async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: How to Wash the Funk Out of Your Running Clothes

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

How to Wash the Funk Out of Your Running Clothes

Disclaimer: I received SportSuds detergent and SportsSuds washer cleaner in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

I don't know about you, but the only kind of funk I like is in the form of music. Give me some James Brown, the heavy bass of the Commodores'  Brick House, that funky groove of War's Low Rider--that's what I'm talking about.

There's another kind of funk and it makes me want to run away. It's the funky smell that we athletes all know and loathe...the funk in our running clothes. Even after washing them, sometimes you just can't get up off of that funk. The combination of sweat, body oils and bacteria all add up to the perfect recipe for that stench. Body oils stick to the 'high tech' fabrics that most of us wear, trapping bacteria and skin debris. It's all so gross and really hard to eliminate, even if you wash your gear in hot water.

If all that doesn't make you sick, think about all the money you spend on your workout clothes. Doesn't it make you want to cry when your favorite leggings release a funky smell as you assume Warrior 2? Gaack! Namaste away! Fortunately, there are a few things you can do keep your gear fresh smelling and clean.



Launder your workout gear after every use.
Makes sense, right? There are a lot of people who don't do this. Here's the scenario: I work out, I sweat, I don't wash the clothes, they fester, I wear them again a week later. Can you just smell me coming into the gym?

Wash your clothes immediately after a run. 
I know, it's a goal. Like getting a BQ. In an ideal world, we would run in the door from our workout, drop our clothes in the wash, and get right in the shower. In the real world, we go for a run, run errands, pick up the kids, make dinner, and then it's time for bed. Meanwhile, our clothes have been marinating all day. Real talk, friends. I get it.

Don't undress and leave your sweaty clothes in a pile on the floor. 
You're just asking for trouble if you do this. The bacteria will have a party in all that moist clothing. Mold might even come to play as well.

Hang up your sweaty gear after a run and let it completely dry.
Allowing your workout clothes to dry after a sweat sesh can actually help reduce bacterial growth and make it easier to keep your clothes smelling fresh.

Wash your gear separately from your regular clothing.
Washing your workout clothing separately will help keep the bacteria out of your everyday clothing.

Turn your gear inside out before you wash. 
Exposing the inside of the clothing help allows the detergent to get right at the funk.

Don't overfill the washer. 
Keeping the load small allows the clothes the opportunity to move around in the wash cycle.

Do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets.
In order to 'soften' the items being washed, fabric softener leaves a residue on the clothing, locking in the smell and reducing the wicking abilities of high tech fabrics. Fabric softener can also break down the fibers in your gear, ruining the fabric. If you're worried about static cling, wool dryer balls work amazingly well!

Don't dry your gear in the dryer, hang it on the line. 
Even if you use all the tips I've offered here, keep in mind that the dryer bakes in any residual debris (ie bacteria, mold).

Clean your washer. 
It's not just the clothes that can house bacteria and mold. All that detergent that you use can build up inside the washer and trap bacteria. The bacteria can build up and transfer to your clothes. It can also prevent your laundry detergent from working as well. SportSuds makes a product for cleaning your washing machine tub.

Use a product made especially for workout clothes.
SportSuds is a specially made non-residue, fragrance-free powder that works in hot or cold water, removing debris and contaminants from fabrics. It rinses away clean, leaving nothing behind. SportSuds also has the ability to remove scum from the washer tub, eliminating the possibility of contaminating the clothes. I think this is a great benefit for people who use community washing machines!
While preparing this post, I was able to try SportSuds on my workout gear. Regular readers of the blog know that I love me a good sweat sesh, be it on the road or at CrossFit. I do hang up my clothes to dry after I work out, but **full disclosure** I don't always take them off as soon as I finish sweating. Real life happens. I like to think my clothes don't smell, but I'm sure they do. We aren't so good at smelling ourselves, are we?

After doing several loads of my precious workout clothes--you all know how pricey that Inknburn can be--I'm sold on SportSuds. SportSuds is specially formulated to clean athletic clothes, but you can use it on all your laundry. You can use SportSuds in all types of machines, including HE. It is chemical and residue-free, which is good for the environment and your skin. The detergent itself is very effective--everything I've washed in SportSuds has come out fresh and clean. I don't normally use scented detergents, fabric softeners, or dryer sheets, so I am used to my clothes smelling like clothes. I mean, who wants to smell like laundry detergent?


I'm honestly very pleased with SportSuds. A Google search of the product turned up almost exclusively positive reviews. The only complain from most folks was regarding the cost of the product. But since you use less than you do with commercial detergents--I only used 2 scoops for a large load-- it works out well. SportSuds was developed by a team of athletes who wanted a detergent that would keep their athletic gear clean and fresh.

Do you want to try SportSuds for yourself or gift it to a friend? You can use my code WENDY for 25% off through December 31, 2019. You can also find SportSuds at many large retailers and on Amazon. The code only applies to online orders.

I'm gonna wash that funk right out of my clothes! /via @oldrunningmom @SportSuds #running #runchat #sweatynotstinky 

Do you use a special detergent to wash your running gear? Have you tried SportSuds? What tips do you want to share that help you keep your clothes fresh? 

I'm linking up with Kim and Zenaida for Tuesday Topics.



29 comments :

  1. I'll admit that sometimes I will run errands after a run or workout if I'm near a store that I need to go (for example, my OTF studio is steps away from Trader Joe's). But in those cases I'll take off my workout clothes as soon as I get home and normally give them a good rinse before actually washing them a few days later.

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  2. I definitely don't wash my sweaty workout clothes immediately, but I will hang them up to dry. And believe me, they're sweaty all year round! And I line dry them (except when I miss one, which always upsets me).

    The only running clothes I will wear more between washings is my wool ones. Once I get enough wool bras, I probably won't (and I also have wool tops, but I do have enough of them to rotate through).

    Always nice to have personal reviews of products from a real person; thanks, Wendy!

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    1. I wash everything after a run or workout. Especially after doing all my research on this topic!

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  3. I'm also guilty of not immediately disrobing following a workout, but I am diligent about hanging the sweaty stuff up to dry and air-out before it gets tossed into the basket. I also wash most of my workout gear separately and air-dry all of it.

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  4. I wash my workout clothes separately from my regular laundry and use a different type of detergent. I think it makes a big difference. I haven't tried Sport Suds. I will check it out!

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    1. I was skeptical but I washed all our laundry in SportSuds and was pleasantly surprised. It's good stuff!

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  5. Thanks for these tips! I never thought of turning my sports clothes inside out before putting them in the machine. Compared to my neighbours, I feel I am a laundry maniac... doing sports means so much more washing!

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  6. you definitely have to take care of your running clothes properly if you want them to last. I concur on letting them dry after a run and I never put them in the dryer. Great tips!

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  7. I rufess I've tried sports detergents in the past that didn't work so well. I'm interested to try this one. Isn't it crazy how when you don't use any kind of scented detergents or fabric softeners/dryer sheets, you can immediately smell someone who does? Or is it just me??

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    1. Ha! I can identify detergent by smell. I just can't stand it. Why don't people realize that they're just covering up stink?

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  8. I usually hang super sweaty clothes to dry before I toss them in the laundry but I don't wash them until I have a load. I never put my running clothes in the dryer. I'm going to check out SportSuds. Thanks for the code!

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    1. I have to admit that I haven't had many issues with funky smelling clothes when I hang them up to dry after a workout. But I just love this product. I washed all our clothes with it and they came out smelling clean! Including my hubs work clothes.

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  9. I find the biggest problem is with my older clothing. After a year or two of running, even with regular washing, they just stink! I'd love to try this. I'm always looking for a detergent that gets rid of the stink!

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    1. I was initially skeptical about these sport detergents--SportSuds was a pleasant surprise!

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  10. With 4 kids and 2 adults in our house, I do at least 1 load of laundry every day. I'm pretty good about washing it after wear, but it usually sits in the hamper a little longer than it should. At least I do 1 thing right- always turn my stuff inside out to wash!
    Definitely checking out Sport Suds, thanks for the code!

    Jen
    jpabstfitness.com

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    1. Let me know how you like it! You only need 2 scoops for a full load, so a little goes a long way!

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  11. I am not the best at de-stinking my clothes - I often linger in them far longer than I should (sorry everyone!)

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  12. Okay, so I've never washed my workout clothes inside-out...I will have to start doing that! Good to know that SudsSports works well!

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  13. I have been using Rockin' Green for over a year and love it. Once I am done with the bag I have, I will try Sport Suds. I always line dry my clothes but never turn them inside out when washing them. I agree, I spend so much money on my running clothes that yes I want them to last forever.

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    1. I knew about these special detergents but had never tried them until now!

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  14. I don't have in-house laundry, so this is a real thing. What I settled on was pre rinse them in the shower, then soak and stir in bath tub with a sports detergent. I then rinse and sun dry them on drying rack (yay southern exposure) before putting them in the hamper.

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  15. I sweat a lot all the time, so I would it for all my clothes.. I have a bad habit of re-wearing a lot of my clothes, and this would be a godsend for anyone around me.

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