woman with activewear on bike

A Guide For Washing All of Your High-Performance Activewear

Washing your activewear the right way means they last longer. It's not recommended by just tossing them in with all my other clothes and wash it. Most workout garments need gentle handling, especially in washing machines. This is because the fabrics are designed to wick sweat away, stretch, and support.

In this guide we'll show you the ins and outs of how to wash your activewear and take care of it.

What Material Is your Activewear made from?

Most workout gear is made from synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, or a blended synthetic. These materials are chosen for their ability to wick moisture and offer flexibility. But, they require a bit different care than your normal t-shirts.

Each material has its own needs when it comes to washing and drying. For example, synthetic materials can hold onto odours more than natural fibers, so they may need a more thorough cleaning. Also, while some activewear fabrics can handle a gentle cycle in washing machines, others might need hand washing to avoid damage and or degrade performance.

Understanding the fabric type helps in making informed decisions about washing and drying, ensuring your workout gear remains in the best condition possible. This knowledge saves time, energy, and money in the long run by avoiding common mistakes that can ruin your activewear.

We also recommend shopping at Noosa Active for your activewear!

How Often to Wash Your Activewear

runner in activewear

How often to wash your activewear can be a bit of a puzzle. Wearing the same gym clothes for multiple workouts might seem okay, but it can turn your gym bag into a breeding ground for bacteria and isn't great for your skin. This is especially true for workout gear that's soaked in sweat.

Cotton t-shirts can absorb a lot of moisture and take a while to dry, making them less ideal for repeated wear without washing. On the other hand, synthetic materials dry faster but can still harbor odours and bacteria. So, it's a good idea to turn inside out and air-dry completely before wearing them again.

Some would wash their activewear after every use or some can stretch it to one or two uses. It kind if depends how intense the workout was. This keeps them fresh and helps prevent the buildup of odours and bacteria. It's a simple step that makes a big difference in maintaining the quality and lifespan of your workout wardrobe.

Wash it on the same day or Let it Breathe

Deciding whether to wash activewear right after a workout or let it breathe comes down to a couple of factors. Odours and bacteria are the main concerns. If you've had a particularly intense session and the clothes are soaked, washing them as soon as possible helps prevent the growth of bacteria and the buildup of smells.

Make sure they're completely dry before tossing them into the laundry basket to avoid creating a damp environment where bacteria can thrive.

Pre-Washing Tips

  • Avoid direct sunlight: When prepping sport clothes for washing, keep your activewear out of direct sunlight. Sun can fade the colors and weaken the fabric over time.
  • Proper care: Always check the care labels before washing. Some garments might require special attention or need to be washed separately.
  • Sorting garments in the washing machine: Separate sportswear from rougher fabrics like denim, which can damage delicate fibers due to friction. Also, turn garments inside out to protect the outer surface and keep them good as new.
  • Washing in cold: Always opt for cold water. It's gentler on the fabric and helps preserve the integrity of the fibers, ensuring they maintain their elasticity and color. heat can degrade fabric and alter the performance.
  • Using a cup of baking soda: For a deep clean, add a cup of baking soda to the wash. It helps eliminate odours without harming the fabric. 
  • Avoiding clothes in the dryer: High heat from the dryer can damage the elasticity and fit of your sport clothes. Always air dry when possible, using a clothes horse in the shade is a great idea.
  • Considering laundry stripping: This deep-cleaning method can be beneficial for removing built-up residues from detergents and softeners. However, it's best used sparingly on activewear to avoid potential damage.
  • Opting for air drying: This is the best way to dry activewear. Lay the garments flat in a well-ventilated area or hang them up to dry. This method helps retain the shape and functionality of the fabric and also prevents fade lines if dried in the shade.

Add the Correct Detergent

Choosing the right detergent for your laundry is essential for keeping activewear in top condition. Lucent Globe Detergent Sheets are an excellent choice for this. These sheets are specifically designed to clean effectively in cold water without hard chemicals, which is perfect for activewear. Plus, they're gentle on fabrics, ensuring that the materials maintain their elasticity and moisture-wicking properties. Harsh chemicals, brighteners can cause holes, colour bleeding, shrinkage an changes to fabric, taking extra care in finding the right detergents is an effective way to prevent issues.

Another great thing about these detergent sheets is that they're environmentally friendly. They come in a biodegradable package and don't contain harsh chemicals that can damage your clothes or the planet. So, not only do you get clean and fresh-smelling workout clothes, but you also contribute to a healthier environment.

Wash in Cold Water

Always stick to cold water when washing your sportswear. This is because hot water can make the colors fade and damage the fabric. Cold wash is much gentler on the material and keeps the colors crisp. Plus, it saves energy. So, it's good for my clothes and the planet.

Hot water can shrink or warp some fabrics. We've all learned that the hard way. So, I always check the care label first. This keeps my gear in top shape.

Avoid Fabric Softener

Fabric softeners is not good for your sports clothing. It can coat the fibers. This stops moisture from wicking away during workouts. So, I skip it now. But for your other washes, use our Fabric Softeners.

Set the Washing Machine Cycle

Use the gentle cycle from your washing machine. It's less harsh on the fabrics. This way, my clothes don't get stretched out or damaged.

It took me a while to realize not all clothes need intense washing. Gentle cycles clean my activewear just fine. Plus, it helps them last longer. So, I stick with gentle cycles now.

Air-Dry, When Possible

air dry

I can't repeat this enough, but air-dry your workout gear. Use a drying rack and avoid the dryer even if you're in a hurry. The lowest heat setting on the dryer can still be too much. It risks damaging the fabric.

Drying my leggings this way takes a bit longer, yes. But it's worth it. They stay in good shape and perform well for my workouts. Plus, air drying saves energy. So, it's a win-win.

Don't Iron

Never iron your activewear. High heat can ruin the stretchiness and cause damage to fibres, especially those with elastane. So, I just hang them up right after washing. 

If there are wrinkles, they usually work themselves out once I wear the clothes. Keeping my gear away from the iron keeps them in great shape for my next workout.

Storage Tips

I make sure my activewear is completely dry before I put it away. This helps avoid any musty smells. I fold them neatly or hang them up. This keeps them from getting wrinkled.

Also, I don't cram them into my closet. They need a bit of space to breathe. Plus, it makes it easier for me to find what I need.

How to remove pilling from Your Active Wear

Pilling can make my activewear look old and worn out. But, I found a way to deal with it. I use a fabric shaver gently over the pilled areas. This makes my clothes look almost new again, warning thouhg, be very careful with this method!

It's important to be gentle to avoid damaging the fabric. Sometimes, I use a lint roller for smaller areas. This helps keep my gear looking good for longer.

Treating Stains on Your Activewear

When I notice a stain on my activewear, I act fast. Quick stain removal is key. I dab the spot with cold water and a bit of detergent sheet. This usually does the trick.

After treating stains, I wash the clothes as normal. This gets rid of any residue from the stain remover. Keeping my activewear stain-free helps them look better and last longer. It's a simple step that makes a big difference.

Recycle your Activewear

When it’s time to say goodbye to old gym clothes, I think about recycling. I find places that take them. This way, they don’t end up in landfills. Some materials in activewear can be reused. This helps the planet.

TIP: Some brands make their clothes from recycled materials. It feels good to support them. They use less water and energy to make new clothes from old ones, so it is better for the earth.


Can I wash activewear with regular clothing?

Yes, I can wash activewear with other clothes. But, I use a gentle cycle and cold water and avoid washing with rough materials like denim or clothing with a zip. This protects the workout clothing but you can also use a mesh laundry bag, It keeps everything safe.

I add a bit of distilled vinegar to the wash. This helps get rid of odours.

After washing, I don’t use the tumble dryer. I hang my clothes to dry as this stops them from losing shape.

Can I use bleach on my white sportswear?

No, avoid bleach, brightners and whiteners for white sportswear. It can be too harsh. It might damage the fabric. Instead, I use a mixture of baking soda and water. It freshens and helps keep my clothes looking bright.

I also make sure to read the care instructions. They tell me how to keep my clothes looking their best. Sometimes, a little bit of lemon juice and sunlight can work wonders for white items.

It’s important to care for your activewear the right way. This keeps them looking good. Plus, it helps me enjoy my active lifestyle without worrying about my clothes.

Why does my activewear still smell after washing?

Sometimes, my activewear smells even after washing. This is because of odour-causing bacteria. They can stick to the fabric. I’ve learned that using cold water might not kill all the bacteria.

To fix this, add a bit of vinegar to the rinse cycle. It helps get rid of smells. Also, I make sure to let my clothes dry completely. Moisture can make the smell worse.

If the smell stays, I soak my clothes in a mixture of vinegar and water before washing. This usually does the trick. It’s a simple way to keep my gym clothes fresh.

Why is my activewear pilling?

Pilling happens when small fibers break and roll up into balls. It often occurs on gym clothes. This is because of friction during a workout or the tumble dryer. It is quite normal but to avoid this pilling more that usual, I wash my activewear inside a mesh laundry bag. It helps protect the outer layer.

If pilling happens, I use a fabric shaver. It gently removes the pills. This keeps your workout looking new!