Skip to navigation Skip to main content

Your browser is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

How to Get Smelly Gym Clothes Clean & Fresh

22 June 2017

Hands up…who’s left their smelly, sweaty gym clothes in their sports bag and completely forgotten about them? Guilty! Bacteria is quick to build up on our running tops and yoga pants, and this contributes to that unbearable ‘gym-bag’ odour which can be difficult to get rid of, even after a few washes.

The Lycra or similar fabrics that make up your gym clothes are specially designed to repel water. They move sweat away from your body so you can perform at your best. But this poses a problem when it comes to washing. Water in your washing machine struggles to penetrate these fibres, meaning your sports bra or leggings won’t always come out smelling of roses.

Here are a few laundry tips for getting the contents of your gym bag smelling next to brand new.

Soak before washing

Fill a bowl with one part white vinegar and four parts water, add your clothes and leave for 30 minutes before going in the wash. If you don’t have white vinegar to hand, do the same pre-soak as above but squeeze a lemon’s worth of juice into it along with a bit of your usual laundry detergent.

B&M Top Tip: our washing hacks should help you eliminate the odours from your workout clothes, but there’s no harm giving them a fresh scented boost. Comfort Intense Perfume Pearls will keep clothes smelling fragranced and fresh long after being washed.

Don’t leave them in your bag!

It’s easier said than done, and while you think you might be doing your family or colleagues a favour by sealing them into your bag, your sports clothes will be worse off.

Where possible, leave sweaty clothes to air out as soon as you’ve completed your workout and turn them inside out. All the oils and bacteria that give gym bags that old-sock-smell accumulate on the inside, especially in the armpit, crotch and derriere regions!

B&M Top Tip: if you need somewhere to hang your clothes to dry, B&M have a great range of airers and drying racks.

Keep it cool

As with any good workout, a cool-down is essential. For your Spandex and Lycras, it’s important you wash at a cool-to-warm temperature. Hot washes can cause delicate materials and performance fabrics -like tight fit gym shorts and tops- to shrink.

If you’re concerned the temperature is too low, and your gym clothes are still too stinky, you can throw in another half a cup of white vinegar to your rinse cycle. Remember, you can turn up the heat on your workout, but never on your gym wash!

B&M Top Tip: leave sportswear to dry naturally rather than in the dryer. Hang them out in your garden on a sunny (ideally breezy) day and let nature do its thing.

Do you know of any ingenious tips or tricks for washing gym clothes? Share your laundry hacks with the B&M Community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.