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Tips to clean your workout clothes the right way

January 18, 2022
Eloise Webb

If like many, you find washing your clothing a burden, you might have never put much thought into how to properly wash your gym clothes! Although it might seem like a one size fits all process, I regret to inform you that you could be doing more harm than good.

Gym clothing is designed with the intent to cool the body during exercise. The main way that the body thermoregulates is through evaporation - when your body gets hot, you sweat to cool down.

Cotton is highly absorbent and so impractical for workout clothing. Due to this gym clothing is usually made of a cotton mix blend. Common blends include polyester, rayon, nylon, latex, bamboo, wool, and spandex. The reason for this is that they have the most moisture-wicking properties.

Moisture-wicking is simply the process of moving moisture away from your skin during any physical activity. Rather advantageous for people working out.

If you are looking for ethical blends, bamboo viscose is a great option. It is soft, breathable and wicks moisture away from your skin just as well as other blends. We recommend Bam. They are a sustainable clothing company whose main material is bamboo.

Now that we have established what sets workout clothes apart from the rest of your wardrobe, we can get into how to wash them! There are two options.

Option A – Send your clothing into Oxwash!

For £5.95 a week we will make sure your be-loved sports clothes are washed in the most efficient way to optimise their effectiveness.

Have fresh and optimal gym wear delivered straight to your door by one of our trusty riders.

Option B – Follow our 6 top tips!

We know not everyone can afford to send their garments off to the pros. However, that doesn’t stop you from becoming a pro yourself.

1.     Timing is key

According to our laundry expert, Jacob Leyland, the key to cleaning sports clothes is to make sure they get a proper wash. Unfortunately, this means no short and quick cycle!

Short cycles are designed for a quick freshen up, whereas sports clothes need time to allow for the washing detergents to work through the clothes. Patience is a virtue!

“Use a synthetic washing cycle as sports clothes normally have mixed fabrics.  The temperature of 30/40c will allow enough heat to lift the bad odours and dead skin cells. It will also allow the detergent enough contact time before being rinsed away."

2. Let your gym clothes breathe before you add them to the pile

Luckily gym wear is designed to dry quickly so this step can be achieved quickly. When you get back from working out, make sure to hang your workout clothes so they can air out. You can add them to the pile once dry!

Why this step is important

If gym clothing is thrown in the laundry pile still damp, bacteria is bound to build. Not only will this increase the likelihood of damaging other clothing, but it can also lead to bad odours being harder to remove during the washing process. Get in the habit of hanging your garments as soon as you take them off.

3. Turn your gym clothes inside out

You sweat in the inside of the garment, so it makes sense to make sure that is the most exposed area during the wash!

It’s also important to remember that washing can also cause your clothing to wear quicker. When washing, piling will occur. Pilling is the bobble, fuzz, or lint balls that appear on clothing. To preserve the garment it is best to make sure pilling occurs on the inside rather than the outside.

If you do find your clothing is starting to pill, before fully giving up you can try buying a de-piller. This will essentially shave the pilling off of the garment, restoring it back to its former glory.

4. Use less detergent

Yes, less really is more!

Sometimes it might seem like the most logical solution to add more detergent to smelly laundry, however, this will only lead to build up and make your clothing more prone to bacteria. Even if your clothing comes out smelling good, the build-up will only cause them to start smelling sooner than they should.  

Although it seems wrong, we assure you your clothing is getting just as clean with half the recommended amount. Plus, think about how much further a standard bottle of detergent will get you.

Although we have been conditioned to believe suds = clean, all you’re seeing is soap molecules trapping air in spherical pockets. What does this mean?

Soap molecules have two ends kind of like a magnet. One end is attracted to water and the other is repelled by water. Hence the need to avoid suds when possible!

Interesting fact – Too much detergent can also lead to a waste of water, energy & time.

5. Don’t use fabric conditioner

Using fabric softener on gym wear is a no-no! Gym wear is designed to let the body breathe when doing exercise.  Fabric softener leaves behind a residue that coats garments. When used on gym wear it traps the moisture into the fabric, which leads to odours forming.

If you are wondering what to add in the softeners place, we recommend OXI ADVANCE MULTI POWER GEL. This will help make sure your clothes are odour free, without damage!

Looking for an all-natural alternative, it exists! Our Sustainability Manager, Michelle, has been against fabric conditioners for some time. She finds using white wine vinegar mixed with a few drops of essential oils just as useful.

6. Avoid heat

As most synthetic fabrics are made of plastic, high temperatures can end up melting them. This can lead to unnecessary damage and shorten the garment's life. This is also important to keep in mind when drying your gym wear. If you can, try to air dry your garments. When using the tumble drier make sure to use a synthetic low.

As an added bonus, skipping the drier will save on energy. This is a benefit for the environment and your bank account.

If you want to continue learning and become a laundry pro, check out our previous blog!

And don’t forget, if you are ever feeling snowed under by your laundry, we are always here to help! You can book into our on-demand laundry service at any time.




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