Getting that stinky, stale sweat smell out of gym clothes seems impossible. No matter what detergent you use or how many times you wash it, there’s still a base level of B.O. that can’t be shaken. So how do you finally kill those pesky bacteria that cause odor without using a full load of detergent for just one shirt? With some simple science and cleaning tricks, of course:
Hang Them Up to Dry
As soon as you’re done sweating, hang up your clothes as soon as possible. This can be done outside or inside, just make sure it’s in an enclosed space. The bacteria that cause odors love moist environments, so airing your shirts and shorts out can help prevent the spread of bacteria and intense odors. If you hang it up fast enough, you can often use it again without washing it!
Pretreat with Lemon
Add an ounce of laundry detergent to a half gallon of water and squeeze the juice of one whole lemon into the mixture. Soak the clothes and scrub the sweaty trouble spots (underarm, etc) to loosen up the funk and kill the bacteria that causes stink. Wash them like normal and once they’re dry you’ll notice your workout clothes smell extra fresh, and a little lemony, too!
Wash Clothes with Vinegar and/or Baking Soda
Add two ounces of vinegar to your standard wash cycle to help squash the stench out of your clothes. Combine with the citrusy pre-soak for extra cleaning power. Using baking soda will also do the trick!
Avoid Fabric Softener
Fabric softener coats the fibers of many rayon/spandex workout apparel items and can help lock bacteria and odor in. If you’re a fabric softener nut, consider a load of just workout clothes without fabric softener.
Dry in the Sun
Once you’re done, give your damp clothes a little bit of sun! Sun rays are a natural deterrent against bacteria and germs. Plus, your clothes will get that breezy-fresh smell that detergents can only imitate.
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