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?


Follow Reach Your Peak:



Raw Athletics: Natural Sports Cleaning Spray & Detergent

Disclaimer: I was provided with free product from Raw Athletics. All opinions are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links.

I connected with Steve, the founder of Raw Athletics, last year and immediately knew he was onto something really awesome. Raw Athletics produces Vapor Fresh sports cleaning spray and laundry detergent. He came up with the idea while in college. He played hockey and couldn’t take the smelliness of his gear anymore. Has anyone ever smelled hockey gear? Let me tell you, it doesn’t smell pretty ;)


Let’s start with the sports detergent…

“But wait, doesn’t that already exist?”

Yeah sure it does, but let me tell you why this stuff is different:

  • Free of chemicals that will destroy your performance fabrics.
  • Free of chemicals that will destroy the environment.
  • Powdered detergent instead of a liquid detergent.
  • Strong concentration of specific cleaning enzymes.
  • Formulated for a cold-water wash.

Their detergent is not scented, which means the smell in your laundry isn’t just being covered up, it’s actually being taken out. Many performance apparel companies, like Nike, even recommend you wash your workout clothes with powdered detergent as opposed to liquid. If you’re interested in reading more about how to wash specific brands, Raw Athletics has listed how the popular brands, such as Nike and lululemon, recommend you wash their clothes (scroll to FAQ section).

They recently re-designed their product labels!

They recently re-designed their product labels!

Also, if you notice your clothes are still stinky no matter how many times you’ve washed them, it could be because you’re using regular detergent. From the Raw Athletics website:

Fabric softeners, optical brighteners and fragrances can leave a fine film on your fabrics which can trap odor-causing bacteria and body oils, causing those lingering odors and the diminished wicking capabilities.

I totally had this problem before I started using their products. Some of my workout tops smelled awful even after washing them. I had to throw a few out due to the smell.

Here’s a handy chart comparing Vapor Fresh to other competitors:



The sports cleaning spray helps to eliminate odors from sports gear such as pads, equipment and sneakers. It has no artificial fragrances, no chlorine, no ammonia, and it’s non-irritating/non-toxic. So what’s the difference with this and Febreze?

Here’s what Raw Athletics has to say (they will do a better job of explaining than I will):

Other sports cleaning sprays either use harsh ammonia or chlorine-based disinfectants to clean the sports equipment, or they simply use artificial fragrances to attempt to cover up the nasty odors. Unfortunately both of these options have drawbacks– harsh disinfectants were not meant to come in contact with skin and typically cause some sort of skin discomfort when exposed, and artificial fragrances only mask the problem and wear off quickly. Vapor Fresh® Sports Cleaning Spray harnesses the power of essential oils — oil extracts from specific species of plants– which have been shown to have antimicrobial properties and also have a naturally-occuring refreshing scent.

Or if you’re more of a visual person:


Again, you don’t want artificial fragrances just covering up the smell and making it worse! This stuff is great for when you need to deodorize on the go. I love using it on my gym bags because they obviously get a little dank from putting sweaty or wet clothes in there. You can find specific information on how to use the spray for different things (like pads, yoga mats, etc.) here.

Side note: Did you know “kids these days” use the word “dank” when describing things that are “cool?” Like, “that’s so dank!” Oh the things you learn with younger siblings…

Anyway, whether you get the spray or detergent, this stuff is great AND affordable. FYI, Vapor Fresh detergent yields 36 regular loads, or 72 HE loads.

The detergent is $21.99 and the spray is $11.99.

I have no problem investing in things that related to running or fitness, since it is something I’m doing on a daily basis. About 95% of my laundry is sports related…anyone else?

I love these products, and am excited to say that I will be helping them with their social media presence as well! So make sure to follow Raw Athletics on Twitter and Facebook for future contests and promotions :)

If you have any questions about the product please feel free to leave a comment below! I think these are both great products for those who are active and sometimes suffer from stinky gym clothes ;)

How often do you wash your gym clothes? Do you use special detergent?

What percentage of your laundry is gym/running related?


Follow Reach Your Peak: