Stinky Workout Clothes? How to Get Rid of Sweat Smell From Clothes

December 31, 1989 | Remove odors from workout clothes

Workout clothes are bound to stink of sweat, or are they?

A stinky cloth indicates the presence of bacteria, and sometimes, washing with regular laundry detergents won’t remove the odor.

Thankfully, you don’t have to wear bad-smelling gym clothes and risk getting bacterial infections or yeast. But first, you must know how to get rid of sweat smell from clothes.

We’ll look at a few different methods to eliminate sweat odor from workout clothes.

Most importantly, this article only shares chemical-free techniques for ridding your clothes of bad smells. This means you are less likely to develop an allergy if you follow these methods, and your clothes will smell fresh and last longer.

How to Get Rid of Sweat Smell From Clothes: 5 Effective Methods

1. Air Dry Your Workout Clothes Before Putting Them in the Laundry Basket

Tossing your sweaty gym clothes in the hampers right after you take them off is easy. But avoid doing this because it allows bacteria to continue breeding in your workout clothes.

Understandably, it may not be practical to always wash your sports wears immediately after you take them off. However, before tossing them in the dirty laundry basket, you want to dry them.

It doesn’t matter if your gym wear is made from quick-drying materials; it must be sufficiently dry before it goes into your gym bag or hampers.

2. Use Laundry Detergents Designed for Workout Wear

Regular laundry detergents may clean your everyday clothes. But if you want to specifically target odor-causing bacteria that stick to workout fabrics, your best bet would be to use sports-specific laundry detergents.

The OdorKlenz Sport Laundry Additive is optimized to be gentle on gym fabrics but tough on sweat smells and body odors. The product is safe for all sporting wear, including high-performance polyester materials like Dri-Fit clothing.

3. Flip Your Workout Clothes Inside Out Before Washing

Simply turning your workout clothes inside out before tossing them in your washer can make a world of difference when it comes to sweat-smell removal.

Why should you turn your clothes inside out?

Odor-producing bacteria usually breed inside sweaty clothes, so the whole idea is to maximize your washer’s effectiveness by allowing it thoroughly wash the insides of your gym clothes.

4. Wash Your Clothes With Chemical-Free Odor Removal Product

Most regular detergents aren’t designed to eliminate sweat smells, and even when they do, they can leave unwanted odors or allergy-triggering fragrances behind due to their harsh synthetic chemicals.

To ensure your workout clothes are free of all unwanted smells, use chemical-free additives when washing your gym wear.

We recommend the OdorKlenz Sport Laundry Powder, a carefully formulated, non-toxic additive that works well with regular, unscented detergents. The septic-safe, HE-friendly sports laundry powder effectively removes stubborn odors from sports apparel.

5. Wash Workout Clothes in Hot Water

A simple way to disinfect water is to boil it because high temperatures can kill bacteria, pathogens, and other waterborne diseases.

In other words, washing your workout clothes in hot water is an inexpensive way to get rid of smell-causing bacteria and leave your laundry smelling fresh and clean.

However, ensure your workout clothing is safe to wash with hot water to avoid damaging the fabric.

6. Pre-Soak Dirty Workout Clothes Before Washing

This is our least recommended method (for a reason), but it is an all-natural technique, so go ahead and give it a try if you prefer a DIY approach to remove sweat stink from your gym clothes.

girl in gym clothes covering noseAdd a cup of baking soda or washing soda and fill a container with hot water. You can also add some white vinegar to the solution.

Alternatively, you can skip the vinegar and 30 minutes pre-soak time if you don’t like the smell of vinegar or don’t have ready access to it.

Simply wash your clothes as you normally would and add one cup of baking soda during the rinse cycle. This will neutralize any sweat odor that regular detergents can’t remove.

Here’s something to keep in mind if you choose to use this method.

Although vinegar and baking soda are natural ingredients and function as non-toxic deodorizers, be sure to use them in moderate amounts.

These ingredients can damage the parts of your washing machine that prevents leaks. They can melt the hose and rubber seals in your washer, especially if you use them too frequently.

Bottom line: Only use vinegar and baking soda when you absolutely need to.

Sweat Smell Prevention Tips

Knowing how to get rid of sweat smell from clothes is great, but preventing sweat odors from sticking to your workout gear is even more beneficial.

Of course, you can’t avoid getting hot and messy if you want to do intense physical activity like working out. Still, you can use the following tips to keep your gym wear smelling fresh and possibly extend its lifespan.

  • Change out of your workout clothes as soon as your exercise session is over. Although sweat doesn’t necessarily make clothes stink, the odor-causing bacteria on your skin can interact with the odorless chemicals in sweat to produce stinky smells. For this reason, avoid hanging out in your gym clothes longer than necessary.
  • Wash your workout clothes regularly. Avoid re-wearing exercise clothing, as it can cause bacterial or yeast infections. Besides, you may stink when you repeat the same gym wear, especially if you sweat a lot.
  • When using a washing machine, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct amount of laundry detergent. Remember that adding too much laundry detergent makes it harder to wash and thoroughly rinse your clothes, and using too little soap will do a poor job of cleaning your sweaty clothes.
  • Wash your washing machine regularly with a powerful but chemical-free washing machine deodorizer. This will remove dirt and chemical residues in the areas you can’t reach. If left unattended for too long, the buildup of grime will make your clothes stink even after washing.
  • Avoid using fabric softeners, especially on your workout clothes. They may make some clothing times feel soft, but they can trap odor causing bacteria and make your clothes stink over time.