I love running. It’s often the only time in my week that I’m alone with my thoughts. Whether or not you have kids, the pace of life these days is relentless, and a lone hour on the quiet trails is truly the definition of bliss. I’m just out there all alone, me against the world, with no one to talk to and no one to please.
But when I return home, sweaty and satisfied, I’m bluntly reminded that I do not, in fact, live alone … and when I leave heaps of smelly running clothes piled in the laundry room, it can take on a rank that rivals even the filthiest clothes produced by my teenage boys.
So what’s a runner to do? Tackle that workout wear with these effective laundry solutions, and you’ll be back to your socializing-best in no time (although I’ll never give up my solo runs!).
Wash them the right way – and all by themselves
Although it can be tempting to throw all your laundry in together, that’s rarely the best way to get it cleaned effectively. Fabrics have differing weights and textures, and each one can benefit from a specific setting on your washer and dryer.
When it comes to technical fabrics like workout clothing, they should always be separated from the rest of your laundry. High performance materials are a magnet for sweat and all the bacteria, skin cells, and salt it contains – so it’s best to keep this away from the rest of your clothes.
Even more importantly, technical fabrics will deteriorate if they rub up against woolly blends or even cotton clothing. Your favourite running outfits will likely end up covered in lint, and their delicate stretchy nature will be damaged.
Instead, choose a gentle cycle with cold water and turn your workout wear inside out before throwing it into its own private load. After all, it works hard for you and deserves some time alone, too.
Use a vinegar rinse
If you still find that your carefully sorted and washed technical clothing is holding onto a bit of stink, it can be helpful to strip it out and start fresh using a cup of vinegar. Plain old vinegar is a boon to thrifty clean freaks, with mild antiseptic properties and an attractively cheap price.
You can mix one part distilled vinegar with four parts water and soak your stinky clothing in this solution before washing, or you can simply add about a cup of vinegar directly to your wash cycle. An extra rinse should get rid of the tangy smell, so you’re not pining for fish & chips during your next workout!
Out of vinegar? Stripping out extra sweat with a fresh water rinse can buy you a bit of extra time before washing and is another effective way to reduce the buildup of odours.
Skip the softeners – unless you use this trick
One of the reasons our running clothes tend to smell so potent is because technical fabrics are designed specifically to whisk all that sweaty moisture away from our bodies. Washing or drying these items with fabric softeners can really mess around with their wicking abilities.
Skip out on fabric softeners, which are likely to leave your gear coated in a thin film and reduce its performance capability. Instead, if you need an extra scent boost, consider tucking a sheet of fabric softener into a concealed pocket in your vest or shorts, giving you the benefits of the fresh scent without the filmy residue.
Hang it to dry (and do a sniff test)
That gorgeous stretchy feel of your favourite leggings is thanks to elastane – and it doesn’t like the heat. After washing your running gear separately, hang it up on a drying rack to preserve its stretchiness and sweat-wicking performance.
If it’s still a bit stinky? Well, my friend, even the most beloved tees and shorts don’t last forever. If you’re taking proper precautions to wash your workout gear promptly and carefully, and still find it holding on to more sweat than it should, it might be time to follow our next tip.
Invest in some new gear
Sometimes, you just have to start over, and that includes your collection of running clothes. They can accumulate more stench over time than you’re able to get rid of, and new fabrics are constantly available with added features that will prevent the stink cycle from repeating.
If you’ve had your workout wear for more than a few years, or if you notice it’s stretchier or smellier than it should be, it’s a good indication you should probably start shopping for some new clothes. Look for anti-odour and high-performance fabrics meant specifically for sweaty endeavours, then take care of your new gear by following the rest of our tips.
Hey, just because you love to run alone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look and smell great doing it. Keep following Coronet Equipment for more great laundry tips, and find out how we can help service or replace your equipment with effective and energy-efficient laundry solutions.