How to get the stink out of your performance t-shirts

Out with the thick sweat pants and heavy cotton tees, and in with the thin, lightweight performance t-shirts, shorts and leggings. You love them all, UnderArmour, DryTec, Playdry, Dri-Fit, Dri Performance synthetic athletic wear. They are so comfortable and quick to dry, that you swear you will never go back to the old stuff. Then you get a whiff of your own stink a few minutes after putting on a supposedly freshly laundered t-shirt.

The problem is that the synthetic fibers, which give that fabric the qualities you love, are also very resistant to the detergent in your wash trying to penetrate and remove your baked-in sweat. Toss your clothes in a gym bag and stow it in a locker or your car and you’ve just compounded the problem.

If you have done this over and over again, and are just now trying to remove the smell, I will be honest with you – it may be too late, especially if you are one to toss these shirts in the dryer (not recommended). To save this from happening in the future, try these tips for washing your performance t-shirts and other synthetic work-out wear:

  • Wash as soon as possible – just as you need to do when trying to prevent set-in stains, the same goes for odor – time is of the essence

  • Wash items inside out, to make it easier for detergent to penetrate the sweat. Don’t overload the machine – the items need room to circulate. 

  • Try washing only your workout gear together if possible. 

  •  Use ½ cup distilled white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser, or rinse cycle. Never use fabric softener. 

  •  Hang items to dry – since they dry quickly, I just put them on a hangar and hang on shower rod for an hour. This way, you won’t bake any remaining smell into the fibers before you do the “sniff test.”

  •  No Dryer - I wouldn’t recommend using the dryer, but if you insist use lowest heat setting and never use dryer sheets. 

  •  Sniff test – Take a big whiff of those arm pits, etc and if there is any lingering odor, repeat the wash. Pretreating with a baking soda paste rubbed into the stinky areas.