What to do with Gym Clothes after a Workout

Since most of our gym clothes and underwear are often made with very delicate fabrics, they have to be consistently washed thoroughly, but in a gentle way. You have to know just what to do with gym clothes after a workout to keep them in good condition. You want them to fit you properly and last as long as possible.

They need to be cared for diligently since washing them with the wrong method or a harmful detergent could result in them losing their shape and elasticity. After all, nobody wants their leggings to be sliding down at the gym in front of everyone! Learning how to keep your workout clothes from smelling foul is a breeze if you just stay on top of things!

When you’re all wet and sweaty after the perfect workout at the gym you may be tempted to throw those gross garments in the hamper in the bedroom or bathroom, jump in the shower and forget about it. That’s the worst thing you can do. It will be smelling like a locker room in no time. Allowing the wet, sweaty clothes to lay in a pile all bunched up promotes bacterial and even mold growth. If you forget wet clothes in your locker they could be pretty smelly when you come back.

The moisture in the material could create a lingering smell. If it’s not possible to wash workout wear right after you change don’t wad it up. Air it out and let it dry until you get to it. Be sure to take good care of your towel and wash it often as well. You don’t want fungus or odors on your clothing. Hang them up to air out and dry if possible and let the fabric breathe until you can give it a proper laundering.

If you wear dirty fitness gear it will just get dirtier and may start to get stains or become stinky. Sweat, germs, and dead skin cells from you and possibly others in the gym invade your clothing. Workout clothes can be germ magnets. You want to keep your clothes as clean and hygienic as possible.

You also want to be careful when washing and drying them not to ruin the way they fit your body. If you don’t perform proper maintenance on your clothing it will get dirty and smelly and cut into an item’s longevity.

Keep reading for some very useful tips on washing gym clothes, lingerie, and other delicate fabrics in the proper way so that they will last you for a long time, as well as techniques on how to keep workout clothes from smelling. When you shop in the store for clothes you are looking for a style that you like.

If the fabric gets ruined it just doesn’t look the same anymore. The solution to making them look great longer is washing them properly with the right kind of gentle detergent and then hanging them up or drying them low or no heat.

How to Keep Workout Clothes From Smelling

The majority of gym clothes can be safely machine washed even though they are made of fine fabrics that are elastic. Using cool water and the gentle and delicate cycle is usually best on your activewear. Using mesh bags to protect these delicate items from stretching or tearing can be very effective.

Hand washing your items in the sink on your own is always safer than washing them in the machine and you can usually be more thorough with them when you wash them yourself. Whichever method you choose, you should wash your gym clothes after each and every use. This routine will help you to prevent your shorts from smelling badly in the first place.

Don’t use any fabric softener on your gym clothes. You might think that the fresh fragrance will help them smell better but it can actually break down your activewear and lock in the stench. Fabric softener can weaken spandex and other stretchy material. It also takes away the moisture-wicking ability of the fabric. Most laundry soap can destroy those stretchy fibers also. Try not to commission mom to wash them for you if you think she might use a fabric softener and just throw them in the hot dryer.

If the clothing can’t be rinsed and washed out immediately you will be left wondering what to do with gym clothes after a workout. At least hang your things up to dry. Hanging them out in the warm sun and fresh air if possible is best. This will help keep away those nasty odors.


Delicate Fabric Wash Banner 2

It will help to reduce the bacteria that get trapped in the fibers of a garment. Exercise clothes should really be washed immediately after every single use. That is the best way to prevent the growth of smelly bacteria. The citric acid in lemon juice makes it an easy add-in for laundry to help break down bacteria that can cause funky smells also.

The key to removing the smelly odors from your gym clothes is to prevent them from building up a bad stink, in the first place. Make sure to hang up your gym clothes immediately after wearing them, turn them inside-out, so that they can dry well and not form stench-inducing mildew.

The inside of a garment is where most buildup will accumulate since it is directly making contact with your body. That’s why it’s best to hang your damp things up inside out to dry. Washing your gym clothes inside out with other static-free items will help protect the colors and textures of the clothing as well.

If your fitness clothes really stink badly you should probably pre-soak them for about 15 minutes with a natural odor eliminator like lemon juice in the water. Make sure the items are turned inside out before washing, to get them cleaner of course. Always use cold water to wash them. Heat can ruin the fabric, the way the garment fits, and can lock in those terrible odors.

Use some Champion Delicate Wash and cold water to launder them on a gentle washer cycle. Do not use any heat or fabric softener to dry them. Use a very low or no heat dryer setting or just air dry your wet things on the clothes drying rack to prevent shrinkage.

Know what to do with gym clothes after a workout, no matter what kind

  • Carefully follow any specific washing directions on your cleaning and care labels. In general, with a fabric that is the modern stretchy variety, you’ll want to avoid water temps higher than 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Water in the laundry load any hotter than that may cause harm to the fabric. Gym wear is most commonly made from polyester. It is popular in most of the gym clothes you will find in fitness sections.
  • Polyester is a very strong and durable material. It is actually a type of plastic. It’s a manufactured material made out of petroleum. It holds colors and dye very well and it won’t hold wrinkles easily if you decide to wring it out. It wicks away moisture very well. It’s a synthetic that can be dyed to suit your fancy and it also repels UV rays that can burn and damage your skin.

Nylon is also a good moisture-wicking fabric. It’s a strong synthetic material that has elasticity. It is a silky and processable material that is made into fibers using melt processes. It’s lightweight, breathable, and dries quickly. Nylon is also easy to wash.  Spandex is also a very stretchy and breathable material. It allows more ease of movement while you are exercising. It’s a strong, resistant fabric. Spandex is super lightweight and great for exercise.

Bamboo is another breathable and natural material. It’s softer than cotton. It is just a lightweight and comfortable option if you’re going to be active or play sports. Bamboo has an elastic quality and absorbs moisture. It’s also eco-friendly and is a biodegradable material. Bamboo is an antibacterial fiber that repels fungus. It is odor repellent and offers UV protection benefits as well. It is crushed and washed and broken down so that you can extract the fiber. That can be used to make yarn.

Cotton will absorb all of the moisture and it doesn’t dry quickly when it’s simply hanging. It is a light and breathable fabric and it allows for more airflow than tighter options. Cotton is made from deseeded cotton that has been removed from the plant. It is then cleaned and carded. Finally, it is spun into cotton fabric.

The fibers of cotton twist and interlock so naturally it can be made into yarn pretty easily. It creates a good balance when you blend cotton with spandex. Cotton is good for low sweat workout sessions. If any of your clothes begin to get too loose you will need to replace them. The stretch and elasticity in them are probably spent. A pair of leggings will usually last you about six months or so with proper care.

  • If you wash your gym clothes every day, you need to use a high-quality delicate fabric wash detergent that will be effective on cool water, quick washes. Champion Delicate Wash is a great odor-fighting liquid and it will freshen the fabric. It’s a gentle deodorizer and this detergent will eliminate the dirt even from thick jeans. Baking soda added to a load of dirty laundry has also been known to have cleansing and deodorizing qualities on your performance wear. A fabric refresher spray is nice for keeping things smelling nice in long-term storage situations.

Stretchy materials will often repel water. This will keep the sweat off of your skin during a session but it makes it tougher to get your clothing thoroughly clean. You want to get the clothes fully saturated when you wash them. That’s why soaking and rinsing your items first can be helpful. Adding half of a cup of white vinegar to the soak or wash water can help eliminate any unpleasant odors.

Dress for the weather

In extreme weather, you still want to get out and exercise but don’t want to get yourself too hot or too cold while you are out there working so hard. Polyester and nylon are both essential breathable moisture-wicking fabric choices to be worn in very hot weather. You will be sweating a lot all over your clothes and yourself. You will not want to feel all soaked and weighed down with sweat.

You want your body to be able to stay cool as much as possible. If you’re very active and wearing too much clothing you could get overheated easily. You might want to wear a thin, light-colored cap to protect you from the hot sun and apply some sunblock as well.

In cold weather, you will have to have a few layers on. You must start with a thin but warm thermal base layer. You will want to have a good, fitting jacket handy with a removable liner to adjust your wardrobe to match the temperature changes and to protect yourself from the cold wind.

Also, make sure you have good pants that are comfortable to move in yet keep you nice and warm. Thermal, Thinsulate, and wool are all great cold-weather workout wear materials. They will keep you both warm and dry. Don’t wear cotton clothing when you go out to exercise in cold weather because it traps moisture. You could get wet and cold fast.

In extremely cold weather you will really need to protect your hands and face from the cold. A light scarf or mask can keep the bitter cold off of your face. Wear a hat and gloves to protect your fingers as well. Be sure to keep your feet and toes warm with thermal socks and proper shoes or sneakers. Take the easy route on those very cold days or you could change your routine to pass back by the house at different intervals to drop off or add layers as needed.

If you do end up with ugly yellow sweat stains under your armpit area on a shirt you will be wondering what to do with gym clothes after a workout when they’re stained. If you have a difficult stain, some white vinegar might be able to help you remove it. You can use a spray bottle with a solution of four parts water and one part white vinegar to treat stubborn stains.

Baking soda and vinegar can be made into a paste, then rubbed into a stain, helping lift the stain before soaking. That mixture can work wonders on sweat stains. Vinegar is a natural acidic whitener and it brightens clothes.

  • After your wash cycle is complete, dry your garments as per the directions on the clothing’s care label. This is where you will find all of the important information about how to properly care for an item. In order to preserve the elasticity of these modern garments, it is ideal to air-dry them.
  • If you absolutely cannot air-dry your gym clothes, place them in the dryer on the lowest setting you have available and check them often. You can also dry them on low for just a few minutes to take the damp off before hanging them to finish drying fully.


How to wash your underwear in a sink

For the most part, underwear is made from synthetic fibers or cotton. These garments can be easily machine washed with no need to worry. On the other hand, for some undergarments that are comprised of very delicate materials like silk or lace, washing them in the sink is the preferred method. If you’re not completely sure, you can always check on the care label for the best way to handle each individual item.


  • To start off, fill up your sink tub with clean water that is cool or lukewarm. Never use hot water on your delicates. Then mix with an application of gentle detergent like Champion Delicate Wash. Place the items in the water to soak.
  • Leave the undergarments to soak in the sink for about 30 minutes, gently agitating and moving them around with your hands to wash them well and get rid of any stuck-on dirt particles.
  • Rinse them completely until you’re positive that all of the fine fabric wash is gone and the water is clear with no suds.
  • Squeeze the underwear gently or press the excess water out of them (don’t wring!) You could rip or damage them if you are too vigorous with twisting the fabric. Get as much water out of them as possible before you hang them up for drying.








With all of these useful tips on how to keep your workout clothes from smelling, as well as everything you have learned about how to properly wash your delicates, you should now have no trouble keeping your precious underwear and gym clothes clean and fresh!


2 thoughts on “What to do with Gym Clothes after a Workout”

  1. Thanks for your post. This post will help me. My body sweats when I workout. And the clothes get wet. The clothes stink. I couldn’t think how to wash clothes then. But after reading your post I found out about it. So thank you again.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Shopping Cart