How To Properly Wash Your Workout Gear

You just finished your workout – way to get your sweat on! Unfortunately, you’re not quite finished; all your sweaty gear needs a thorough cleaning. And while it’s easy to get in the zone and out of your head during a workout, washing your gear afterwards should never be a mindless activity. That’s why we’ve broken down how to wash your workout gear to get the most use out of those oh so precious items!

How to Wash Your Workout Clothes and Gear


1. Athletic Clothes (shorts, pants, shirts, sports bras, etc.): First and foremost, read the label! If you’re still at a loss, my rule of thumb for athletic apparel is to machine wash with cold water in a gentle cycle. For best results, wash athletic clothes with like fabrics. Hang clothes to dry to prevent shrinking or altering the elasticity. If you struggle to get rid of stench, try washing sweaty athletic clothes immediately after wearing. If washing is not available immediately, hang sweaty clothes to dry rather than letting them sit damp for days.

2. Yoga Mat: Depending on the size and thickness of your yoga mat, you have several options for cleaning. Number 1: if your yoga mat is pliable enough to fold up in the washing machine, wash it with a little laundry detergent in cold water on a gentle cycle. If your yoga mat exceeds the dimensions of your washing machine, you can easily hand scrub your mat with a rag and mat cleaner. Something like Manduka Mat Renew may be up your alley, or you can make your own! Number 2: another viable option is to soak your mat in the bathtub.

3. Towels: If your towels can handle a hot water wash without shrinking or disintegrating, this may be the best way to kill off bacteria and unwanted odor. And depending on the type of towel, whether it’s a microfiber with anti-stink or just a plain old cotton one, wash your athletic towel every 1-2 uses. Your gym mates will appreciate it!

4. Headbands or Sweatbands: Athletic headwear can be washed similarly to clothing. Placing items in a garment bag may help prevent them from catching. Like clothes, wash in cold water with detergent and lay flat to dry.

5. Shoes: It’s springtime, which means running outside can be extremely wet and muddy. To ensure your shoes are dry and ready to go for your next run, pack them with newspaper while they’re still wet. The newspaper with soak up any unwanted moisture and (hopefully) prevent your shoes from smelling. You can also try throwing the shoes in the washing machine with a little laundry detergent if they get super dirty or try scrubbing the dirt away with a toothbrush.

6. Earbuds: We all love working out with music. It’s a great motivator. But how often do you clean your earbuds? If you’re like me, it’s next to never. Even though they’re made of moisture resistant material, they could still use a wipe down every once in a while to prevent bacterial growth. Try a gentle cloth with just a small amount of soap and warm water. Never submerge earbuds in water, as this will like damage them.

Photo credit: countrykitty

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Carly Sippel is a registered yoga teacher, certified life coach, and nutrition nut. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Dietetics from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She turns her passion into practice, promoting healthy bodies in both her personal and professional life.