Fight the stink: 5 natural (and FREE!) ways to fix stinky workout clothes

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Oh I love HOT YOGA but you know what’s not so hot? Stinky workout gear. You know what’s even worse? Stinky hot yoga clothes. Feel me?

With all the hype and craze we’re experiencing these days we figured..this has to be a problem for more people than us. So here you go, 5 natural ways to get the stink out of your gear. Read to the end, and we’ll share two super-tricks to get that NASTAY stink out of the worst stuff.

Ok, so first we have to talk about fabrics. Most workout gear is made of “sweat wicking” “dri-fit” materials, what that actually does is to get the sweat and bacteria off your body into the material. However, most of it doesn’t penetrate the material, hence the stink. It’s basically bacteria and skin cells trapped on the fabric. This leads us to point number 1;

  • Always turn workout clothes inside out before washing.

Think about it, it makes sense…if the purpose of the garment is to take the sweat off your skin, but a lot of the time the sweat doesn’t penetrate the garment, then turning it inside out will assure that the detergent is able to actually kill bacteria and dissolve oils from your skin.

  • Air Dry

Think about this, where do you put your clothes. In a plastic bag in your car until after work? Throw it straight into the hamper? Bunched up, wet, sweaty clothes make them stink more. Athletic wear keeps better if you let it air dry post workout, hang it over the hamper. Or better yet, throw straight into the wash.

  • Throw them in the freezer first

I know, I know…sounds gross. But I swear, put them in a plastic bag in the freezer. You see, the cold kills the bacteria and the bacteria is what causes the smell.

  • SKIP the dryer

Always hang dry your clothes. Always. If the detergent wasn’t able to get the bacteria and oils off, do you want to permanently cook it onto the material? I think not. Always hang dry your workout clothes.

  • Don’t overstuff.

Too many clothes = more stink. Don’t compensate with more detergent to account for the big load, that will only make it worse. Detergent residue on athletic wear? Hello hot mess. You do not want to be THAT person in hot yoga class. Less is more, my friend, less is more.

So, you’ve tried these things..but they simply don’t cut it? There’s a garment or two that wont release that icky smell, and you’re getting pretty desperate because it’s your favorite pair of leggings…right?

As promised, we we’re going to give you not one, but two oomph solutions that will hopefully give you another 50 uses out of those leggings. Because we like convenience, the easiest one is first…


A cup of baking soda with your detergent or inside the machine, and that stink should dissolve. After all, baking soda is a deodorizer. (In Norway it’s sold under natron, or go to Meny, they carry the arm and hammer brand)


Though a little more time consuming, this is my preferred method. Vinegar kills mold, so imagine how effective it is on bacteria that is on your clothes. You can soak your clothes for 20-30 minutes before putting them in the washer. Or do like I do, do a cold rinse cycle on your washer. Emphasis on the cold. Then run the load with your normal detergent.

I hope this helps you in any way..and remember, always avoid fabric softener with your athletic wear … while you might think it makes things smell fresh it actually creates a layer on your clothes that traps bacteria and odors in the garment. I’d love it if you shared this with a stinky friend…no I’m joking, share it with your workout buddy. Anyone who works out a lot has felt this struggle and natural, easy ways to fix things are always welcome in my book.

Happy, stink free, hot yoga days to you,