absorb and wick away moisture, which means that sweat doesn’t evaporate as quickly, providing an ideal environment for bacteria to flourish.

It’s important to note that even if your workout clothes don’t smell immediately after exercise, they can develop a lingering odor over time. This is because the bacteria present in sweat continue to multiply, causing the smell to intensify with each wear.

Now that we understand why workout clothes can become so smelly, let’s delve into the common mistakes that many people make, which unknowingly contribute to the odor problem.


Why Do Workout Clothes Smell?

It’s frustrating when you wash your workout clothes only to find that the smell lingers, even after multiple washes. Understanding the reasons behind this persistent odor is key to effectively eliminating it.

One of the primary culprits is the sweat that accumulates during exercise. When we engage in physical activity, our bodies produce sweat as a way to cool down. Sweat is mostly composed of water, but it also contains salt, oils, and other compounds. As the sweat permeates our clothing, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria.

Bacteria on our skin feed on the components in sweat, breaking them down into byproducts. These byproducts, such as fatty acids and ammonia, are what create the unpleasant odor we associate with sweaty clothes. The longer the bacteria have to proliferate, the stronger the odor becomes.

Another factor that contributes to the smell is the type of fabric used in workout clothes. Synthetic materials like polyester and nylon are commonly used because they are moisture-wicking and help to keep us dry during exercise. However, these fabrics may also trap sweat and bacteria more easily than natural fibers, exacerbating the odor problem.

Furthermore, improper care and washing techniques can compound the problem. Using too much detergent or fabric softener, or washing clothes in cold water, may not effectively remove bacteria or odors. Additionally, leaving sweaty clothes in a damp pile or storing them in a gym bag without proper ventilation can further promote bacterial growth and intensify the smell.

To tackle the issue of smelly workout clothes, we need to address these underlying factors and adopt proper washing techniques. By doing so, we can effectively eliminate the odor and enjoy fresh-smelling activewear for our future workouts.


Common Mistakes that Cause Odor

When it comes to washing workout clothes, there are several common mistakes that people make, inadvertently contributing to the persistent odor. Let’s take a closer look at these mistakes so that you can avoid them and keep your activewear smelling fresh.

1. Using too much detergent: It may seem counterintuitive, but using excessive amounts of detergent can actually be detrimental. This is because detergent residue can build up in the fibers of your clothes, trapping odor-causing bacteria. Follow the instructions on the detergent label and use the appropriate amount for your load size.

2. Using fabric softener: While fabric softener can leave your clothes feeling softer, it can also create a film on the fabric that attracts bacteria and locks in odors. Opt for vinegar or specialized sports detergents instead, as these can effectively combat odors without leaving residue.

3. Washing in cold water: Cold water may be more energy-efficient, but it is less effective at killing bacteria and removing odors. Use warm or hot water when washing your workout clothes to ensure a thorough clean.

4. Leaving clothes in the washer: Letting damp, sweaty clothes sit in the washing machine for an extended period can cause them to develop a musty smell. Remove your workout clothes from the washer promptly after the cycle is complete, and avoid leaving them in a damp pile for too long.

5. Overloading the washing machine: Stuffing too many clothes into the washer can prevent them from agitating properly and getting a thorough wash. This can leave behind traces of bacteria and sweat, contributing to the odor problem. Follow the recommended load sizes for your specific washing machine.

6. Not pre-treating stains: Sweat stains are common on workout clothes, and if left untreated, they can contribute to the development of odor. Before washing, pre-treat any visible stains using a stain remover or a mixture of water and detergent.

By avoiding these common mistakes and implementing proper washing techniques, you can effectively eliminate odor-causing bacteria from your workout clothes and prevent them from persisting.


Proper Washing Techniques

Proper washing techniques are crucial for effectively removing odor-causing bacteria from workout clothes. By following these guidelines, you can ensure your activewear remains fresh and odor-free:

1. Separate your workout clothes: Washing your workout clothes separately from your regular laundry can help prevent cross-contamination. The sweat and bacteria on your workout clothes can transfer onto other garments, leading to an unpleasant smell. Sort your clothes based on color and fabric type.

2. Turn clothes inside out: Turning your workout clothes inside out before washing helps expose the areas that collect the most sweat and bacteria. This allows the detergent to penetrate and clean these areas more effectively.

3. Choose the correct water temperature: Warm or hot water is generally more effective at killing bacteria and removing sweat and oils. Check the care label on your clothing to ensure it can withstand higher temperatures. If in doubt, choose a lower temperature setting.

4. Use the right amount of detergent: Measure and use the appropriate amount of detergent for your load size. Using too little may not effectively clean your clothes, while using too much can leave behind residue. Choose a detergent specifically designed for sports or activewear, as these are formulated to tackle odor-causing bacteria.

5. Add vinegar or baking soda: Adding a cup of white vinegar or half a cup of baking soda to the wash cycle can help neutralize odors and remove bacteria. These natural remedies work well alongside detergent to freshen up your workout clothes.

6. Avoid fabric softener: Fabric softeners can leave a residue on your clothes that can trap bacteria and intensify odors. Instead, opt for vinegar as a natural fabric softener and odor neutralizer.

7. Don’t overcrowd the washer: Overloading the washer can prevent clothes from agitating properly and getting a thorough clean. It’s important to give your clothes enough space to move around freely.

8. Skip the dryer: Heat from the dryer can set in odors and make them more difficult to remove. Instead, hang your workout clothes to air dry. The fresh air and sunlight will help eliminate any remaining odors.

By following these proper washing techniques, you can effectively cleanse your workout clothes and remove the stubborn odor-causing bacteria, leaving them fresh and ready for your next workout.


Using Natural Remedies to Remove Odor

If you prefer to use natural remedies to eliminate odor from your workout clothes, there are several options you can try. These remedies are not only effective but also safe for both your clothes and the environment:

1. White vinegar: White vinegar is renowned for its odor-neutralizing properties. Add one cup of white vinegar to your wash cycle along with your regular detergent. The vinegar will help break down sweat residue and kill bacteria, leaving your clothes fresh and odor-free.

2. Baking soda: Baking soda is another natural ingredient that can combat odors effectively. Add half a cup of baking soda to the wash cycle along with your detergent. Baking soda works by neutralizing odors and removing bacteria from the fabric.

3. Lemon juice: Lemon juice contains citric acid, which helps to eliminate bacteria and odors. Squeeze the juice from a fresh lemon and add it to the wash cycle. The refreshing scent of lemon will leave your workout clothes smelling fresh.

4. Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil has natural antibacterial properties that can help eliminate odor-causing bacteria. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to the wash cycle or create a spray by diluting it with water and misting it onto your clothes before washing.

5. Activated charcoal: Activated charcoal is a highly porous substance that can absorb and trap odors. Place a few activated charcoal sachets or a small bowl of activated charcoal near your workout clothes to absorb any lingering smells.

6. Sunlight and fresh air: After washing, hang your workout clothes outdoors in direct sunlight. Sunlight has a natural bleaching and deodorizing effect, helping to eliminate any remaining odors. Fresh air also helps to remove trapped odors and leave your clothes smelling fresh.

These natural remedies can be used in combination with proper washing techniques to maximize their effectiveness. Experiment with different methods to find what works best for you and your workout clothes. Say goodbye to unpleasant odors and hello to naturally fresh-smelling activewear!


Tips for Preventing Odor in Workout Clothes

Prevention is always better than cure, especially when it comes to avoiding the unpleasant smell that can plague workout clothes. By incorporating the following tips into your routine, you can help prevent odor from developing in the first place:

1. Change immediately after exercising: As soon as you finish your workout, change out of your sweaty clothes and into fresh ones. This prevents the sweat from lingering on your skin and transferring onto your clothing, minimizing the potential for odor to develop.

2. Rinse your clothes before washing: If you can’t wash your workout clothes immediately after wearing them, rinse them in cold water. This will help remove some of the sweat and bacteria, making the odor less likely to set in.

3. Dry clothes properly: After washing, make sure your workout clothes are completely dry before storing them. Dampness creates a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to the development of odor. Hang your clothes to air dry or use a drying rack to ensure thorough drying.

4. Avoid using excessive fabric softener: Fabric softeners can create a barrier on the fabric, preventing proper moisture-wicking and trapping odors. Instead, use vinegar as a natural fabric softener and odor neutralizer.

5. Wash on a regular basis: Ideally, wash your workout clothes after each use. If that’s not possible, try to wash them within 24-48 hours to prevent bacteria from multiplying and odor from developing. This also helps to prevent sweat stains from setting in.

6. Choose breathable fabrics: Opt for workout clothes made from breathable fabrics like bamboo, cotton, or moisture-wicking materials. These fabrics allow for better airflow, reducing the likelihood of sweat getting trapped and bacteria proliferating.

7. Rotate your activewear: Instead of wearing the same set of workout clothes every day, rotate through a few different sets. This gives your clothes ample time to air out and dry between uses, preventing the buildup of odor-causing bacteria.

8. Store clothes in a well-ventilated area: Avoid keeping sweaty clothes in a sealed gym bag or an enclosed space with limited airflow. Instead, store them in a well-ventilated area to allow them to breathe and dry out properly.

By implementing these preventive measures, you can prolong the freshness of your workout clothes and minimize the chances of odor developing. Enjoy your workouts without worrying about unpleasant smells!



Dealing with the smell that clings to workout clothes can be a frustrating experience, but with the right knowledge and strategies, you can effectively eliminate odors and keep your activewear fresh. Understanding the reasons behind the odor is crucial, as sweat and bacteria trapped in the fabric are the main culprits.

By avoiding common mistakes like using too much detergent, washing in cold water, or leaving clothes to sit in the washer, you can prevent odor from worsening. Instead, follow proper washing techniques such as turning clothes inside out, using the right amount of detergent, and adding vinegar or baking soda to neutralize odors.

For those who prefer natural remedies, options like white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, tea tree oil, and activated charcoal can effectively combat bacteria and eliminate odors. Additionally, taking preventive measures such as changing immediately after exercise, rinsing clothes before washing, and properly drying your activewear can help minimize the chances of odor development.

Remember to choose breathable fabrics and rotate your workout clothes to allow for better airflow and drying time. Store your clothes in a well-ventilated area and wash them regularly to keep them smelling fresh and free from bacteria.

With these tips and techniques, you can say goodbye to the persistent smell that haunts your workout clothes. Enjoy your exercise routines with confidence, knowing that your activewear will remain fresh and odor-free.