5 Easy Tips to Stop the STINK in your Gym Clothes

As I sit here in my still sweaty workout clothes….I know this is totally gross…I slightly wonder if that smell is coming from me. 

What in the world am I going to use to get that funky body sweat smell out of these leggings?

Seriously wondering… “What the heck is that smell…is it me, my leggings, or both?”,

I figure It was time to do a little research and find out.  I totally thought the sweat was the culprit to the stink, but it turns out that it is the bacteria on our skin that is causing the issue.  Basically, this bacteria loves wet environments and us leaving a sweaty workout clothes makes it in heaven.  When we sweat, the bacteria grows and multiples which causes the order.  Eek!

What is this bacteria causing the smell and where are the antibodies to treat it?

Totally heading straight to the source of all body info and ended on WebMD.  Here is what I have learned.  The nasty little bacteria has it’s own official name for the smell it produces….bromhidrosis.  Like…it even has the word “hid” inside this….goodness.

Why do workout clothes hang on to that funky smell after going through the wash?

Have you heard the term “rebloom” effect?  This is a buzz word going around in articles on this very topic.  The bases of it is that washed workout clothes can start to get that stink back even after you washed them.  What??!!!??  I mean…..noooooooooo!!!!

Have you ever had a time where you put on clean leggings and the matching sports bra, head to that barre class, and 5 minutes you get a whiff of that musty smell?  Yeah girl…that is you and THIS is not ok.

Does this hurt anything?

Other than our and our friend’s noses?  No….but it can causes some serious distance between you and your friends on a stinky day.

How do I make it stop?

Tip 1: Take off those sweaty workout clothes immediately!

I am the worst with this and probably shouldn’t say or type that here.  It’s sooo gross but…I cannot even tell you how many times I find that after completing my workout…well my to-do list exponentially exploded.  2 grilled cheese, dog farts, and washer to dryer swap later, I often find myself 2 hours post workout and in the same clothes. So…this is one for me to work on.

What do the expects say?  Sounding like we need to take the wet sweaty leggings off as soon as possible since the bacteria is running it’s own race to multiple and thus bring on the stink.  Think of this this way….you know when you leave those stinky workout clothes in the bottom of a gym bag to only find them a week later.  And then you find yourself passed out on the bathroom floor after accidently taken a whiff?  Yeah….that’s what I am talking about.

Takeaway….even if it’s a small load, wash it!

Tip 2:  If you don’t have time to wash immediately, let them air out BEFORE you put them in the laundry basket

What every you do….and I repeat….don’t l leave your wet workout clothes in a small container (i.e. gym bag, trunk of car, laundry hamper, or even the washing machine as a holder).

Taking those super sweaty leggings and rolling them into a ball to your hamper is creating the perfect storm and breeding ground for bacteria and thus those nasty orders are going to stay right where you left them. 

If you are not able to wash right away (or waiting for a larger load to start), lay out the clothes.  The tub or shower edge, or even the top of the dryer is a great spot.  My husband who plays 487 tennis matches comes home soaked…and I mean soaked.  He immediately takes them off and stretches them out across the tile floor, takes his shower, and then takes everything to the wash.  It sounds gross but it does help with the smell populating in the hamper when it is forgotten and not washed.

And if you need more clothes to wash, you are more than welcome to come get some of my teenage son’s clothes.  Yeah….I see you walking away.

Tip 3: Turn your workout clothes inside out before you wash them

Think it this way…the smell is caused by the bacteria on our skin which is on the INSIDE of our clothes.  Totally making sense to me and would have never thought to do this.   Turning those fabulously cute leggings inside out will allow for the water and detergent to reach the sources of smells.  Talking ninjas to the smelliest parts of your threads.  This is also going to attack that underarm odor so flip that workout top too.

Tip 4: Go easy on the detergent and stop using fabric softeners

This is the CRAZIEST tip but I think I have read about it in almost every single article I researched.  Using too much detergent is the number one mistake that people make when it comes to laundry.  I don’t know about you but I was totally doubling down on the smelly loads.  Using more detergent won’t leave the clothes cleaner but instead leaves a build up of the soap residue.  Unfortunately, this residue traps the orders in our clothes and is a primary reason for our favorite clean leggings smelling 5 minutes after we put them on. 

If you are like me and have been doubling down on detergent, you do not have to throw away those favorite pair of leggings.  There is a good solution to this one.  The fix is 2 parts…need to fix the buildup with a few tweaks AND change the laundry game coming forward.

To reverse the buildup, take those legging and wash using a half dose of detergent PLUS a half cup (to a full cup) of white vinegar to the rise cycle.  Vinegar?  I know…I am having my doubts to…like have you ever smelled vinegar?  But the expects are swearing by this tweak.  The vinegar will eliminate the lingering smells as well as break up the detergent build up. 

Fabric softeners….leave them on the shelf for your workout gear. This fabulous product leaves a coating on our activewear that can lead to the order staying put.  This coating, especially when there is a buildup, makes it so much harder for water and detergent to get into those fibers and thus leaving the smell in place. 

Tip 5: Buy new workout gear

I am only somewhat serious on this one but sometimes….you just got to say goodbye to those leggings.  If you have that one pair that no matter what you do, the stink is stronger than your cleaning power…well…it’s time to part company.  This is exactly why I am on the hunt for super affordable active wear (talking way less than $100 per legging) so that when I need to ditch an item, I don’t cry.

Fight the funk!

Sometimes it’s so hard to remember what I even wore before it became socially acceptable to run around in leggings 24/7.  I think the husband has just officially given up on me being cute in skinny jeans and boots with heels.  Like who even needs that kind of constriction in their life.  Leggings are life….Fight me on this….as the saying goes “with my leggings, I have full range of motion and can kick” 😊

So…5 steps that a girl can put into place immediately.  And since I am sitting here in my sweaty workout gear as I write this, I am now off to get them cleaned.

It’s your turn. 

Have you found something that beats the stink? 

Tell us in the comments!

Oh….and if you liked this post, please share!

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