Long sunny days and warm weather luring you outside for heart-healthy, mood-boosting, sweaty workouts…the joys and victories of summer! You should be feeling nothing but pride in your healthy choices. But what about those valuable and well worn workout clothes? We want to keep them performing for you so that nothing gets in the way of your next run, trip to the gym or outing with the family dog. While we are not professional athletes, we have scoured the web to find the best, most environmentally friendly, ways to take care of your expensive athletic clothing. From post-workout to fluff and fold, a few simple guidelines will optimize the life and performance of your sports apparel and have you ready to grab every opportunity for good, healthy fun!
Whenever Possible Hang Dry – This scenario may sound as familiar to you as it does to us: stripping off those sweaty clothes and tossing them into the laundry basket or shoving them into your gym bag before heading off to the shower and then all the other demands of life. Whenever you can, taking a moment to hang your gear over the side of the hamper after a sweat session will do wonders for extending the lifespan, not to mention scent, of your workout threads. Super-sizing your workouts and ending up with some funky fashions…and not the boho chic variety? Have no fear! A quick pre-wash treat, or well deserved soak, will banish odors and your gym clothes will smell and look like new.
Pre-treat or Soak for Optimal Performance, Look and Smell – Pre-treating materials like Lycra and Spandex can go a long way towards preserving these fibers and eradicating any post-workout stink. Sports apparel works hard to wick away our sweat and support our workouts, but the materials themselves are delicate and benefit from specialized attention and a gentle touch. At Men’s Fitness, Eduardo Herrera of Slate NYC dry cleaners recommends a simple pre-treating solution: dilute an ounce of laundry detergent in a half gallon of warm water, squeezing the juice of one lemon into the mixture. Soak or spray before washing, gently scrubbing sweat-prone areas, such as the neckline or armpits of clothing with the solution and a brush. Vaska detergent’s eco-friendly, gentle and effective formula is a perfect fit for mixing this solution. Whether using Vaska’s liquid detergent option or convenient wash tablets, the pure and safe formulas will dissolve completely in water, unlike other tablet formulations. In addition to the dirt, sweat and oil fighting power of Vaska, the citrus acid from the lemon will also help to break up oils.
Time for the Main Event…The Wash Cycle – When washing performance apparel the term “less is more” comes to mind. Many of the ingredients in some detergents, like brighteners, softeners, fragrances and dyes can become stuck in the specialized fibers of workout fabrics and interfere with water’s ability to move through the weave. When your gym clothes are clogged with detergent, they collect odors more easily, fail to wick moisture away during exercise as readily and loose their ability to perform when you need them. It is optimal to stick with an eco-friendly, hypoallergenic detergent free of unnecessary fragrances or dyes that will rinse cleanly out of your fabrics, such as Vaska. Another factor to consider when washing is water temperature. Always consult your clothing’s wash instructions and wash on as warm a setting as permitted. However, sports wear is often designed for a cold wash, which may leave you wanting another strategy for odor control. For extra odor fighting power, Jolie Kerr, a cleaning expert quoted on Shape.com recommends adding a half cup of white vinegar to your wash cycle and skipping on fabric softener. The vinegar will deliver a double punch, knocking out both stench and the need for softening agents. And it will do it naturally, alongside your gentle detergent.
The Grand Finale: Time to Dry It Up and Put a Wrap on Your Laundry Routine – Once again, we recommend that you follow the individualized laundry instructions on your sports wear. Whenever possible, use the lowest heat setting to avoid shrinkage and over-heating. Better yet, let your clothes get outside in the warm weather for a solar-heated line dry. The sun’s heat will ward off bacterial growth naturally and your clothes will have the fresh, summer scent of the outdoors.