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How To Clean Activewear? Activewear Care Guide

Leading an active lifestyle is hard. It’s not only a matter of sheer will and dedication to stay consistent in the fitness journey, but the practical aspects of doing an...

Leading an active lifestyle is hard. It’s not only a matter of sheer will and dedication to stay consistent in the fitness journey, but the practical aspects of doing an everyday workout routine present challenges that put anybody’s motivation at risk of plummeting. 

The mere thought might make you scrunch your nose a little, but it is the daunting reality for professional athletes, gym goers, fitness enthusiasts, and anyone who enjoys a physically active lifestyle. After each session, the accumulating stack of moisture-wicking fabrics, compression leggings, and sweat-stained t-shirts quickly becomes a source of frustration and clutter alongside the harbouring clusters of bacteria and odours. And if you’re someone who loves to break a sweat, you probably have a collection of gym clothes that might’ve been once a sight for sore eyes in your laundry area.

Washing the dirty pile is the general solution, but being knowledgeable in the proper care and cleaning of activewear does not only sweep away the problem but most importantly, maintains the performance, quality, and longevity of these engineered sportswear. With the popularity of athleisure in the market, price tags on these apparel don’t come cheap, especially premium athletic wear from designer brands. Hence, properly caring for your high-end gym clothes can help extend their usable lifespan, providing a better return on your investment.

Beyond the financial considerations, maintaining the cleanliness of your activewear is important for personal hygiene. Diligent cleaning and proper storage can help prevent skin irritation, infections, or unpleasant smells. Keep in mind that it's not always as straightforward as tossing them in the washing machine with the rest of your laundry. Activewear may be designed to be durable and high-performing, but it is made from technical fabrics that require special attention for specific care instructions. It may be difficult to know the best cleaning practices as each material has different measures for appropriate care and maintenance so, here are easy-to-follow steps to clean activewear and safely wash, dry, and neatly tuck it into your wardrobe.

How To Clean & Take Care Of Your Activewear

Step 1: Dry before discard.

We understand that nothing can compare with the relief you feel from finally getting out of your sweaty gym clothes. Tempting as it is to quickly throw it in the hamper, it’s important to let it dry out for a few hours. This reduces moisture, which prevents the accumulation of bacteria and the occurrence of a foul smell that would most likely affect the other clothes piled beforehand if thrown right away into the hamper.

Step 2: Check the label.

Always check the care label on your activewear to know the best cleaning practices for it. This strictly provides specific instructions from the manufacturer. This may tell you the recommended washing temperature, whether it can be machine washed, hand washed, or tumble dried. Failure to follow may result in faded colours, stretched-out fabrics, and the loss of compression or support features integral to the functionality of activewear. 

Step 3: Sort and Turn Inside Out.

Simple steps are often overlooked but make significant differences. Separating your activewear from regular clothing before washing ensures the effectiveness of cleaning practices solely for activewear. Turning the activewear inside out effectively protects the exterior finish of your activewear such as delicate brand logos and prints from fading, cracking, or peeling when exposed to the agitation and friction of a washing machine. This also preserves the shape and fit of the clothing, including the integrity and effectiveness of high-performance activewear fabrics engineered with specialised features.

Step 4: Right temperature, right detergent. 

These are two non-negotiables you should remember when washing. Use cold water in washing your activewear to preserve the elasticity of its fabric and prevent shrinkage. This is particularly important for stretchy garments such as sports bras and leggings. On the other hand, use a mild, fragrance-free detergent specifically formulated for athletic wear to prevent damage to the fabric and prevent the risk of discolouration. Never use fabric conditioner, softeners or any bleaching agents on your activewear. Skip them at all costs!

Step 5: The best way to dry is to air dry.

Hang it to dry in a well-ventilated place, and for activewear with delicate logos and print, do not forget to turn it inside out. High heat contributes to faster degradation of specialised fabrics over time; decreasing their usable lifespan, compromising their quality, and may even cause premature wear and tear. So if you’re wondering if you can put activewear in the dryer, It is best not to; in unavoidable circumstances, use low heat in the clothes dryer.

But how do you get the smell out of activewear? 

In cases when you carefully followed all the necessary steps but the smell persists, here are the following household-friendly cleaning solutions you may want to try to get the smell out of activewear:

  • Vinegar solution - Soak your activewear in a solution of 1 part white distilled vinegar and 4 parts cold water for 30 to 60 minutes before rinsing. The vinegar contains acetic acid that neutralises bacteria and compounds responsible for the foul odour.
  • Baking Soda Paste Option - Mix an estimated amount of baking soda into the water that makes a paste-like consistency. Gently rub it into the affected areas of your garment and let it settle for 30 minutes before rinsing. Baking soda effectively neutralises and eliminates bad odours. Another way is to directly add half a cup of baking soda to the washing machine.
  • Longer air dry - There might be areas of the activewear that haven’t completely dried out. Hang it outside for longer air exposure that dries out moisture and the UV rays from indirect sunlight also help eliminate odour-causing bacteria and compounds.  

What cycle do you put it on? 

It is an important factor to know the activewear wash cycle recommended for your gym clothes. The latest washing machines already include a built-in ‘activewear’ setting option. However, for machines that do not have this feature, cleaning activewear is suitable in cold water wash cycles in a delicate setting. This maintains the integrity and quality of fabric and avoids risks of stretching, pilling, or any damage to activewear. Also, choose a gentler spin, preferably a low or no spin cycle, to prevent the infliction of mechanical stress on activewear. 

How To Organize Activewear and Fold Your Activewear? 

It is best to organize activewear by classifying them such as tops, bottoms, sports bras, and outerwear groups. Sort them out to easily find what you need and quickly get dressed for a workout. It is best recommended for activewear to be folded neatly with care and consideration. Be mindful of the fabric and delicate features. It is suitable for leggings and tights to be folded in half lengthwise, then folded in half or thirds widthwise. For sports bras, you may hang or neatly fold them in half and store them. For lightweight tops, rolling them is more recommended than folding them. This maintains the fit and shape of your activewear for safe and tidy storage.

Check out our activewear today!

Make sure to follow our activewear care guide, and you’ll expertly keep your favourite athleisure and activewear in top shape and pristine condition. If you’re looking for more, check out Kate Galliano to browse our latest selection of premium activewear today!

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