Stop the Stink: How to Prevent and Get Rid of Odors on Your Gym Clothes

Stop the Stink: How to Prevent and Get Rid of Odors on Your Gym Clothes

Have you ever had this happen to you? You're in the middle of a tough set at the gym, someone walks by, and you catch a whiff of a terrible sour smell. The smell is enough the break your concentration and makes you think about how they could walk around smelling like that. It may also make you wonder if your gym clothes ever smell like that, causing others to give you funny looks. If you ever wondered why gym clothes stink, how to clean them, and how to prevent the stink in the first place, you're in the right place. 

Why Gym Clothes Stink

Gym clothes stink because they absorb bacteria, dirt, oil, and sweat from your body that you generate while you're working out. These particles get stuck in the fabric and as they break down they start to stink. The longer you let the dirt stay on your dirty clothes, the worse the smell gets.

Why Regular Washing Doesn't Always Get Rid of the Smell

Washing clothes in the traditional sense of tossing your clothes in the washing machine with normal detergent may have been fine in the days of cotton and other natural fabrics, but not anymore. Newer synthetic materials are great at wicking sweat, but this also makes them hold odor more than natural fibers. These synthetics require special methods to clean compared to their natural counterparts. 

How to Remove the Stink from Smelly Gym Clothes

It requires a little extra work to remove every bit of stink from your smelly gym clothes. You'll have to sanitize, soak, and use a special soap to get them back to a like-new condition. 

Sanitize with Bleach

Bleach, known for its sanitizing abilities, can kill basically every type of bacteria or virus given enough time. There are a few different ways you can use it to sanitize your workout clothes and eliminate these odor-causing bacteria. First off, you can pre-treat your clothes by misting them with a diluted bleach mixture, Turn your clothes inside out first so the spray hits the bacteria directly. If you want to wash your clothes with bleach, most washing machines have a special place to pour in bleach. Oxygenated bleach powder is another great option to use as a standalone detergent. Just be careful not to pour straight bleach directly onto clothes, or it may ruin them. 

Soak in Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the most useful natural cleaners and is no slacker when it comes to laundry. Its high acid levels kill some bacteria, eliminate odors, and even remove stains. You can either pre-soak your clothes in a mixture of five parts water to one part vinegar for 30 minutes to days before washing or use it as a detergent replacement. Pre-soaking loosens up the dirt and grime allowing the detergent to do its full duty.

Try Specialized Soaps

Engineers have designed specialized soaps that excel at penetrating the fabric of these newer synthetic materials, to get out all of the grimeTry buying one of these detergents instead of the one-size-fits-all bottle you may have grown up with.

How to Prevent Stink from Accumulating

Once your clothes are smelling fresh again, you don't want to have to constantly deep clean them. Make sure you wash them immediately with the right detergents or wear materials that can't absorb bacteria to begin with to keep stink from accumulating. 

Wash Clothes Immediately After Use

The longer clothes sit after you work out, the more time they have for their stench to build and build. If you have a load of laundry ready, toss your dirty gym clothes into the washing machine with them once you get home. If you don't have enough laundry for a full load or want to conserve water, you can pre-soak your gym clothes in the aforementioned vinegar mixture until you are ready.

Wear Bacteria-Resistant Clothing 

There are a few different types of material, both natural and synthetic, that are perfect for working out in and keeping odor-causing bacteria at bay.

  • Wool — Wool is natural and has excellent breathability and moisture-wicking properties. It keeps you dry so you don't sweat and create as many odors. The lanolin oil in the fiber is naturally bacteria resistant, so it eliminates one less cause of odor.
  • Synthetics — There are numerous ways synthetics get their bacteria-resistant properties. Some fabrics weave in silver with the material, which is effective against bacteria. Others don't allow the dirt and oils to bind to the fibers themselves, stopping the smell from even getting a start. 

Use the Right Detergents

Always use the type of detergent designed for the specific material you are trying to clean. There are now detergents for wool, synthetics, and microfibers. Learn how to use each type with the correct material and you'll get your clothes back to smelling like new. 

Other Tips for Reducing Gym Stink

Now that you know how to remove stink from your clothes and stop it from accumulating, try these extra tips to reduce gym stench.

  • Create airflow — Use a mesh gym bag and don't put your clothes in a hamper. The more fresh air your clothing gets the less it will smell. 
  • Change your diet — If you eat leafy greens, beans, legumes, or heavily spiced food, your body may produce even more stinky odors.
  • Sun-dry your clothes — The sun's UV rays kill bacteria after prolonged exposure, so try drying your clothes outside. It'll save you money on your electric bill too.

Don't Hit the Gym with Smelly Workout Clothes

Now that you know why stink happens, how to get rid of it, and prevent it from happening in the future, you're ready to get in some stink-free workouts. If you're ready to replace any of your smelly workout clothes or need anything to help you reach your fitness goals, can help you on your journey. We offer all of the supplements you need along with workout accessories, clothing, workout plans, and health information. 

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