If you’re anything like me, you probably spend more money on activewear than you do on groceries or other necessities. Activewear is put through a lot more stress compared to other pieces of apparel in our wardrobe.
Eventually, we will have to recycle or toss damaged clothing out and replace it. This may not be always friendly on your wallet, but new clothing can be a cause for keeping you motivated to workout.
Instead of spending money on new clothes, you can apply these tips to prolong the life of your activewear. This will help you save money and prevent unnecessary waste.
How to Wash Activewear to Make It Last Longer
#1 Wash Workout Clothes Separately from Regular Clothes
If you wash your clothing altogether, it’s time to change your washing habits. It’s tempting to throw everything together in the washer and get it all done in one go, but in doing so, you are adding unnecessary wear and tear on your workout gear.
There are benefits to washing your activewear separately such as increasing longevity of your activewear by preventing pilling, torn seams, color transfers and shrinkage.
If you want to take it up a notch, separate your darks from your light colored workout clothing. I personally wash it altogether and have not experienced any issues.
I always recommend washing your activewear on delicate cycle with cold water.
#2 Turn Activewear Inside Out
Activewear is naturally made to be durable, but not all brands are created equal. Depending on the fabric and manufacturing process, wear and tear can affect your activewear at different times and for different reasons. I’ve experienced faded leggings, colors bleeding, bleaching and torn seams. No one likes a faded t-shirt or bright pink leggings that have lost their luster.
Next time you throw your workout clothes into the wash, turn them inside out. Doing so will help prevent the surface of colored items from fading since you’re eliminating direct contact with cleaning detergent and water. Dirt and oils also come into contact first with the inside of your activewear, so it’s natural to get that surface directly in contact with detergent and water.
#3 Use a Mesh Laundry Bag to Wash Delicates
If you have strappy sport bras or leggings, ALWAYS wash them in a mesh laundry bag. Laundry bags prevent the straps from getting tangled with other items in the load. I learned this the hard way.
One of my bras tangled so badly that the straps stretched and caused the top to become too loose on me. RIP ALO Yoga Movement top. I prefer this awesome set of mesh laundry bags that comes in various sizes for different products.
#4 Invest in the Right Detergent
Activewear is made of spandex and elastic fibers that needs some additional care. Some details I consider when choosing detergent for my workout clothes are price, build up and is it made for sport clothing. Here are some tips for choosing the best sport detergent:
- Avoid fabric softener! Fabric softeners coat the fabric fibers and prevent them from absorbing water and getting a proper wash.
- Invest in detergent that is made specifically for workout clothes. Brands that I recommend include: Tide Sport Pods, Sport Suds, and HEX Detergent.
#5 Hang Dry Your Activewear
As a rule of thumb, always hang dry your activewear! I hang to dry on a foldable drying rack such as this one. It usually takes an entire day for my activewear to dry. Thinner fabrics will dry quicker. I also tend to avoid putting my clothing in direct sunlight because it can fade fabrics and the heat can damage the elastic fibers.
#6 Put Your Activewear Away Properly
I am guilty of shoving my activewear into drawers. Shoving activewear wherever it fits causes additional wear and tear to your garb and not to mention all the wrinkles. Set up a method to your madness that will help you find the activewear you need.
This will allow you to consciously plan out your workout outfits. Below are some tips on how you can organize your clothing:
- Organize your drawer by type of activewear then by color and patterns. I have all leggings drawers that are organized by prints first, then solids.
- Buy hanging organizers that you can add to your closet to keep your clothing visible for outfit planning.
- Keep only clothing that you KNOW you will wear. It’s easy to think that you will wear a particular piece of clothing one day. Ditch that mindset and only keep clothing that you will 100% wear until it is worn out. Having less will help you organize better.
#7 Opt to Dry Clean Your Activewear
Using a dry cleaning service can extend the life of your clothing. Athletic fabrics are much more delicate than denim or other fibers. One of the greatest advantages of using a dry cleaning service is the gentle process utilized and the fact that it maintains your clothing’s quality.
How Does Dry Cleaning Work: Dry cleaning utilizes a soft wash process with a solvent other than water. Because it is washed in a drum with very little clothing, the mild rotation of the drum washes the garment delicately. It also eliminates labor intensive hand washing.
Other benefits of dry cleaning include deep removal of the toughest odors and stains. If you can’t afford dry cleaning, opt to do it monthly so that it still keeps your activewear nice and clean.
I would recommend only dry cleaning your most valuable pieces that are rare and should be kept well-maintained.
And if all else fails, just remember two things:
Machine Wash Cold AND Hang Dry
Stop spending a chunk of your paycheck on workout clothes. Instead, make your favorite fitness items last longer and look great by using the right detergent, washing on delicate, hanging dry and giving it an occasional dry clean treatment.