How To Wash Your Workout Clothes

I have way more workout clothes than normal clothes. My laundry days consist of probably 90% workout clothes. I love that I work in an athletic office and as a coach so I can wear fitness apparel to work too. Though now it sucks because when I put on jeans I feel so constricted, blah.

Anyway, it’s important to take care of your workout gear if you want them to last. I used to just throw them all in the wash with my normal clothes and call it a day. Now I’m careful to wash them how they’re supposed to be washed, and hang dry them.

I learned key things once I started working with Raw Athletics, a company that puts out a natural sports detergent and a sports spray (for your funky smelling shoes). I actually also wrote up a post on their products, so if you’re interested in trying it out, read it here!

I mean, did you know you shouldn’t wash your workout clothes with things like jeans and towels? I definitely didn’t. 

How To Wash Your Workout Clothes

So now I’m going to share a few tips I learned from Raw Athletics on how to wash your workout clothes :)

Like I mentioned above, you probably already know to wash your athletic wear in a cold wash and air dry. For some reason I used to wash in hot because I figured a scalding hot wash would kill all the bacteria and odor. Most performance apparel laundry instructions state to use a cold wash.

Don’t wash with abrasive fabrics. This includes jeans, towels, and anything with zippers. I made the mistake of doing this with a lululemon top and something got caught and pulled out a thread. Very annoying when you pay $$$ for lululemon stuff! Besides that, washing with other clothes can cause pilling and fraying.

Use powdered detergent. Raw Athletics does a good job of explaining this so I’m just going to quote them here:

Most brands, especially Nike Dri-Fit, recommend using a powdered detergent because powdered surfactants gently yet very effectively remove soils and debris from the fabric much better than liquid surfactants, without leaving behind any residue.

Don’t use detergents with fragrances. Like Tide Sport or Febreze. The smell clogs up the pores of your clothes, which leads to even smellier clothes as time goes on (from your sweat being stuck on the fabric). You’d think using fragrances would HELP the whole smelly clothes issue, but that’s not the case! Brands like Nike and lululemon even put on their instructions to avoid using fabric softeners.

Turn clothes inside out. According to a few brands’ washing instructions, you should turn your clothes inside out before washing. I actually did not know that until I started writing this post! Good to know. Doing so reduces fading of colors and also reduces pilling. 

Random side note (speaking of pilling) – I just bought a pair of lululemon Wunder Unders last weekend, and the inside groin/crotch area is already starting to pill. WTF?? When something costs upwards of $90, shouldn’t this not happen? Or is this normal? Anyone else have this issue?

Anyway…those are just a few tips to help you out on your next laundry day. I’ve noticed that once I started taking better care of my garments, they lasted longer and stayed in decent condition. Also, once I started using Raw Athletics, it really helped take that awful sweaty smell out. Or you know how sometimes you wash your clothes, but then as soon as you sweat in them they stink? That would always happen to me. 

If you want to read other reviews of their products, you can find one here from MCM Mama Runs, and one from The Active Guy. Feel free to leave any questions below!

Oh also, here are washing guides specific to each popular fitness brand, brought to you by Raw Athletics:

Do you take care of your workout clothes? Do you follow the washing instructions or just throw everything in together?


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  1. Thank you for the great post. I had no idea workout clothes needed to be washed differently. I just started running this spring/summer and the running clothes files us quick in a week. I appreciate the great tips!
    Patty recently posted…FitBlogNYC 2014 RecapMy Profile

  2. Well I’m doing a lot more wrong than I thought! I have started washing my clothes separately and cold but I definitely use fragrance liquid detergent and even a fragrance booster!
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…Roasted beet, pomegranate & pecan saladMy Profile

  3. Never heard of the power tip! Everything else I do!

  4. I am so not careful about washing my workout clothing – although I do wash it separate the majority of the time! I generally don’t have anything too too expensive (have managed to not purchase anything lulu over the years – I feel like that would be a slippery slope) that I would die if something happened to so I just throw it all in on cold and dry on gentle.
    I do try to rotate through clothes though so I don’t wear the same things over and over.
    Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat recently posted…Pre Chicago Marathon RamblingsMy Profile

    • haha omg it is a slippery slope! I love lululemon now and just ask people to give me gift cards for occasions. I love working out in their clothes but you’re right, if something happens it sucks bc it’s so pricey! I do also like nike stuff and go to Modell’s to find their stuff – sometimes they have really good sales.

  5. Great tips! It’s good to know!
    Erin @ Her Heartland Soul recently posted…How I’m taking my blog to the next levelMy Profile

  6. Great tips! I’ve literally been running into this problem recently. My clothes smell good and as soon as I sweat man do they stink! So annoying. I do use fabric softener. I’ll try to eliminate that. I may have to invest in special detergent though. I’ll look into Raw Athletics. Thanks for sharing!
    Daisy @ Fit Wanderlust Runner recently posted…Treating Injuries: When Enough Is EnoughMy Profile

  7. Helpful post! I hate laundry day more than anything. I do one full load of workout gear, and of course, everything is hang-to-dry. I also live in a tiny 450-sq ft apartment, so clothes are draped everywhere.
    Bri recently posted…Recipe: Raw chocolate almond butter power ballsMy Profile

  8. Great post! Thanks for sharing and including the review I put together. Some great information on how to clean specific workout clothes.
    Scott recently posted…Trivillage October 2014 Coupon CodesMy Profile

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