Moisture wicking clothes have had a huge impact on the world of athletics. From weekend warriors to professionals, athletes across the spectrum are now enjoying more comfortable workouts and optimized performance thanks to this new material. However, you may have noticed that it’s tricky to keep these pieces clean and smelling fresh. If odors tend to stick around after washing, never fear. All you need is the right washing technique and detergent.
Here’s how to wash moisture wicking clothes the right way. If you follow these instructions, you’ll banish funky odors, keep your pieces fresh, and even help them to last longer!
Quick Wash Guide
Are you fed up with lingering body odor on your moisture wicking clothes? (You just washed that shirt, so why does it still STINK?) Here are the basic steps you need to handle this issue, along with some deeper explanation below:
- Wash Workout Clothes Together. Collect all of your sweaty workout clothes and place them in the washing machine.
- Machine Wash. Check your clothing tags and use the appropriate settings. Labels often say to use cold or warm water, but washing with hot water works best for removing odor.
- Use A Sports Detergent. To tackle odor problems and remove oils from the synthetic moisture wicking materials, it’s important to use a detergent designed for activewear such as WIN Activewear Detergent. Regular detergents do not remove oils and odors from activewear as effectively.
- Dry on LOW heat. After washing, move the items to your dryer and set on tumble dry low. This works for most items, but always check tags for warnings and instructions.
- Avoid Fabric Softener. Fabric softeners often leave a waxy residue on your garments, which can prevent the materials from wicking away sweat like they should.
That’s it. With the right detergent and these basic steps, your clothes will be smelling fresh and ready for your next workout the moment you remove them from the dryer.
Understand The Materials
Moisture wicking garments are usually made with synthetic materials that have been designed (as the name suggests) to draw sweat and moisture away from your body without absorbing it. Compare this to traditional cotton garments, which absorb your sweat and become soaked and heavy, leading to rubbing and chafing.
Common materials used in moisture wicking clothing are polyester, lycra, nylon, spandex, and others. These synthetic materials are “hydrophobic,” meaning that they don’t absorb water the way cotton does. Your body heat pushes sweat along the synthetic fiber away from the skin. That’s what’s meant by “moisture wicking.” Because liquids are not absorbed by synthetic fibers, they spread out over the surface of the threads in a thin layer and evaporate quickly. This is what makes moisture wicking clothes breathable, helping to keep you drier during your workouts.
However, there’s a problem when it comes to keeping these synthetic materials clean and smelling fresh: While the moisture from your sweat evaporates quickly, it leaves behind a residue of everything that couldn’t evaporate into the air—mainly salts and oils from your skin. It’s those oils that are the source of the sweaty odor. The “hydrophobic” property of the fibers doesn’t just mean they repel water, they also attract and lightly bond to oils. Without the right detergent to break those bonds, oils can be difficult to remove from synthetics, leading to lingering odor even after washing.
Let’s Talk About The Smell
No one is surprised when their clothes stink after a hard workout. It’s only natural. You have poured a lot of sweat into your clothes, and that sweat doesn’t exactly smell like perfume. So, you wash the clothes, take a shower, and it’s all good, right?
Not so fast. The shower should take care of your personal body odor, but those same odors can linger in your workout clothes—even after they’ve been through the wash. What’s that about?
You’ve probably heard the phrase “oil and water don’t mix,” right? Well, this chemistry principle applies to clothing, too: Materials that repel water attract oils, and vice versa. Therefore, while your moisture wicking clothes do a great job of getting rid of water, they actually hold on to oils tightly. Bacteria love to feed on these oils, and those bacteria emit gasses that stink. Thus, it’s the “bacteria farts” that make your workout clothes smell before—and oftentimes after—washing. Cotton, on the other hand, hangs on to the water tightly, so oils are removed easily, which leaves bacteria with nothing to eat. That’s why cotton clothing usually doesn’t have the same lingering smell and why regular detergents do a fine job of removing odor from cotton. To get your synthetic clothes smelling clean, you need to get rid of the bacteria. And to get rid of the bacteria, you need to get rid of the oils.
Use The Right Detergent
Many people are surprised to learn that their regular detergent isn’t able to wipe out the oils from moisture wicking clothing and other activewear. That’s because most regular detergents are made to treat what has traditionally been the most common material in clothing: cotton.
As we mentioned before, cotton and the synthetics found in moisture wicking clothes are essentially opposites when it comes to how they handle moisture. Therefore, it should make sense that they need to be washed differently, too. A sports detergent like WIN Detergent has special ingredients to break the bond between oils and synthetic fibers, so you can rid your workout clothes of that pesky odor in no time.
Help Your Clothing Last
So now your clothes don’t stink, but there’s another benefit to washing them properly and with the right detergent. They’ll last longer. Here’s why:
- Oils that collect in synthetic fabrics can impede wicking performance, so garments don’t feel as comfortable as they did when you first bought them. WIN detergent can help to get rid of those oils, so fabrics feel like new.
- As bacteria eat trapped oils and skin cells, they produce gases and odors that can be difficult to get out. People assume that the embedded odor in their activewear is permanent. Some people may even throw clothing out because they can’t get rid of the smell. WIN gets rid of those odors, making the garment smell like new—so it doesn’t need to be tossed.
- Salt crystals from your sweat will abrade fabrics, causing them to wear down faster. Washing out all of the salts helps preserve the clothing.
Try WIN Activewear Detergent
If you frequently wear moisture wicking clothes, you need to make sure you have the right detergent on hand. WIN Detergent has been specifically developed to clean these kinds of garments. We can tell you all about how it works, but the best thing to do is try it for yourself! Order a bottle of WIN today, and see what you’ve been missing.