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After months of long, cold winter days, it is finally time to welcome spring! As the warmer season ushers in, it’s high time to clear out winter apparel from your wardrobe and reevaluate your workout gear, too.
Just like your favorite clothes need special attention, so do your exercise apparels [TWEET THIS!]. How you clean your workout clothes can make a difference between having a well-performed fitness routine and feeling weighed down by sweaty clothes. Reebok senior apparel developer Joanne Whiteside-Mayor said that your garment’s performance and life is dependent on how you care for them.
Before you start revamping your closet, take the time to inspect your fitness clothes. Here are some ways that can help you keep your workout gear in top shape.
TAKE IT FROM THE TOP
Choosing the right top for your exercise routines is crucial for an optimal sweat session. The ideal tops are loosely fitting and flat seamed. This type of top will help you avoid chaffing when you get into the zone and start sweating.
- Spring clean it: After a sweat-breaking workout, laundry may be the last thing on your mind [TWEET THIS!]. However, leaving your sweaty clothes in the hamper will not only worsen the smell but can also breed mold and mildew spores which can be trapped in the fabric even after washing.
If you don’t have the time to wash your clothes right after working out, hang them out to dry immediately. Another way to kill bacteria from your workout clothes is by soaking them in a solution of one part vinegar and four parts water for 30 minutes before washing.
- When to toss it out: As much as you would like to keep your favorite shirt in your workout clothes pile, look closely if it’s time to say goodbye to it. “Stretched bands and straps, faded tags, possible chafing spots, and a less-than-fresh scent are all signs it might be time to upgrade your running apparel,” Whiteside-Mayor said.
KEEP STANDING OUT
Wearing your reflective gear over your top during your exercise routines increases your safety on the road especially when visibility is needed. Keep your Tuvizo reflective vest in tip top shape by cleaning it with care.
- Spring clean it: Abigail Tunstall, co-founder and director of Tuvizo, suggests surface washing and air-drying your safety reflective vest to cleanse it of bacteria, dirt, and sweat absorbed from your workout. This can also help prevent it from smelling and maintain the vest’s high-reflective quality.
SUPPORTING THE SPORTS BRA
A blood-pumping workout routine requires a lot of movement. For most women, a well-supported chest not only allows them to move freely but it can also help avoid pains such as backaches.
- Spring cleaning it: Simply air-drying your sports bra after a workout routine is a major mistake. According to New Balance brand manager Audrey Kirkland, sports bras need to be washed every time after you wear them. Consistently cleaning your sports bras will get the fabric’s fibers back into place for optimum fit. In addition, washing it will cleanse the fibers of sweat, salt, dirt, and bacteria that your body releases during your sweat session.
Kirkland said that hand washing and line-drying is best for sports bras. This will help keep it stretchy and maintain its high-performance quality longer than when you toss it in the washer and dryer. Generally, sports bras are designed to wick sweat thus allowing it to air dry relatively quickly.
- When to toss it out: With proper care and washing, sports bras should provide optimum support for six months to a year. Kirkland suggests replacing them every time you switch your running shoes.
CHECKING THE JOCKSTRAP
This workout gear gives male fitness enthusiasts the support that they need when doing routines that require a lot of movement especially in sports like cycling and running. When it comes to washing frequencies, jockstraps are just like sports bras and underwear. They need to be washed after every workout session.
- Spring clean it: According to Jason Richter, ShockDoctor Sports vice president of product marketing, it is best to wash your jockstraps by hand or machine before air-drying it. If you are using a washing machine, he suggests setting it at the lowest temperature possible since hot water can decrease the waistband and straps’ elasticity over time. If your jockstrap has a protective cup, remove it and wash separately.
- When to toss it out: Jockstraps tend to last longer than most workout gear especially if they are consistently cleaned properly. Though it depends on the frequency of its usage, jockstraps are usually good for one to two years. However, remember to regularly inspect the quality of your jockstrap and make sure that it does not sag when you work out.
DOWN TO THE BOTTOMS
The type of bottoms you wear during your exercise depends on your workout routine. Cyclists and runners usually wear tights that hug the legs for less air resistance thus enabling to gain more speed. According to Jodie Gear, general manager of merchandising of Lululemon Athletic Australia and New Zealand, the right pair of bottoms is key to reaching your full potential.
- Spring cleaning it: “Most gym clothes are made of fibers that repel waters, such as Spandex or Lycra. In order to wash these garments properly, water has to penetrate the clothing fibers,” said Eduardo Harrara of Slate NYC dry cleaners. He suggests pre-treating your sweaty workout clothes in a solution of half gallon of water with lemon juice to help break up the oils that your clothes have absorbed.
Gear also adds that the best practice to extend the life of your bottoms is by washing them in cold water and air-drying them.
- When to toss it out: Tights are specifically designed to stay close to your body. As a rule of thumb according to Gear, if your bottoms are no longer tight, it’s time to throw them out and replenish your workout wardrobe.
CARING FOR YOUR SOLEMATE
Your shoes are your body’s foundation when working out. Whether you’re a runner, cyclist, or an all-around fitness enthusiast, a good pair of shoes can help you perform better. Wearing the proper shoes can also help you prevent injuries during your workout routines. However, you may damage your shoes with the way you clean it if you’re not doing it properly [TWEET THIS!].
- Spring cleaning it: Brooks associate product line manager of footwear Jena Winger suggests handwashing your shoes when they get dirty and start smelling. Avoid tossing your workout shoes in the spin cycle for this can break down parts of the shoes that are fundamental for support such as cushioning.
Another way to prevent your shoes from smelling is by spraying the insides with deodorant such as Febreze or OdorEaters. Stuffing your shoes with newspaper will also help prevent these from smelling as the newspaper acts as an absorbent for the excess sweat.
- When to toss it out: A study by the University of Birmingham revealed that the EVA foam in running shoes loses its elasticity around 300 to 500 miles of usage. So even if your shoes look like they are in good condition, they are not giving you as much support and protection from impact as you need. Take caution next time you work out and observe for any pains and aches that have no relation to your workout routine for this can be your signal to get new shoes.
Having your workout gear in top shape is crucial to reaching optimum performance. Furthermore, wearing fit exercise clothing can also help you prevent injuries. This spring, take the time to assess your workout apparel and inspect them. Properly cleaning your gear will not only make you feel fresh and clean but it can also extend its lifespan and durability. It’s time to get with the season and start your spring cleaning!