If you exercise, chances are you've been there before: You come home from the gym or a run and are shocked by the odor emanating from your workout clothes. Sometimes, no matter how many times you run them through the washer, the technical materials used to make exercise clothing just don't seem to want to come clean.
This post originally appeared on Cantavita.
Before you head out to replace those stinky duds, consider the following tips and tricks for cleaning even the worst smelling bike shorts and sports bras:
Hang Dry Immediately
If you return home with a pile of sweaty clothes but don't have time to immediately wash them, make sure you hang your clothes up to dry instead of throwing them in a hamper or leaving them in your gym bag.
Wet, sweaty gym clothes that remain in those piles for too long can actually start to breed mold and mildew spores that can be trapped in the fabric—even after washing!
Soak Them Completely
An easy, quick way to help kill any bacteria and freshen your clothes is to soak them in a vinegar & water mixture. Try one part vinegar and four parts water for about 30 minutes right before washing. You should also toss in a bit of vinegar or baking soda or even lemon juice to the washer water—but remember to not do this if your detergent has bleach in it!
Heat is Your Friend
When washing and drying, set the temperature to the hottest setting the fabric will allow for. This is best for cotton garments that can withstand the heat without being broken down.
For any tech fabrics, you'll want to make sure you wash the garments in warm or cool water and hang them to dry. This can mean a need for more vinegar or lemon juice due to the cooler temps of the water, but you'll help maintain the integrity of the fabric which will in turn help to ward off bacteria.
Harness the Sun
When it comes to drying your workout clothes that can't go into the dryer, use the power of the sun to safely and effectively dry the clothes. The sun's rays are a natural bacteria deterrent, so hang your clothes out to dry on the sunniest of days and enjoy fresh, clean workout gear for months or years to come!