Your Gym Clothes Will Never Be Stinky Again Thanks To This Trick

Your Gym Clothes Will Never Be Stinky Again Thanks To This Trick

by | Aug 27, 2020

Sometimes it’s hard to remember what everyone even wore before it became socially acceptable to run around in activewear 24/7. (Jeans to grab Saturday coffee? Sounds restricting.) The beauty of stretchy pants and sports bras is a no brainer—but cleaning them is another story.

There’s a new buzzword making the rounds in the fitness community, and it’s called the “rebloom” effect, according to P&G. It refers to recently washed workout clothes that start smelling bad again shortly after you put them on. (If you’ve gotten a musty whiff of yourself after just a short walk to the spin studio, you know what we’re talking about.) It ain’t cute.

Moisture-wicking performance fabrics, which do an amazing job of sending wetness to the surface of the fabric to keep you cool and dry, tend to have extra nooks and crannies that cling to dirt and odors, says laundry expert Mary Marlowe Leverette, who works as a consultant to detergent manufacturers, consumer textile distributors, and appliance developers.

Laundry detergent has a hard time penetrating those grooves, and can even trap the bad stuff in. And since performance fabrics dry super fast, you might even forget just how sweaty your clothes got. So instead of throwing them in the wash, you watch six episodes of Orange Is the New Black, and then head out to grab a smoothie. It’s a stinking time bomb.

Want to make sure your (sometimes absurdly expensive) sweat threads stay fresh?

RELATED: The 5 Top Activewear Trends Of 2019

1. Air your clothes out before tossing them in the hamper.

Rolling super-sweaty workout clothes into a tight ball and sending them to the bottom of your hamper might help with your laundry anxiety, but those clothes will become a breeding ground for bacteria—and all those nasty odours will stay right where you left them, says Leverette. If you’re not doing laundry right away, layout sweaty clothes so they can breathe in the fresh air.

2. Try freezing them for a quick stink fix.

Can’t lay them out around your apartment before washing? Toss your workout clothes in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer until you can wash them. The cold air prevents bacteria from growing and nixes odour until you can do laundry.

3. Go easy on the detergent.

Whether you’re using a special sports detergent or plain old Tide, don’t add extra suds to your washing machine with hopes that they’ll work overtime on sweat smells. (You’re asking for extra soap scum on your clothes, which can cause a buildup of mould and mildew—it’s actually a food source for bacteria, says Leverette.)

Two teaspoons of high performing brands like Tide, Wisk, and Persil is usually more than plenty per load of laundry, says Leverette. Or, try half or three-quarters of the amount of detergent that you normally use and perform a sniff test to hit the sweet spot.




4. Skip the fabric softener.

Liquid or sheets, you don’t want this stuff near your workout gear. Fabric softeners can clog the fibres of performance fabrics, keeping water and detergent from getting into those grooves for a deep clean, and messing with moisture-wicking and odour-fighting properties.

5. Wash your clothes inside out.

Flipping clothes—especially leggings—inside out helps detergent get to work on the smelliest parts of your threads (the areas that were in direct contact with your skin). It’s a great move to eliminate underarm odour too. Plus, this will help protect the colour in your favourite neon yellow top, too.

RELATED: This Is The Activewear Trend You’ll Be Seeing Everywhere In 2019

6. Don’t wash them with heavy fabrics.

Items like fleece pullovers, sweatshirts, and towels can transfer their lint to stretchy workout fabrics, which makes it harder for detergent and water to get through.

7. Toss ‘em with vinegar.

To deep clean any odours that just won’t quit, try soaking clothes in one part white distilled vinegar and four parts cold water for 30 minutes. Another solution for stripping clothes of old odours is to mix a solution of oxygen bleach (like Oxi Clean) with cool water, and let the clothes soak overnight, says Leverette.

8. Add baking soda to your laundry load.

Another option? Add a cup of baking soda to your laundry during the rinse cycle to neutralise bad odours for good.



9. Pour in lemon juice for added freshness.

Sounds weird, but the citric acid in lemon juice can break down oils from your body in the clothes, which can help destroy odour. Plus, the lemony smell is a great way to get a boost of freshness without fragrance-heavy detergent.

10. Soak clothes in buttermilk to get rid of mildew.

If you left your clothes in a plastic bag at the bottom of your gym bag for a few days (guilty!), you can get rid of that mildew-y smell by pre-soaking your clothes in buttermilk overnight before washing them.

11. Let your clothes hang dry.

Machine-drying your performance fabrics is typically a no-no anyway since it can wear down the fabric, but letting your clothes air-dry is another way to increase freshness. Sometimes, machines don’t get clothes all the way dry, and then they sit in a hot, moist pile waiting for you to take them out of the dryer. Not exactly the best move for freshness. Letting them hang-dry ensures they get constant air flow as moisture evaporates.

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US. 

RELATED: 1 In 3 People Don’t Wash Their Active Wear After Working Out

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8 Of The Best Exercise Shorts That Will Power You Through A Summer Of Movement

It’s official: Shorts Season is officially here. While lockdown has seen many of us realise that activewear is less something to be worn for a workout and more a uniform we choose to do any and all daily activities in, when the warmer temperatures roll around, that favourite pair of sweatpants and leggings sometimes don’t cut it. Sure, they might be a staple in any wardrobe, but the Aussie sun doesn’t listen to reason, no matter how comfortable or cute it might be. And when it comes to summer, working out in leggings can feel like being trapped in a sauna, the sweat pooling at your ankles and around the waistband – as well as those other areas we won’t mention here. 

But as we transition from leggings to shorts, it becomes clear pretty quickly that not all shorts are created equal, and certainly not all shorts are fit for a workout. Take it from us at Women’s Health HQ, we’ve been there, tried it and lived to see the consequences. From the shorts that look cute but ride up to show your undies on the run, to those that feel like being strapped into a harness that’s digging into your hip bones. Then there are the fabrics that can cause chafing – a big no – and those that basically shine a spotlight on any area you might be sweating. 

Thankfully, a number of brands are here to cater to your exercise needs with innovative materials, fabrics and sustainable options to see you through a summer of movement. Regardless of your workout preferences or daily activity, we’ve selected the best shorts that will ensure you feel good in your body, shorts that get you excited to embrace the day and attack it with energy, that make you want to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, whether it be walking, running, or socialising in the park. Here are our pick of the best bike shorts below. 


Uptown Biker, $240

What says summer more than a pop of orange and the sleek shape of these Nagnata biker shorts? With its mid-length and horizontal raised rib side detail, these are shorts you can wear both for a workout and out to meet the girls. Made in Australia with a technical knit fabrication, the double-layer jacquard provides gentle sculpting qualities for the body, making it an excellent choice for light to moderate fitness activities like yoga, pilates or barre. 

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New Balance

Q Speed Fuel Short, $70

We love the colour of these shorts from New Balance which are cut with a sleek, speedy look that also helps to elongate the legs. Featuring NB DRY moisture wicking fabric, these are the shorts you want for high intensity exercise or long runs, keeping you comfortable and dry. There’s also an interior brief for added comfort and a stash pocket to keep your essentials. 

All Access

Ultra High Rise Zip Front Biker Short, $78

Yes, the colour is amazing but the fit is equally sensational on these All Access shorts. For those who love a high-rise fit and wide waistband that holds you in at the waist, look no further. The sleek, shiny look offers mid-compression and the fabric is moisture-wicking, so you can stay comfortable even during your sweatiest workouts. 


Nike x Naomi Osaka Utility Short, $90

Few things are worse than heading out the door for a run and realising your shorts offer no pockets for those essentials you need. You’re left to hold your iPhone, keys, and anything else you might need in your sweaty palm. Thankfully, Naomi Osaka knows what we need when it comes to exercise shorts and these utility shorts from her collaboration with Nike offer all that and more with a relaxed fit and elastic waistband. 


Session short Tights, $72

When it comes to bike shorts, you want to feel supported and held in but you also want to be able to breathe. These Tracksmith session short tights are exceptional in offering support while still ensuring comfort remains a priority. Forget about chafing, these shorts won’t ride up and down and the fabric offers more coverage and support against the body. 

Outdoor Voices

Relay 3” Short, $48

Who said summer shorts have to be boring? Outdoor Voices brings fashion-forward style and playfulness to their collections with fun prints and exciting colours. We love the relay 3” shorts for their ultralight, quick-drying fabric that also happens to be made from recycled polyester. But more importantly, we love the print and Poppy Swirl is as good as it gets. There’s even a hidden pocket for your valuables, too. 


Align High-Rise Short 6”, $69

If you’re familiar with the buttery-soft feel of Lululemon’s tights, you’ll want to get your hands on a pair of their shorts, too. Made with the same Nulu fabric that their tights are known for, these shorts feel weightless and super soft. They might be our go-to staple for any workout, but the feel is so second-skin that it’s hard to not wear them for every other activity, too. 

Spiritual Gangster

Seamless Biker Short, $112

These biker shorts from Spiritual Gangster move with you, thanks to a three-tiered compressive waistband that offers a flattering high waist that hugs you in all the right places, without proving constrictive. They offer medium compression but are built for all day comfort, and the colour is a true summer staple because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love tie-dye?