Have you recently started exercising more and more outside, whether that be walking, running, or even biking outside to get your daily exercise? With many Americans stuck within the confined space of their home, with limited access to the outside world gyms in many states around the country are closed which has led to people turning to outside exercise. For those who live in warmer climates, the outside heat may lead to strong, pungent odors to become embedded on the fabric of your gym clothes and this odor will be nearly impossible to remove no matter how many times you place your clothing in the washing machine.

Sweat odors that can accumulate on clothing from workout perspiration can contain various chemical compounds within the sweat that will leave an impressionable aroma on the material of the workout gear. If and when this occurs to your workout clothes, it may be necessary to implement a new washing strategy on these clothes to expel the sweat odors on these workout materials, especially on moisture-wicking fabrics used heavily in the workout clothing industry.

In this article we are going to learn more how to get perspiration odors out of clothing, what chemical compounds cause these sweat odors that accumulate on the clothing material and discuss how to get the sweat smell out of the clothes for good!

What is Perspiration

The natural production of perspiration in the human body is something that is simply unavoidable, especially during physical or strenuous activity that involves elevated levels of movement or extreme heat. Perspiration, also known as sweat, is the production of fluids that are secreted by the sweat glands in the skin of humans. These sweat glands will be triggered during exercise and will elicit the production of sweat which will seep from the skin of an individual and accumulate within the fabric of your workout clothing – which can lead to stinky and stain filled sweat odors on the material.

There are two types of sweat glands that can be found in humans; the eccrine glands and apocrine glands. These two sweat glands are distributed over the body, with the eccrine glands covering most of the human body. The production of sweat from the human body is primarily emitted for thermoregulation, which is achieved by the water-rich secretion of the eccrine glands. According to Wikipedia, the maximum sweat rates of an adult can produce up to 2 to 4 liters per hour or 10-14 liters per day. Ultimately, the evaporation of sweat from the skin will have a cooling effect because of the evaporative cooling that will mitigate the sweat from the skin, however, when it comes to the evaporation of sweat on the material of clothing this will be not be as easy of a process and will require extensive work in your washing routine at home.

Why Am I Sweating

It’s normal to sweat when you are at the gym or outside working out, walking down the street on a hot day during summer, or even relaxing outside sunbathing on a lounge chair. The sweat will rapidly release off your body in an effort to regulate and cool down the body after it has been exposed to high temperatures from the heat or high levels of exercise. When it comes to why you are sweating, the sweat that is produced from your body can have many benefits such as cooling off the temperature of your body, helping to heal wounds, and it has even been shown to contain an antimicrobial protein that can help to ward off bacteria while working out at the gym.

For those of you who have asked ‘why am I sweating?’ the reason behind sweat will be caused primarily by the elevation of body temperature, usually when a person’s temperature begins to rise over 98.8 degrees. The human body’s temperature will usually begin to steadily rise during physical activity such as exercise where the heart rate will go up and body heat will increase – and thus this will lead to sweat production during exercise.

Why Do My Shirts Smell Sour When I Sweat

Have you started to notice the distinct sour sweat smell that has developed on the material of your workout shirts, especially your moisture-wicking clothing material? When it comes to the smell of sweat, most people will falsely identify the odor of sweat, since sweat is completely odorless. Why does sweat smell? The odors that are often mistaken for sweat is actually the production of bacteria that lives on the body that mixes with sweat to create that foul-sweat aroma that many people are familiar with, especially on their clothing after working out. Bacteria will inhabit moist environments, especially on the human body such as armpits. Thus, when you sweat the bacteria will break down certain proteins in the sweat into acids – which will make the bacteria breaking down the sweat what really smells on your body and on your workout apparel.

In addition to bacteria, the sweat glands will also play a role in the odors that are formed from sweat. As we discussed previously, the two sweat glands in your skin, eccrine and apocrine glands, will each produce sweat from different areas of the body and create various odors from the sweat gland. Apocrine glands, in particular, are the sweat glands that are responsible for body odor because this sweat gland is high in protein that when broken down by bacteria will cause a stench.

Why Do My Gym Clothes Smell After Washing?

For anybody that works out frequently then you are probably familiar with that awful sweaty aroma that will infiltrate the material of your gym clothes. These sweat odors will hang around on the clothing even after multiple washing attempts, and therefore leaving you to wonder what the reason behind this is and if your detergent isn’t working or you are in need of new workout clothes. When it comes to the sweat odors that will hang onto your gym clothes, there will be several factors that will play a role in the severity of the odor and the difficulty to remove these odors from the material of your gym clothes.

One of the primary culprits behind the strength of the sweat smell on workout clothes is the bacteria, sweat and body oils that will build up and accumulate within the material of your athletic apparels synthetic fabrics that will literally cause the clothes to reek! Additionally, the fabric that your gym clothes are made of will also influence the impact of odors and their ability to remove the odors from the material easily in the washing machine. Today many athletic apparels are made using synthetic fabrics or moisture wicking materials, which are designed to expels and draws moisture away from the body while you are sweating. Although these materials are excellent for working out and drawing moisture away from the body, they will create many issues in the washing machine. The water and detergent will have a hard time of penetrating the synthetic fabrics and thus will allow for the continued accumulation of sweat and body oils on these materials that will create the pungent aroma of sweat on the fabric.

How Do You Get Sweat Smell Out of Clothes

When it comes to removing and mitigating the sweat smell out of your clothes, particularly workout clothes, there are many strategies that you can start to enact into your washing routine. Firstly, it could help to turn your clothing inside out before washing them. This will help since sweat, oils, and bacteria will release from your body onto the inside of your clothing and accumulating within that fabric, therefore having the clothing turned inside out will allow for the detergent to penetrate that area during the wash cycle. Secondly, always perform the sniff test before putting the specific garments into the dryer, since heat produced from the dryer will only amplify the odors that are already present on the fabric of your workout clothes.

Next, wash your clothing as soon as you’re done wearing them and sweating in them. Many people will throw sweaty soiled clothes into a dirty hamper and although this is common it will create many issues such as the breeding of bacteria in this enclosed, dark environment – and this will produce a variety of odorous compounds on the material. Therefore, washing your clothes right away after you wear them will help to brew additionally odors on the workout gear. If you don’t have time to wash your clothes right away after you are done wearing them, an alternative would be to hang your clothes outside to air dry. Lastly, don’t use too much detergent in the washing cycle. Some people may be under the false belief that more detergent will help to eradicate odors, however, this is a fallacy and in reality, it will actually create more odors on the clothing material overtime.

Best Detergent for Workout Clothes Odor Removal

Have you noticed that your laundry detergent hasn’t been cutting the mustard when it comes to odor removal? Laundry detergents will all work different depending on the specific detergent, its chemical structure, and the masking agents used within these detergent products. When it comes to sweat odors, in particular, it will often be impossible to penetrate and remove the sweat odors off of the moisture wicking material of your athletic apparel using just laundry detergent. Therefore, the addition of other laundry cleaning products such as odor removing laundry additives have entered into the market to provide those athletes with additional armor to combat the sweat smells permeated on their workout clothes.

The OdorKlenz Sport Laundry Additive is your first line of defense against sport odors. Sports apparel is notorious for retaining pungent sweat smells that are created by bacteria. The OdorKlenz Sports Laundry Additive is a formulated solution with the revolutionary OdorKlenz technology to remove and neutralize odors from their source, which includes gym clothes, gear, and bags. The laundry additive is gentle enough for all sporting fabrics including moisture wicking athletic apparel. This OdorKlenz Sport Laundry Additive was optimized to remove and neutralize the stubborn sweat and body odors from your workout clothing. Without the use of masking agents or toxic chemicals, the OdorKlenz Sport Laundry Additive will eradicate the odors, rather than covering them up, therefore giving you a clean and odor free athletic gear. Simply add the laundry additive in the washing machine with your regular, unscented detergent and wait for an odor free washing load.

Sport Laundry Liquid

$14.99 – $24.99

Made of Safe, Natural earth minerals that provide a complete odor elimination on fabrics

Fast acting, without the use of masking agents or fragrances

Safe to use on all washing machine types include HE washers

Can be used on all washable fabrics including moisture-wicking, spandex, polyester, rayon, and wool.