Clothing Care

How To Clean Your Ridiculously Stinky Gym Clothes the *Right Way*

Tehrene Firman

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As if you weren’t already sweating enough to begin with, go for a run in this weather and you’ll come back looking like you went for a swim. While there’s nothing wrong with working up a sweat—it’s how your body releases heat to cool itself down, after all—the summer months can completely destroy your favorite gym clothes. Perma-smell is real, people. Just ask my brand-new pair of bike shorts.

Since typical detergents can only do so much when it comes to cleaning your gym clothes—and getting rid of the odor that comes with the territory!—housecleaning expert Diane Regalbuto, owner of Betty Likes to Clean, has a few tricks up her sleeve that can help. And she’s an expert in the area, as she’s cleaned for well-known athletes—aka the sweatiest people of all. But before you begin washing your clothes, there are some things she wants you to keep in mind.

“Don’t place wet or soiled clothes in your laundry basket. When you do, bacteria can build up and create more smells. If you can’t wash them immediately, hang them up somewhere to let them air dry,” she says. “Then once you do wash them, be sure to wash them inside-out and pre-soak. And don’t use fabric softener.”

Ready to wash? Here are Regalbuto’s favorite things to use whenever she’s dealing with extra-sweaty gym clothes.

How to clean gym clothes, according to a professional

1. Use baking soda

Regalbuto says adding baking soda ($8 for 2, amazon.com) into your laundry will do wonders in cleaning and deodorizing your gym clothes. All you need is a half cup per load, and your clothes will come out fresher than ever before.

2. Add white vinegar

Like baking soda, white vinegar ($8, amazon.com) can also make your gym clothes fresh and clean. “It has a magical touch,” Regalbuto says. “Add 6 to 8 ounces to your laundry.” It’s so powerful that it can easily get rid of some of the strongest odors you body produces.

3. Use essential oils

To make your clothes smell extra fresh, add some essential oils into your laundry. “Tea tree oil ($6, amazon.com)—a couple of drops in water with a half cup of vinegar—is an excellent recipe for stinky laundry. It’s a cleansing mixture,” says Regalbuto. “Other essential oils I recommend are lavender, orange, pine, and eucalyptus ($7, amazon.com).”

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