Dealing with the Not so Sweet Smell of Success

Who agrees that sporting new workout clothes can actually improve your performance? Knowing you look good can put that extra pep in your step, making you want to run that extra mile or drop it lower at the barre. I confess, I have run a few extra laps around the gym simply because I was wearing a new tank top.

After pushing that hard, it’s only natural that you would want to bask in the sweet smell of success—but sometimes it’s not so sweet. In fact, you might find that the reward for all that hard work is that you, and your sassy new gym clothes are a sweaty, smelly mess!

I spend a lot of money on gym clothes because I wear them daily and put them through hell. Even the ‘anti-stink’ technology that many brands promote is sometimes not enough to keep my gym clothes smelling fresh after every workout and wash.

Because the only reminder of a good workout that I want is sore muscles, I started to research methods that could help me get rid of any lingering stench. Here are a few of my favorite ways to help tame the odor and preserve the life of your gym clothes so you can keep rocking those killer outfits!

  • Bag 'Em Up:

Avoid rolling up your sweaty gym clothes, stuffing them in your gym bag and forgetting about them--- trust me I’ve made this mistake! Leaving them bundled can promote the growth of bacteria, and that’s the last thing you want. If you’re on the go after your workout, place your dirty clothes in a portable sports laundry bag (preferably one that is reusable and washable) to keep them separate from the other items in your gym bag. As soon as you get home, air them out and then place them in a separate laundry bin just for your workout clothes until you can run them through the wash. Some gyms also provide machines that compress your clothes and squeeze out any excess moisture, which is helpful when you have to store your clothes for several hours.

  • Flip Them Inside Out:

The sweat, odors and toxins we release can get trapped between our skin and clothing. Flipping your clothes inside out before placing them in the wash will not only allow the water and detergent to clean the parts of your clothing that are in constant contact with your skin, it will also preserve the color of your pieces.

  • Say NO to Fabric Softener:

Fabric softeners can create a film or barrier on your clothes that prevents them from getting properly cleaned. It can also lock in odors and sweat, creating an unpleasant smell, and eventually affecting the moisture wicking and ‘anti-stink’ properties of your clothing.

  • Light on the Detergent:

Similar to the effects of fabric softeners, too much detergent can create a layer of soap scum on your clothes that prevents them from getting thoroughly cleaned. Rule of thumb: Use less than the recommended amount on the bottle, or about half of what you would normally use.

  • Keep it Cool:

Wash your clothes in cold water and either air dry, or use the lowest heat setting on your dryer. Heat can cause the fabrics to slowly break down, losing their ‘anti-stink’ technology and elasticity.

  • Clear Magic:

If all else fails, soak your clothes in cold water with a half cup of vinegar for 30 minutes, or add vinegar to the rinse cycle of your wash. Vinegar is an excellent and natural way to help break down the odors and eliminate any buildup.

Taking good care of your workout clothes will give you that extra boost of confidence to power through your routine knowing your look (and smell) great! How do you keep your workout clothes fresh? Please share your favorite tips!