How to Care for Your Workout Gear

Anyone who works out regularly knows that quality gear is essential. Sweat, bacteria and antiperspirant can quickly ruin your oh-so-fresh workout wardrobe and constant washing and drying can deteriorate the fabrics and fade all those bright, fun colors. 

Keeping the clothing shape, color and fit aren’t the only tricky parts of living that wellness life. You also must deal with the musty, locker-room smell that seeps into your athletic apparel. It’s a scent you can’t get out, lingering in the fabric, giving you some major paranoia that those offensive smells are making their way into someone else’s nostrils. It’s a total bummer when you drop some major moolah on trendy brands, only to have them shrink, fade or bleed in the wash, so follow these tips to get the longest wear out of your gear.

Wash them immediately!

You only have a certain amount of time before the bacteria accumulated during your sweat session starts to find a new home in your clothing. Synthetic, stretchy or sweat-wicking fibers, like the ones in fitness gear, are incredibly prone to bacteria. The sweat on your clothes is also a great host for mildew to grow, especially if they are peeled off your body and stored in a dark gym bag. Stop those gross smells in their tracks by giving your gear a good wash as soon as you complete a workout. This is good for the pesky smells and for the lifespan of your athletic wear, since fabrics can deteriorate when they are not washed quickly enough. Hold up, though! Don't just wash them in the regular cycle. This is too harsh on delicate fabrics and will wear out your clothing quickly. There are washing instructions specifically for these clothing items, which we'll get into. If you're in a rush and don't have time to do an immediate wash, carefully lay your clothes out to dry in an environment with little moisture.  

Invest in quality detergent and separate your colors

Harsh detergents can fade colors quickly. There are many different brands out there that cater specifically to bright-colored clothing, so make sure you are using a color-safe detergent before you throw your clothes in for a good-ol' wash. Bright colors and patterns are a trend in athletic wear and you want to make sure they keep their cheery personality. Wash like colors and fabrics together to avoid bleeding and fabric transfer from other garments. There are many natural options out there as well, which will be gentler on clothes. Our personal favorite is CleanCult. If you want to take it to the next level, add a cup of white vinegar to the wash to help kill off the remaining bacteria. Don't worry about scaring people away with a strong vinegar smell, it will dissipate as the clothes dry. 


Use the delicate cycle

Workout clothes are an investment. They help you perform your best, keep you warm or cool – depending on the outdoor temperature – and are comfy as hell. They are also made with sensitive materials like nylon and spandex, which can stretch out and weaken over time, giving you a loosey-goosey look that is definitely not in vogue. Treat them with the utmost care by turning your dial to “delicate" and turning the clothes inside out for a more effective wash. This will help keep colors bright and the intended shape intact.

Avoid the drier and fabric softeners

Extreme heat, constant spinning and anything other than gentle detergent can bring harm to your beloved clothing. Nix the fabric softener and hang clothes out to dry to keep them in tip-top shape. If fabric softener is used, it will create a thin coating on the clothes, which can interfere with the water, detergent and white vinegar. If you absolutely must dry your clothes, use very low heat and only run the drier until the clothing is dry – not warm or hot. Heat can ruin the fabric makeup, particularly the elasticity.

Switch to PiperWai

Fun fact: sweat stains are not from sweat and instead, from bacteria reacting to the aluminum in antiperspirant. When you take aluminum and antiperspirant completely out of the equation, you are doing your body and your clothes a huge favor. When you use natural deodorant like PiperWai, any kind of staining can be taken care of quickly and easily. (Check out our tips on our recent blog!) Any kind of staining from PiperWai is product transfer and can be wiped completely away with a wet cloth. Much different than those yucky, yellow stains from aluminum-based antiperspirants!

Keep your clothes well taken care of by picking up a PiperWai jar or stick