The 10 Best Sport Laundry Detergents of 2020

Get the stink out of your workout clothes

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Our Top Picks
"The dye-free formula is specifically designed to remove smell from synthetic fabrics."
"One capful per load is sufficient to clean even the dirtiest of workout clothes, making it an affordable choice."
"You can safely use this detergent on workout clothes, protective sports padding, gloves, braces, and other equipment."
"Contains an oxygen-based stain remover that’s determined to get the sweaty smell out of your workout clothes."
"With stain-fighting enzymes, increased surfactants, and polymers, the detergent promises to get out the worst stains and odors."
"This 40-pound pail of powder laundry detergent is perfect for big families looking for something that'll last a long time."
"The hypoallergenic, nontoxic, fragrance-free formula guarantees that your clothes come out of the washer odor-free."
"This dermatologist-tested formula is free of dyes and perfumes, and it's perfect for those with hypersensitive skin."
"One pod adds the equivalent of up to 10 cups of leading liquid laundry detergent, leaving your clothes fresh and odor-free."
"Boasts the Tide's patented Zap! Cap, a unique cap that features scrubbing bristles for the pretreatment of extra dirty clothes."

It’s no surprise that gym clothes often smell far worse than our everyday apparel. Even if your exercise routine does not involve wind sprints or similarly sweaty activities, your workout clothes will likely soak up much more sweat than the rest of your wardrobe. We all know that sweat can cause body odor—this is mostly because the bacteria on our skin feeds on chemicals in our sweat, and their byproducts have an unpleasant smell. The sweat and byproducts can stick to our clothing and make fabric smell even after we've removed our clothes.

Washing that sweat out of your workout clothes is crucial for fresh laundry out of the dryer. This often requires a hardier laundry detergent than what you use on your everyday clothes, formulated specifically to clean your workout apparel and to get rid of smells and stains that sweat can leave behind.

Here are the best sport laundry detergents for avid exercisers.

Best Overall: WIN Sports Detergent

WIN is a best-selling sports detergent, and for good reason. WIN’s odor-fighting, dye-free formula is specifically designed to remove smell from clothes made with synthetic fabrics. Their detergent removes the sweaty oils from your clothes, leaving them smelling fresh and ready for your next workout.

You can also use WIN on other types of fabric, including cotton. This detergent is compatible with HE washers and will work well no matter what water temperature you use. The detergent comes in three versions—active fresh, active teen, and free and clear.

Best Budget: Sweat X Sport Laundry Detergent

Specifically designed to rid your clothes of odor-causing bacteria, Sweat X Sport Laundry Detergent restores your workout clothes to their original freshness. The formula is organic, safe for sensitive skin, and is lightly scented with essential oils for a fresh, natural smell. This detergent can be used in all water temperatures and is compatible with traditional and high efficiency (HE) washers.

One capful per load is sufficient to clean even the dirtiest of workout clothes, making this super-concentrated detergent an affordable addition to your laundry room. A single bottle of detergent will last you for approximately 45 loads.

Best Multipurpose: NATHAN Power Sports Wash

It doesn’t matter what kind of fabric you’re looking to clean, the Nathan Power Sports Wash is a safe bet. With a neutral pH formula and all-natural ingredients that remove 99% of odors and stains, you can expect clean, fresh clothes that retain their vibrant color.

The formula strips oils and dirt from your workout clothes without breaking down the material or compromising the moisture-wicking and water-resistant qualities of the fabric. The detergent is free of bleach, fabric softener, brighteners, and scents. You can also safely use it on protective sports padding, gloves, braces, and equipment that needs to be washed.

Best for Bad Smells: OxiClean Odor Blasters Stain & Odor Remover

OxiClean’s Odor Blaster laundry detergent contains an oxygen-based stain remover that’s chlorine-free and color-safe, determined to get the sweaty smell out of your workout clothes. It's also highly effective at getting musty scents out of old towels and body odor out of everyday clothes.

OxiClean recommends that you use it as a pre-wash soak for extra sweaty clothes, soaking for six hours for best results. The detergent works well with all washing machines and comes in a convenient 5-pound tub.

Best Heavy-Duty: Tide Heavy Duty Liquid Laundry Detergent

Made with four stain-fighting enzymes, increased surfactants, and polymers that make up a formula that promises to get out the worst stains and odors—from caked-on dirt to red wine—this detergent is the definition of heavy-duty.

You can use it in any water temperature and in either a standard or HE washer—you can also soak your stained clothes with the detergent for even more pointed stain removal. The 115-ounce tub promises to last for approximately 60 loads of laundry.

Best Bulk Buy: Boardwalk Low Suds Industrial Powder Laundry Detergent

For big families, buying laundry detergent can seem like a weekly occurrence. With Boardwalk’s industrial laundry detergent, you won’t have to worry about restocking every few days, no matter how many kids you have in high school sports.

This 40-pound pail of powder detergent is marketed as a janitorial product and has the hardy formula to get out stains and sweat from your workout clothes, leaving them with a fresh, lemon scent.

Best Natural: Sport Suds Laundry Detergent

This hypoallergenic, nontoxic, fragrance-free formula guarantees that your clothes come out of the washer odor-free. It strips your workout wear of bacteria and oils that make them smelly, leaving them fresh without the help of harmful chemicals.

It is safe for those with sensitivities, and it is compatible with individuals concerned about the ethics behind their detergent—it's made from entirely naturally occurring ingredients of non-animal origin. One pouch of Sport Suds washes over 140 full machine loads.

Best for Allergies: Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin Free & Clear

It can be hard to find a laundry detergent that is strong enough to get out sweat without any irritants, especially for those with hypersensitive skin. Arm & Hammer’s Sensitive Skin Free & Clear makes that search easy, with its dermatologist-tested formula that’s free of dyes and perfumes.

The formula keeps the signature Arm & Hammer baking soda freshness, stripping away sweat and other body odor smells that stink up your workout clothes. You can use it to soak clothes, as well as in standard and HE washers with any water temperature.

Best Pods: Tide PODS Plus Febreze Sport Odor Defense

These Tide Pods have the added power of Febreze, bringing even more freshness to those smelly gym shorts. In only one wash, the pods can renew your clothing’s scent—even if they’re a week or two old—thanks to Tide’s 4-in-1 technology that cleans, brightens fabric, fights stains, and freshens clothes.

The pods dissolve completely in all water temperatures, with one pod adding an equivalent of up to 10 cups of leading liquid laundry detergents. Depending on how big (and how smelly) your load of laundry is, you may need to add a second pod for added freshness. The Tide Pods are compatible with both regular and HE washers.

Best for Dirt and Stains: Tide Ultra Stain Release Liquid Laundry Detergent

Tide’s Ultra Stain Release detergent offers the Tide household name in an even more concentrated formula, ready to take the dirt and stains out of whatever item you throw its way. It's proven to get rid of 99% of stains, no matter what water temperature you wash your clothes in.

You can place the detergent into your washer’s designated place, or you can pour it directly on tough stains for a more targeted approach. This particular bottle boasts the company's patented Zap! Cap, a unique cap that features scrubbing bristles for the pretreatment of extra dirty clothes.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a former fitness coach, long-time wellness enthusiast, and current health editor, Lily Moe understands the importance of products that meet your individual requirements. As a marathon runner, she knows that workout clothes need more TLC than other aspects of your wardrobe, requiring a laundry detergent that does the tough job.

Lily also has sensitive skin, so she personally only uses free and clear detergents. Most importantly, Lily always looks for research and first-hand reviews when it comes to deciding on a product.

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  1. Kubota H, Mitani A, Niwano Y, et al. Moraxella species are primarily responsible for generating malodor in laundry. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012;78(9):3317-24. doi:10.1128/AEM.07816-11