How to Remove the Smell From Running Clothes

6 Solutions for Lingering Body Odor on Workout Gear

Woman throwing clothes in washing machine
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Technical fabrics are great for running because they wick away your sweat, but they have the reputation of trapping body odor and retaining the smell even after laundering. The odor comes from bacteria that are present on your skin and get trapped in the fabric fibers. Use these six solutions to prevent stinky running clothes and get the smell out.

Don't Delay the Laundry

Washing your clothes soon after you run will make a huge difference since the bacteria grows and the smell gets worse over time. If you've ever left a sweaty shirt in a gym bag, car, or laundry basket for a couple of days, you have first-hand experience with this.

Use a Soda Pre-Soak

Pre-soak your clothes in a solution of water and Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (or just use water and a cup of baking soda). You can use the pre-soak setting on the washing machine or do it in a separate container. Then wash, using Arm and Hammer laundry detergent.

Use Vinegar

Plain white vinegar is an inexpensive and cheap odor remover. Soak your running clothes in a cup or two of vinegar mixed with plain water. Then wash as usual. Or, pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup of white vinegar into the wash (along with your regular detergent).

Use a Sports Laundry Detergent

Try using a special detergent formulated for technical wear, such as WIN High-Performance Sport Detergent. These types of detergents will remove the odor, but won't degrade sweat-wicking or water-repellent properties. All of them promise to remove oils, which retain odor by clinging to the fabric fibers. They have some doubters, so you will have to be the judge as to whether they perform better than regular laundry detergent.

Use an In-Wash Odor Eliminator

There are also in-wash odor eliminators on the market that work well. One effective product is Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator, which you can add directly to your wash along with your favorite detergent. It can be used in any washing machine, including high efficiency (HE) ones.

Buy Odor-Fighting Running Clothes

There are also lots of new odor-fighting running clothes on the market. They may sound too good to be true, but these running clothes do actually help keep you dry and odor-free. Companies are often vague in how their fabrics do it, but a common technique is to include some metal in the fiber blend, such as copper or silver. Since they are part of the fabric fibers, they don't wash out. Although some of them are more expensive than your average running shirts, they're worth the investment because they'll last longer and keep you smelling fresh.


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