"A lot of these fitness garments contain elastane—that's that stretchy spandex material—and the cold water helps not only the color preservation, but also helps with preserving the elastane fibers over time," says Jennifer Ahoni, senior scientist with Tide. "In addition to washing in cold, you want to minimize drying them with heat as much as possible. So either line dry, lay flat to dry, or tumble dry on very low. Because like the heat in the water, the heat from the dryer can damage those fibers."
Now that you have your stretch situation under control, how do you deal with odor? Picking the right detergent is key and you can check all the boxes and even help prevent your leggings from stretching too much with the right formula. Many nowadays say that they're for sport or active lifestyles and contain potent odor neutralizers specifically made for stretchy fabrics. You can also always go the pantry route, and add baking soda to the load.
Separate your workout clothes from any other fabrics (especially denim), turn them inside out to ensure that the grossest, sweatiest parts are getting the brunt of the washing, and zip up the zippers to avoid abrasion. Then, run your load and choose your means of drying. From here on out, your stretchy pants will now keep their stretch for life.
Another little known laundry hack you definitely haven't tried yet? Using lemons to brighten up your whites. And to up your leggings game even more, try one of these personalized picks from Soulcycle.
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