Feeling Funky? How to Stop Gym Clothes Smelling


Working out may be good for you in all sorts of ways, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It requires effort, commitment, determination – and the ability to deal with all sorts of unpleasant smells too, from locker room funks to stale gym kit pongs. You can wash and scrub as much as you want, but some smells get baked right into the fabric of your clothes.

Or do they? We asked our laundry experts – one of whom is actually training for the London Marathon at the moment – if there was anything that could help deal with that post-gym stink or if there’s any way to stop gym clothes smelling in the first place…

Why Gym Clothes Smell

There are a few reasons why gym kit can smell more than regular clothes. It’s not just because it gets exposed to more sweat – it’s also because the fabric itself is usually designed to repel water in the first place, which makes it more comfortable to work in but also harder to clean. Water can’t penetrate the fabric as easily, which means reduced cleaning.

There’s not a huge amount you can do to make the clothes take on more water unfortunately, though you can stop it from getting worse by not using fabric softener in your wash. Softeners work by applying a greasy layer to your clothes which keeps them supple, but also makes it even harder to soak them.

Dry Gym Kit Outside

You know what’s almost as good for you as exercise? Fresh air – and it’s good for your clothes too. Not only will a breeze air out your clothes and carry away bad smells, it’ll also help them dry faster and avoid shrinkage. It’s also worth noting that some gym kit, such as those made from tech fabrics, need to be dried outside to avoid damage.

You can get even better results by drying clothes inside out and in direct sunlight too. The sun will help deter and kill off some of the smelliest bacteria naturally, while turning clothes inside out will stop the colours fading.

Wash With Vinegar

White vinegar, the reliable cure-all of the laundry business, works great for eliminating sweat stains and smells and there’s multiple ways to use it too. We recommend soaking your kit in a water-vinegar solution (one part vinegar, four parts water) for half an hour before washing, but others prefer to add a cup vinegar straight to the wash.

Whichever method you prefer, it’s always worth testing it our first to make sure it won’t damage your clothes. You may also have to wash clothes for longer than normal to make sure you don’t end up smelling of salad dressing, but if that’s a problem then the Laundrapp team is always happy to do the washing for you!

Rather have someone else take care of your smelly kit? We collect, clean and deliver to gym-goers and cyclists across the UK, so order now or check out what bloggers such as London Cyclist think of Laundrapp.