How To Get The Stink Out Of Your Workout Clothes

Don’t smell like you’ve worked out BEFORE you’ve even hit the gym!

You’ve just had a great workout, really worked up a sweat, and now it’s time to hit the showers. But what about your clothes? Gym bags and laundry baskets often become the resting place of our workout gear, and if left there too long, the sweat smell really starts to settle into the fabric. There’s nothing worse than putting on “clean” workout gear only to find yourself surrounded by set-in sweaty odor. And once you start working out, that stink starts to warm and gets even worse!

Anyone who’s tossed sweaty gym clothes into a bag or hamper post workout knows that pungent odor of dank, forgotten yoga pants, tank tops, and sports bras left to languish in a crumpled, wet heap. Bacteria coupled with wetness create a rich environment for a powerful stink to grow. And even after a laundry cycle that potent stink may still linger. No one wants to smell sweaty before they start working out! Rescue soiled workout clothes from disaster with these tips to keep the stink at bay. Especially if you’ve spent money on high-performance gear or higher-end workout clothes, you want them to stay odor-free for as long as possible.

A good sweat sesh will mean you’ve really put your workout gear to the test. A good shower will get us clean and sweet-smelling, but our clothes often can’t get cleaned that quickly. In order to keep that gear fresh, you’ve got to take the right steps to prevent bacteria and odors from seeping deep into the fabric. It’s hard to do this when our workouts are often on-the-go, we’ve got a few recommendations on how to keep your gear from taking on a permanent stink.

And don’t forget your gym bag, the place that harbors all of our sweaty clothes and smelly shoes post-workout. Use a disinfectant wipe or diluted bleach solution to wipe down your bag; those dark, enclosed spaces are a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus (think athlete’s foot), so treat it well and give it a regular cleaning; we recommend once a month.

Here are some tips on how to keep your gear fresh and ready for the next workout:

Let sweaty clothes air dry before washing.

Most of us can’t immediately wash our workout clothes. This can be tough, especially when our workouts are on the go. Give damp workout clothes a chance to air dry before throwing them into the wash. Another tip: turn your clothes inside out, exposing the side that has had the most contact with our body oils.


It’s not just for salad dressing. Distilled white vinegar is a great way to help keep the stink out of your workout gear. Soak dirty clothes in water with 1 cup of vinegar for 15-30 minutes before washing. You can also add vinegar to your rinse cycle to help reduce odors.

Baking Soda

It’s not just for your refrigerator! A box of baking soda in a refrigerator will help to absorb odors, and adding it to your wash will have the same effect. 1 cup of baking soda to your wash will naturally help to remove and prevent a buildup of sweaty odors in your workout gear.

More Water, Less Soap

Use warm or cold water to wash your workout gear and don’t overload the washer; keep the washer about ⅔ full to ensure that enough water will come in contact with your sweaty clothes, rinsing out any stinky bacteria.

It might seem counterintuitive, but using less detergent will also help keep your clothes smell free. Too much soap prevents water from penetrating the fibers of your clothing, and that water is a must to help rinse out bacteria. Less soap means less stink. Another tip: skip the dryer and air dry your workout gear to avoid baking in any residual odor. If that’s not possible, use the low setting instead.