Why Your Gym Clothes Smell? [Tips for Getting Rid of Clothes Odor]

You will learn how to make your gym clothes smell fresh.

No matter how often you wash your workout clothing, the stench will never get out of them. There’s a good explanation behind this: Workout clothes are often constructed of elastic fabrics such as Lycra or Spandex, which allow them to move with the wearer. 

This material has a natural tendency to resist water, ideal for sweating profusely at the gym but not so ideal when washing your clothes after a long workout. How are you meant to make these things smell nicer if you can’t even get your hands on them to smell them properly?

The good news is that, while it may take some time and extra effort, it is possible to remove the scent of sweat from your workout clothing – you have to follow the guidelines. 

Washing gym clothing is slightly different from washing your other clothes, but the extra time is well worth it when you no longer have to smell like a locker room afterward. Here are a few simple techniques for taking the scent of sweat out of your training clothing without using harsh chemicals.

Finding the Truth About Body Odor:

Body Odor
Body Odor

A widespread misconception is that your foul-smelling, musty poop radiates off your body when you exercise, which is not the case. Essentially, if you sweat, you will smell like a rat. However, this is not precisely the case. The truth, on the other hand, is a little more revolting.

Even though millions of microorganisms live on your skin, it’s difficult to comprehend. These microbes must consume food to exist. And what do they eat as a snack? Of course, it’s your sweat!

The acids and other minerals in your sweat serve as fuel for the microorganisms in your body. When they digest these sweat nutrients, they excrete volatile organic chemicals responsible for the odor we associate with our bodies (VOCs). 

But that’s not all there is. Those parts of your body that are warm and wet are where these bacteria grow and multiply. As a result, the greater the number of germs, the harsher the stench. As a result, certain areas of your body, such as your armpits, toes, and pelvic region, smell far worse than the rest of the body.

No matter how odorless your gym clothing appears to be, it contains many bacteria from your last workout session. 

In particular, if you shove them inside a damp duffel bag in your trunk, this will be the case. As a result, when you begin to sweat again, the germs on your skin and the bacteria on your clothes combine to form a massive cloud of body odor.

To summarize, bacteria consume the nutrients found in your sweat and excrete them. You can detect them because they generate volatile organic compounds (VOCs) responsible for the scent.

So, What Is It About Your Gym Clothes That Make Them Smell?

Hopefully, you’ve realized that your body odor does not cause your body odor; rather, it is caused by bacteria. As a result, the aim is to keep the germs under control and therefore keep the scent under control. 

Science, on the other hand, becomes much more exciting. Typical synthetic textiles such as nylon and polyester (such as an Under Arm shirt) are inherently quick-drying due to their chemical composition. 

As a result, when those VOCs are produced, they become trapped inside the fabric’s structural fabric structure. It is not only the bacteria that cause the odor but also the foul smell itself that adheres to the fabric’s microstructure that causes the odor.

In contrast to synthetic fibers, Merino wool has a high moisture absorptivity. The hydrophobic keratin structure (which is the same as that found in human hair) encouraged moisture to become trapped inside the fibers of the plant’s leaves. It can withstand being submerged in water for up to 30% of its weight without becoming wet.

As a result, when those smelly bacterial VOCs make their way into the Merino fabric, they tend to gravitate towards the moisture rather than the fabric itself. 

In other terms, your body odor is absorbed by the water vapor and remains there. Once the moisture has evaporated, the odor has vanished, and your garments have retained their freshness.

Consider it in the same way you would a toilet. If you go to the bathroom without putting any water in the bowl, the odor will worsen.

How to Stop Your Gym Clothes Smell After Washing It?

When it comes to the lingering musty workout clothing odor, several things come into play, including Bacteria, sweat, and body oils are the chief causes, all of which accumulate inside synthetic materials and produce a bodily odor to emanate. 

In addition to being exposed to huge numbers of the odor-causing substances listed above, the fabric from which gym gear is constructed is another source of the odor. Here are some suggestions for getting rid of your stinky garments.

1. Never Use Fabric Softener:

Never Use Fabric Softener
Never Use Fabric Softener

On the other hand, Fabric softener is your exercise clothing’s biggest enemy. Instead of making the garments cleaner, it forms a type of barrier that keeps smelly odors trapped in the clothes. It essentially serves to trap dirt and bacteria in your garments, which is the polar opposite of what you want. 

Fabric softener interferes with the wicking ability of workout clothing textiles, causing them to fail to perform as intended after they are washed. It will keep the sweat on your clothing from draining, causing them to smell more strongly.

It is also possible for stretchy materials, such as Spandex to be broken down by fabric softener. As a result, it makes your clothing smells bad, but it also causes them to lose shape.

2. Reduce the Amount of Laundry Detergent You Use:

Use Less Laundry Detergent
Use Less Laundry Detergent

Getting rid of laundry detergent when attempting to make garments smell nicer may seem counterintuitive, but in this situation, it is correct. 

Laundry detergent and stretchy textiles such as Lycra and Spandex do not mix the same way as a fabric softener and fabric softener. This is because textiles like these are constructed of synthetic strands woven extremely closely together – as a result, germs may easily become trapped inside them. 

Regular laundry detergent isn’t designed to reach the fabric to get rid of the germs, so it accumulates on the garment, causing additional odors and undesirable bacteria to grow. 

Use half the quantity you would normally use, skip it entirely, or use a detergent designed specifically for training clothing, such as Hex.

3. Always Hang Your Gym Clothes up When You’re Done Working Out:

Hang Your Gym Clothes After Workout
Hang Your Gym Clothes After Workout

If you have just had a major sweat and your clothing is drenched, strive to get them cleaned. When they’re so sweaty, they need to be attended to as soon as possible. According to one laundry expert, they should be cleaned after every use, but this may be too difficult for many individuals to do. 

If you didn’t work up a lot of sweat, it’s fine to wait a couple of usage before washing. Nonetheless, if you discover that your clothing is damp, washing them promptly is the most effective technique to eliminate the germs that are causing them to smell.

4. Let Sweaty Clothes Dry:

Let Sweaty Clothes Dry
Let Sweaty Clothes Dry

Although it may be tempting to pitch your sweaty gym clothes down the laundry chute as soon as you get home, doing so encourages the growth of bacteria. It is recommended that you hang your workout clothes to dry before putting them in the hamper to prevent odors from forming and to minimize germs by 90 percent.

5. Stick Them in The Freezer:

Stick Them in The Freezer
Stick Them in The Freezer

Looking for a quick cure that doesn’t require you to do any laundry? Look no further. Place your training clothing in a zip-top bag and place it in the freezer. 

When the air is extremely cold, it will kill the bacteria that have been developing and is responsible for all of that stink in the first place. This should never be used instead of laundry, but it may be a convenient little trick to have on hand from time to time.

6. Wash the Clothes Inside Out:

Wash the Clothes Inside Out
Wash the Clothes Inside Out

The inside of gym clothing is filthy since they come into direct touch with sweaty flesh. Before washing, turn the garment inside out to allow the detergent to reach the filthy regions more effectively. This also aids in the removal of sweat stains and the reduction of fading and pilling.

7. Pre-soak in White Vinegar Solution:

Pre-soak in White Vinegar Solution
Pre-soak in White Vinegar Solution

A wonder element when it comes to getting rid of foul odors, white vinegar is a must-have. Prepare your sports clothing for washing by soaking them in one cup of white vinegar and some cold water in the sink or a clean tub before washing them. 

Keep them there for fifteen to thirty minutes, then wash them in the washing machine to clean them. If you believe they require it, you may also add a few drops of white vinegar to the wash. These options will be more effective in eliminating scents than merely using your standard laundry detergent.

8. Consider Purchasing a Booster or Sports Detergent:

Consider Sports Detergent
Consider Sports Detergent

Several sports detergents and laundry boosters promise to combat the stinkiest odors. The polymers in these garments capture dirt and odor-causing substances, preventing them from attaching themselves to your clothes. It is possible to use them in cold water as well.

9. Add a Pinch of Baking Soda to the Wash:

Add a Pinch of Baking Soda
Add a Pinch of Baking Soda

Baking soda is another substance that you most likely already have in your kitchen that may be used to eliminate undesirable scents from your home. Baking soda doesn’t merely cover them up (like many detergents do); it gets rid of them. 

Baking soda has an alkaline pH, making it an excellent choice for removing the acidic stench produced by sweat. It also absorbs the oils associated with the odor, allowing you to get rid of it. Wash your garments in the washing machine with one cup of baking soda and wait for the magic to happen.

10. Adding Lemon Juice Is a Good Idea:

Add Lemon Juice
Add Lemon Juice

Lemons are another kitchen staple that may be used to freshen the fragrance of your workout clothing before heading to the gym. Fill the washing machine with the juice of one big lemon squeezed off of its skin. 

When combined with citric acid, the oils in the materials are broken down, resulting in bacterium and funky odor-free materials. It also eliminates the bacteria that causes those foul odors so that, like baking soda, it truly eliminates the odor rather than simply masking it.

11. Avoid Heat:

Avoid Heat
Avoid Heat

You might believe that washing your garments in hot water can help erase perspiration odor. Heat, on the other hand, intensifies the effect. When possible, wash exercise clothes in cold water using a cold-water detergent for the best results. Dry on a low or no-heat setting if possible.

While your workout should be challenging, washing your gym gear does not have to be difficult. These suggestions will assist you in keeping your training clothing smelling fresh, no matter how hard you work out at the fitness center.

12. Don’t Sit Around in Your Workout Clothes After Your Workout:

  Don’t Wear Your Workout Clothes After Your Workout
Don’t Wear Your Workout Clothes After Your Workout

I know your gym clothes are quite gorgeous, and I know how comfortable it can be to transition from the gym to running errands to having coffee with a buddy (look at how sporty you are!) without feeling uncomfortable. 

However, this is a horrible concept. Wearing your sweaty exercise clothing traps germs, which causes them to get even more sweaty and puts you at risk for developing illnesses. 

Because most gym clothing is constructed of wicking materials, they will absorb your body oils and many of your body odor, which isn’t ideal after a sweat session. Take them off and replace them with new ones. Who will be able to tell the difference?

Suggested Odor-Resistant Gym Clothes:

Merino wool is a fantastic fabric for sportswear in and of itself, but it is also a sensitive fabric. Even if you work out tough, you should opt for clothing combined with synthetics for improved fit, usefulness, and lifespan due to their durability.

Here are a couple of our favorite Merino wool gym clothes for both men and women made from Merino wool.

1. Icebreaker Tech Lite Short Sleeve Crew:

Icebreaker Tech Lite Short Sleeve Crew

When working out at the gym, you need a shirt that can move with your movements. It is recommended that you use the Icebreaker Tech Lite crew. Ultralight and breathable, the 150 GSM fabric provides high performance while extremely lightweight.

 The sleek, athletic fit further highlights your muscles. Put another way, the Tech Lite team is efficient and comfortable, and they make you look good while you’re working out.

2. Merino Warm Up Shorts:

Merino Warm Up Shorts

Sporting shorts aren’t normally the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Merino wool. But they are. On the other hand, Wool garments aren’t your standard Merino wool manufacturer. The design foundation wear is comfortable and functional for everyday use. 

They have Warm-Up shorts that are a wonderful match for your activewear collection. Because of the light-to-midweight fabric and improved fabric engineering are ideal for both the gym and everyday use.

3. Darn Tough Cushion Sock:

Darn Tough Cushion Sock

Your assumption that socks are unimportant in the realm of fitness may be incorrect; nevertheless, this is not the case. Darn Tough has developed a lightweight sock that is both sturdy and simple, suitable for any circumstance. 

The lighter weight fabric and the enhanced breathability properties of these Merino blend socks make them an absolute must-have for anyone who suffers from foot odor problems. You’re seeking a different design, ankle height, or comfort level from what’s currently available.

4. Allbirds Men’s Wool Runners:

Allbirds Men’s Wool Runners

Allbird’s runners have a simple, basic design that allows them to keep your feet feeling fresh, even while you’re working out. Because of the Merino wool knit structure, which is made from ethical merino wool, it is both breathable and extremely comfortable. 

The elasticity of this shoe allows for a more extensive range of movement than most. Consequently, you won’t have to be concerned about discomfort or friction when exercising. 

Above all, we appreciate the fact that these sneakers are very adaptable. In addition, because they won’t stink after your workout, you may wear them throughout the day!

5. Minus33 Lafayette Women’s Tank Top:

Minus33 Lafayette Women’s Tank Top

Although this Minus33 Merino tank top appears simple, it is packed with high-performance characteristics. Designed to embrace your contours without being restricting, the overall fit is comfortable and flattering. 

The luxurious 17.5-micron Merino wool fabric has a great next-to-skin sensation because of its fineness. The 170 GSM lightweight fabric is breathable while not thin enough to catch on any workout equipment, which is a bonus. For those who don’t care for the charcoal gray tint, Minus33 offers it in four different hues as an alternative. Take a look at one now!

6. Icebreaker Racerback Sport Bra:

Icebreaker Racerback Sport Bra

When it comes to sports bras, Merino wool isn’t the first fabric that springs to mind when thinking about the material. However, because you want increased breathability to prevent breast sweat, this is most likely your best option. 

And one of our top sports bras is Icebreaker Racerback, which is available in various colors. Even though the material is elastic and moisture-wicking, it provides much support. 

Thanks to a wide range of color possibilities and an outstanding Icebreaker warranty, this sports bra is like the goldilocks of sports bras: it’s just right.

7. Merino wool Base Layer Leggings:

Merino wool Base Layer Leggings

If you’ve observed thus far, the majority of the Merino wool Activewear clothing that we recommend is very pricey. However, a few firms have manufactured high-quality wool clothes at a reasonably low cost. 

A good example is Merino wool, whose midweight Merino leggings are a great activewear option for the warmer months. As a result of the ultra-soft 18.5-micron fibers, these leggings are the most comfortable. We believe they are ideal for use on the treadmill, in yoga class, or even simply relaxing at home.

8. Darn Tough Ultra-Light Cushion Sock:

Darn Tough Ultra-Light Cushion Sock

Darn Tough’s Vertex socks are among the most lightweight options available on the stock market. This sock form is renowned for providing outstanding foot sensation, thanks to the lightest yet most durable fabric that allows you to make better touch with your footwear. 

This is essential for explosive, plyometric activities like box jumps since it allows you to maintain much greater control. Furthermore, these Vertex socks are breathable, and they even contain specific mesh zones on the top of the foot that help stimulate air circulation. The sensation on your feet will be fantastic after your workout, and your socks will not smell afterward!

9. Merinos Women’s Lace Up Shoes:

Merinos Women’s Lace Up Shoes

Remove all of your athletic shoes from your possession — honestly. They stink, and you’ve most likely been oblivious to the scent since you’ve become accustomed to it. Instead, consider exchanging them for a pair of Merinos Shoes. 

Because of their simple, comfy, and adaptable style, they are perfect for the gym, the store, or even the office! The soft Merino shell is extremely breathable and odor-resistant due to the use of natural fibers. Furthermore, these lace-ups are available in various colors and styles so that you may purchase a few pairs.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is it about my exercise clothing that makes them smell so bad?

Bacteria, sweat, and body oils are the chief causes that accumulate inside synthetic materials and produce a bodily odor. In addition to being exposed to huge numbers of the odor-causing substances listed above, the fabric from which gym gear is constructed is another source of the odor.

What can I do to prevent my training clothing from smelling bad?

Washing your training clothes in cold water and drying them in a low heat setting will prolong their life. Fabric softeners should not be used since they accumulate on the material and impede the garment’s ability to wick away moisture from the body. Adding one cup of white vinegar to the wash will help remove persistent odors from clothing.

Is it necessary to wash my exercise gear daily?

However, if you work out regularly, it will need to be washed every time. Many contemporary sporting textiles require a low-temperature wash, yet, doing so will not remove the germs that can flourish on sweaty garments and cause them to smell bad. If you wash at a temperature lower than 40 degrees Celsius, using an antibacterial laundry cleaner is worthwhile.

Bottom Line:

Our bodies release numerous different chemicals and hormones throughout the day, and one of these is sweat! This sweat comes to the skin’s surface and is expelled via our pores when we work out. 

When evaporation happens, the sweat will take on a smelly fragrance. This procedure is perfectly natural and nothing to be ashamed of. We hope you found this information helpful and that you dare to go to the gym or go for a run feeling comfortable in the clothes you wear.

James Parker is a 30-year-old creative writer who enjoys cookery, swimming and shopping. He is obsessed with bottled water and wool clothing.

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