Happy Wednesday. Hope everyone is doing well. I ran another 10 miles around the neighborhood this morning. It was a slow and easy long run. The humidity is about the same as it was yesterday but the dew point must be higher or something because it felt really sticky and when it’s really sticky and muggy, I sweat like a pig.
Yes, I admit it, I am a sweaty mess, but thankfully, I am not smelly or stinky.
To be honest, that wasn’t always the case. Several years ago I started buying moisture wicking running clothes. The concept of moisture wicking is that it collects the sweat from the inside of your clothing, (the part closest to your skin) and it moves it to the outer layer of the clothing where it evaporates more easily. It’s a great concept except that the very same fabric that works wonders to keep the sweat off of you also has tons of little areas within it that can harbor bacteria and odor.
The bacteria are what eventually cause the odor and if you don’t wash those clothes properly, they will quickly start to stink and they will stay stinky even after you wash them. There are newer brands of clothing on the market that offer a type of odor blocking technology but the type of clothing I’m talking about here is your basic moisture wicking fabrics such as dri-fit, ClimaLite, etc.
Being a bit of a clean freak and having OCD meant that I spent hours looking for the solution to my stinky problem and thankfully after trying several methods over the course of a year, I found the solution and I’m going to share it with you. You will not believe how simple it really is to keep your clothing stink and smelly free.
First, when you finish your workout, immediately remove your clothes and either throw them in the sink or in the shower with you. This is the most important step in the entire process and the one thing you have to do. Use cold water and rinse all of your clothes thoroughly. You are rinsing them to remove the bacteria, (which is what causes the odor). I spend a good 5-10 minutes rinsing, wringing them out, then rinsing and wringing again.
After you’ve rinsed your clothes you can either hang them to dry or immediately throw them in the wash but please don’t throw them in the hamper or in a corner when they’re wet. They could mildew and then you have another problem to deal with.
Whether you hang them to dry or decide to wash them immediately, you’ll wash them the same way. Add 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 tablespoon of baking soda to the washer and wash your clothes. Do not use fabric softener, it gets trapped in the fibers of the clothing. When the cycle is finished, hang your clothes to dry. I’ve been doing this for several years now and my clothes never get that stinky smell.
If your clothes already have that stinky smell you can use the same method but add one step. Put the clothing in the sink and fill it with cold water. Add 1 cup of vinegar, 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Soak the clothes for an hour and then thoroughly rinse with cold water. Next, wash them in the washer with the vinegar and baking soda and then hang them to dry. This may or may not work depending on the level of stink your clothes have acquired.
In case you’re wondering, your clothes will NOT smell like vinegar. They will smell fresh and clean. However, if you don’t want to use the vinegar and baking soda method, you can use Penguin Sport Wash or Tide Sport with Febreze. I’ve used both and they both work well. (If you’re clothes are already stinky, use the vinegar and baking soda.)
Also, just a side note, if you use a front loader, that could be the problem too. MacGyver and I bought a high-efficiency, front loading washing machine years ago and within a year we noticed that our towels were starting to smell moldy. After speaking to the manufacturer and researching front loaders I realized that I needed to clean the washer thoroughly. Here is a great article on how to do that.
Do you sweat a lot when you work out?
How do you wash your moisture wicking clothing?