Ever wondered why workout clothes require a little extra love when it comes to the washing and drying process? Ever considered skipping a couple of care steps, thinking, ‘What’s the worst that could really happen?’ Ever considered giving workout gear a miss entirely because it’s just too expensive and difficult to care for?
You’re certainly not alone in these sentiments, but what a lot of people don’t realise is just how important high quality clothes are when it comes to working out, and indeed how important clothes are in general, as they:
- Help to regulate body temperature
- Protect us from the elements
- Maximise our movement and confidence
- Help to prevent injury to certain areas of the body
Most good workout gear is able to capitalise on these properties with the help of quality materials and designs that, among other things:
- Provide ultimate support
- Remain lightweight, flexible and breathable
- Shield the body from harsh sun exposure thanks to UV protection
- Resist odour due to antimicrobial properties
- Wick moisture to keep the wearer cool and dry
Cheaper, easier to care for garments tend to lack these basic protective elements, rendering it impossible for them to as effectively combat the increased risks of overheating, sweating and injury that accompany certain types of fitness.
This is likely why Livestrong has stated, ‘The clothing you wear to work out is just as important as bringing water with you.’ It’s understandable, however, that you’re reluctant to splurge on a new fitness wardrobe just to fall at the first washing and drying hurdle. So the question remains: now that you have your clothes, how do you care for them?
Unfortunately, putting them in your washing machine at the end of the day or week isn’t the best answer, as this method of washing:
- Threatens to break down the fabric used for many fitness clothes
- Can damage antimicrobial properties
- Might clog up fibres in a manner that all but destroys any wicking properties.
Although the initial subtlety of these effects may seem to be of little concern, they actually nullify many of the properties that help to streamline your fitness sessions, and without these properties, the benefits of your workout clothes are lost and the money you spent on them wasted. We must, therefore, search for safe, gentle washing alternatives that focus on preserving the clothes we love.
The most obvious tip for maximising productivity and increasing the longevity of your clothes is to always read and follow the instructions on your care labels. But assuming you’ve already got that one covered, here are some other basic tips that should help preserve the quality and aesthetic of your fitness clothes:
- Act fast: Take your sweaty clothes straight out of your gym bag to dry and launder them as soon as possible to help keep them looking and smelling fresh.
- Prepare your items: Turn your workout gear inside out before washing. This helps to protect the colour and ensures that the regions that have been exposed to sweaty and dirty skin are thoroughly cleaned.
- Be gentle: Where possible, always hand wash your workout clothes to help preserve the quality of the fabric, and remember that the more you machine wash, the more you risk the life of your workout wear. Be sure to protect any items you do machine wash with a mesh washing bag.
- Choose the right products: Detergent is best avoided, as it can build up on your workout clothes, damaging the fabric and leading to mildew through the entrapment of oils and skin cells. Fabric softeners and anything with fragrance or dye should also be avoided, as these can remove water-resistant and anti-UV coatings, trap in bad odours, and clog your fabric’s fibres, ultimately reducing moisture wicking and odour fighting properties. Instead, opt either for sport-specific detergents, or wash with a small quantity of vinegar to help combat odour and keep your clothes fresh.
- Be mindful of the washing environment: Wash in cold water unless care instructions state otherwise, as hot water tends to fade colours, break down fabrics, and reduce stretch.
- Air dry: Both tumble drying, which risks changing the fit of your clothes by manipulating their elasticity, and exposure to direct sunlight, which tends to compromise colour, should be avoided. Instead, air dry your clothes in the shade to increase longevity.
For the best, totally fuss-free results, consider pairing these tips with the Allurette gentle washer, which is electricity-free and optimised for small loads of washing. Lightweight and portable, easy to use, and self-contained to prevent both spillage and contaminated skin, the Allurette combines the quality and convenience of a machine wash with the gentleness of hand washing, enabling you to get the most out of your workout wear and the money you spend on it.
Now you can get out there to conquer your fitness goals without any care or maintenance concerns holding you back!