Few items of clothing have to be more versatile and rugged than the clothes we sweat in. Whether a pair of tough, thick work pants on a construction site, a long-sleeved shirt worn while doing yard work, or a pair of gym socks from this morning’s jog, they are all susceptible to the toughest of our sweat stains and odors.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the best practices when it comes to cleaning sweaty, smelly laundry. We’ll show you how to get sweat smell out of clothes, whether it’s fresh or was forgotten in a gym bag over the weekend..
How to Wash Sweaty Clothes
Even though the sweat that comes from our body may all be the same, causing stains and odors on our clothes no matter what we’re wearing, that doesn’t mean your wash routine for both should be the same. The fact is that many gym clothes are designed with synthetic fabrics designed to wick away moisture, so they will need to be washed differently than, say, a pair of pants worn to work outside in the garden.
If you’re wondering what’s the best way to get rid of sweat odors on clothes, follow the steps below and your laundry will be looking great and smelling fresh every time you pull a load from the wash.
Give Sweaty Clothes Space to Dry
If you’re not planning on throwing those sweaty garments in the washer right away and starting a load, be sure that the hamper or storage area for your dirty, sweaty clothes gives them air to breathe and dry. Avoiding wet, sweaty clothing from sitting in an enclosed space like a gym bag or hamper is key to avoiding the bacteria that cause nasty odors.
Sort Your Sweaty Clothes
Purpose-built gym clothing often has sweat wicking or elastic properties that are designed to benefit the activities we do while wearing them, We want to preserve those properties as much as possible by selecting a wash cycle that’s appropriate for beating our sweaty odors without damaging the fabric. Typically, gym clothes like cold water on a delicate or gentle cycle.
You should also avoid washing gym clothes with heavier, linty items. These can damage or wear down your gym clothes prematurely.
Don’t Overload the Washing Machine
Right-sizing your laundry loads will be key when it comes to fighting the odors and stains caused by sweat. Giving your garments ample room to tumble around while also providing space for the water to mix fully with the detergents will be key when it comes to removing stubborn sweat stains and odors in the washing machine.
Turn Sweaty Clothes Inside Out
Turning your sweaty clothes inside out gives the parts of the fabric that have the closest contact with our bodies full and direct exposure to the turbulence generated by your washing machine drum as it agitates. This allows sweat stains and odors to be lifted more thoroughly once the wash cycle has completed.
Add a Scented Detergent
Scented laundry detergents are a fantastic way to fight stubborn odors and sweat stains. Fragrances are available in a variety of options, and for the toughest odors, detergents with oxi-power can also be used to banish odors once and for all.
Use Common Household Items to Fight Sweat
Common household goods like baking soda, white vinegar, and even hydrogen peroxide can be used to eliminate odors from clothing. Always consult the fabric care label on each individual item for proper cleaning instructions, but for most washing-machine-safe fabrics, these can be added to the machine’s dispenser to help eliminate tough odors.
How to Store Sweaty Gym Clothes
Because of their moisture-wicking properties, gym clothes are great at keeping us cool and dry while we’re exercising or being active. If we’re not careful, those same properties that make gym clothes so comfortable to exercise in can also make them extremely smelly and unpleasant to wear. But we also don’t want to store or transport our sweaty, stinky gym clothes in a way that makes everything else in our bag stinky and smelly, so what is the best way to store sweaty clothes when we’re on the go?
Rinse Sweaty Clothes in a Sink
By rinsing your sweaty clothes in cool clean water before putting them away, you can flush out a lot of the odor-causing molecules and sweat that leaves gym clothes so smelly.
Wring Your Clothes Out
After you rinse, wring your clothes out as much as possible so that they’re as dry as possible before you put them away. This will give them the best chance of avoiding the buildup of sweat odors before you get a chance to wash them in a machine.
Roll Your Clothes Up in Your Gym Towel
Lay out your gym towel and place the rinsed gym clothing on it before rolling or folding it up into a compact bundle. This will help any additional moisture in the clothing wick into the towel and the compact mass of sweaty fabrics will travel more easily together.
Place Bundle in a Plastic Bag
To avoid sweaty, nasty odors from latching on to other items in your gym bag, place your sweaty bundle of clothes inside a plastic bag. This will prevent any undue odors from leaking out into other items you’re transporting. Just be careful, however, because the sweaty clothes won’t be able to breathe inside the plastic bag, so if you forget them for too long, bacteria and odors will take hold and be extra tough to remove.
How to Prevent Sweat Smells on Clothes
As long as our bodies perspire, we will be fighting sweat smells on our clothing. But there are a few things you can do if you’re planning to sweat to prevent the smell from building up too strongly on your clothing.
Shower and shave regularly: Both regular showers and shaves help sweat from building up on your body and transferring to your garments.
Use undergarments: Undershirts and sports briefs both can help absorb the sweat from activity, preventing it from soaking into your more expensive, nicer outerwear.
Use an antiperspirant: Using an antiperspirant deodorant can help protect clothes—particularly the armpits on shirts—from sweat stains and odors.
Let your clothes dry: Allowing your sweaty garments to have the space and airflow to dry is critical to fighting odors. Don’t let your sweaty clothes sit in a bag or dark, enclosed hamper.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I stop my sweat from smelling?
Always shower after exercise or an activity where you’re sweating. This can not only help prevent body odor, but it can prevent the buildup of sweaty odors on your clothing. Be sure to select an antiperspirant deodorant as well, which will help keep you smelling fresh, even during physical activity.
How do you get rid of sweat smell naturally?
Items like baking soda, white vinegar, and even hydrogen peroxide are all great at combating sweat odors that have built up on clothing. These common household items can be added to the wash with smelly items to hep neutralize or destroy even tough odors. As always, be sure to consult the care label on your garments for recommended cleaning instructions before washing.
How do you get rid of armpit odor?
White vinegar helps neutralize odors on the underarm areas of most fabrics. Always consult your garments’ care labels for cleaning instructions before undertaking any treatment yourself. For machine-safe garments, put them in your wash, start the cycle, and once the drum has filled, add 1/3 cup of white vinegar. Then allow the garments to soak for 20 minutes before continuing the cycle as you normally would. Repeat the process if sweat odors persist.