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The Third Load | How to Wash Workout Clothes

The Third Load | How to Wash Workout Clothes

There is no denying it, high performance fabrics are high maintenance.   Gear with antimicrobial, moisture wicking and UPF properties are fine crafted, just like you are, and they require delicate care to maintain peak performance. Washing workout clothes into a regular laundry load will break down performance and clog moisture wicking fibers faster than your personal best minute mile.

THE DIRTY ON SMELLY LAUNDRY AND GEAR

"Odor in workout clothing is most commonly caused by a buildup of sweat and bacteria from your body," explains Mary Zeitler, lead consumer scientist at the Whirlpool Corporation Institute of Home Science.

The very moisture wicking features that keep you dry during an intense sweat session also make it harder for sudsy laundry water and conventional detergent to penetrate fabric and pull out sweat and bacteria.

Regular laundry detergents are designed to eliminate stains- coffee, grass, wine, etc- effectively by buffing the surface of fabric fibers.  By definition, this it also breaks down anitbacterial and UPF coatings on gear.  Residue from stain removers and fabric softeners clogs moisture wicking fibers leaving your gera (basically a second skin) stinky and full of mold and mildew.

No Sweat detergent is a specialty sport wash made with proprietary enzyme technology.  Unlike the stain removers in regular laundry detergent enzymes only like oil based solubles- sweat, urine and so on.  Just like digestive enzymes in your stomach breakdown food and without harming stomach lining, our enzyme formula dissolves odor causing sweat and grime without damaging fabric fibers.

WELCOME TO THE 3RD LOAD 

“Garment performance and life is dependent on how you care for them,”  says Joanne Whiteside-Mayor, senior apparel developer at Reebok.

Here is the definitive guide to keeping sportswear breathing and wicking sweat just like a second skin.

  1. Hang Dry or Air Out Immediately.  How you store workout clothes is a big cause of how smelly it is.  Stuffing it in a gym bag, locker or laundry hamper while still wet gives extra time for bacteria, mold and mildew to grow.  
  2. Separate performance fabrics and workout clothes from your other laundry (just as you would lights, darks and delicates) into a 3rd load. Your sweaty stuff is not dirty is simply grimey.  With proper care you'll get the best fit, longest life and best performance out of your gear.
  3. Turn everything inside-out to safeguard colors. Also, most of the gross stuff tends to accumulate inside your gym clothes, not outside.
  4. Consider putting sports bras and jock straps into a lingerie or delicates wash bag to minimize how much they rub against other clothes
  5. For really smelly stuff, soak or hand wash in cold water with a small amount of No Sweat.  This gives the enzymes a real chance to dig deep and de-clog the fibers of sweat, salt, dirt and bacteria, mold & mildew
  6. For regular wash Use a small amount of detergent in a cold water wash. Hot water breaks down waistband and strap elasticity, leads to shrinkage and is not good for the environment. Don't use more detergent than recommended or overstuff the machine, both of which make it harder for clothes to rinse clean.
  7. If you’re serious about blocking odors, add half-cup of white vinegar to your wash’s rinse cycle.  DO NOT use fabric softener.  It is essentially lard and will clog the wicking properties of your gear.
  8. Use the sniff test before putting laundry into the dryer.  If there is still bacteria in the fabric it will still smell mouldy.  Drying before all grime is removed will 'bake-in' bacteria and odor
  9. Air dry your clothes, or use the lowest heat setting on your dryer. Its good for the environment & better for the elasticity and fit of your gear.  Since performance fabrics are designed to wick sweat they air dry fast too.

HOW LONG SHOULD GEAR LAST

  1. UPF finishes - two years with normal wear and tear
  2. Antimicrobial finshes - will usually wear off at about the 50-wash mark
  3. Sports Bras & Jock Straps- six months to a year.  It should go without saying that you need to wash sportsbras, jock straps, etc every time you wear them to maintain fit and keep nasty grime away from your skin. 



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