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3 expert tips for washing your activewear so it doesn’t smell (or fall apart)


how to wash activewearGwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd know a little something about laundry. And your sweaty workout clothes.

The pair founded luxe, eco-friendly cleaning line The Laundress in 2004 and just debuted the brand’s first retail store in the US, on Prince Street in Soho, where detergent, stain solution, and mops are presented in a way that makes them covetable and Instagrammable (seriously).

But its the product formulations, not the store design, that really set the company apart. Detergents are made with plant-derived ingredients and hard-working enzymes instead of potentially harmful chemicals like sodium laurel sulfate, dyes, or chlorine bleach. laundress_how_to_clean_workout_clothing

“Everything we make is very highly formulated for exactly what we want it to do,” explains Whiting, showing me products made specifically for wool and cashmere, whites, activewear, and pit stain removal. (“We didn’t want to become The Laundress if we couldn’t conquer the pit stain,” she says.)

Naturally, we asked the fresh-and-clean experts to weigh in on how to properly wash activewear, so that those $150 luxe leggings you splurged on last a good, long while and don’t smell like a sweaty spin studio when you wear them with a baggy sweater to dinner later. Here are their three key tips:

how to wash activewear

1. Ditch the dryer. First, the most basic tip you’re hopefully already following: “We recommend hanging [your workout pieces] to dry as the heat and agitation in the drying cycling can change the fit, reduce elasticity overtime, and alter the performance,” say Whiting and Boyd, providing you with more reasons beyond a little pilling to break out the drying rack.

2. Hang up your sweaty clothes before you wash them. Don’t just throw them directly into a hamper. “If they sit there wet and wadded-up, you will have musty smells and set-in odor,” they explain. After a really intense workout that drenches your duds, you can even rinse your tank or leggings in the shower or sink and then hang them to dry before throwing them in the hamper to sit until laundry day.

3. Wash your favorite workout leggings with enzymes, or try a vinegar soak. “To remove any bacteria that causes odor, or for tough, set-in odor, we recommend pre-soaking with white vinegar, then washing as normal,” they suggest. “And look for a detergent that has enzymes (like protease, amylase, cellulase, lipase), like The Laundress Sport Detergent.”—Lisa Elaine Held

Need some new leggings to experiment on? Check out these 10 pairs of essential black yoga pants.

(Photos: The Laundress)