This Helpful Tip For Damp And Dry Laundry Makes Wash Day A Breeze

Laundry day can be a real chore, and being confronted with a hamper full of smelly clothes can make it even worse. After all, no one enjoys handling musty clothing. But what causes your clothing to smell so bad once placed in the laundry basket? The smelly culprit is often damp clothing and towels, particularly gym wear, since many people simply toss their soiled workout clothes in the hamper after a workout. The clothing then sits in the bottom of the bin until it's laundry day, which might be days away.

If you want to make laundry day much easier and less stinky, don't let sweaty gym clothing sit in your hamper. But don't leave your athletic clothes in your gym bag or on the floor either, since letting them sit can cause odors to form. Sometimes, the odors will remain even after washing the items. So, as soon as you get home from the gym, hang damp workout clothes and towels up, and allow gym clothes to fully air out until it's time to wash them.

Why do workout clothes get so smelly?

Wondering why your workout clothing smells so bad?  One of the main reasons why workout clothes get so smelly is because they often stay damp. Fungi and bacteria thrive in warm, damp environments, and the area under the breast, the feet, and the groin are especially susceptible due to trapped perspiration. Sports bras, leggings, socks, and shorts can therefore all become hot spots for smelly bacteria and fungi.  

Some fabrics are more likely to retain moisture and smell than others — cotton in particular soaks up perspiration. Body oils and sweat can also cling to fabrics, making them smell, as well. While a lot of activewear is hydrophobic and made to wick moisture away from the body, the oil contained within sweat still gets trapped in the fabric. This trapped oil and sweat can feed the microorganisms that cause gym clothes to smell, even if they are dry. 

How to wash smelly workout clothes

TikTok user @julie_eigenmann shows the ideal way to wash dirty workout clothes. First, avoid tossing workout clothes and towels into the laundry bin. As soon as you come home from the gym, turn your clothes inside out. The reason why you want to turn gym clothes inside out is because bacteria tends to build up on the inside of sports bras and other workout clothing. Then, hang those damp gym clothes and towels away from clean clothing. 

Washing your clothes in the machine may not be enough to get rid of bacteria and smells. Therefore, on laundry day, make a vinegar pre-soak. To do this, you'll want to combine one part vinegar with four parts cold water. Let the clothes soak in the vinegar mixture for at least 30 minutes — the acid in the vinegar will help banish bacteria and fungi from the clothing. After soaking, add a little less detergent than normal to the laundry, then throw in ½ cup of baking soda. Wash your clothing in cold water and skip the dryer, as heat can make any remaining odors worse, so, if possible, air-dry workout clothes.