My number one gear care tip to remove the funk from your clothes is to add white vinegar to every load.
One of the most common problems, when people work out, is the funk is everlasting. Even after washing and washing your clothes. Let’s be real, sweating is stinky business. After a while, you will get immune to the mild post run or workout funk. Even more so when you hang out with runner/fitness friends after you are done. White vinegar will be your best friend!
I’m an ‘if I change my shirt then its ok to go out to a restaurant right after…before a shower’ type of runner. All my friends seem to agree with this approach, but we tend to hang around each other. When I start to smell myself, I call uncle and hit the showers. After a shower, I’m all fresh but early on I found that after I washed my workout gear, it would have a lingering odor.
Vinegar works to neutralize the odor and killed the bacteria left on the gear.
I have not found that it degrades the sweat-wicking properties or the fabric. It seems that my gear is lasting for the normal lifespan rather than hitting the trash heap because I couldn’t stand the smell. (Please note that I did not conduct any kind of scientific study about killing bacteria or the lifespan. Not a scientist just based on my own experience.)
I went to the interweb to see if I could solve the problem. Most of the solutions involved washing in a separate ‘sports’ detergent. While I’m sure the sports-related detergents probably work well, I couldn’t use them. Either they have dyes or fragrances. My skin doesn’t appreciate additives. I wash with free and clear versions of detergent. Nope, I didn’t want to make my own. So, I continued to hunt.
Well then it occurred to me if white vinegar simmering on the stove could remove the everlasting funk of fried fish or seafood gumbo from the house, I bet it could work on laundry. I started adding vinegar to my loads of running laundry. I’ll admit that I was concerned about my clothes smelling like vinegar especially since my detergents don’t have a scent. It worked!!! The sweat funk was gone! I no longer smelled like I had done a 20-mile run right after getting dressed.
I now add white vinegar to every load of laundry.
- Will my clothes smell like vinegar? Nope! You won’t smell like salad dressing or clean windows (Yes you can use white vinegar and newspaper to clean your windows. Learned that one from my Grandma.)
- How much should I put in a load? I just pour it but recently I measured out my count pour. For my large load, I used 1 cup. For a small to medium load ¼ – ½ cup works.
- Where should I put the vinegar in my machine? Not knowing what type of machine, you have, I can tell you that I put it in my bleach slot. As a matter of fact, I have never put bleach in my machine. I would think, if you use bleach, you may want to run a quick cycle with vinegar and no clothes or whites to rinse the slot out. Otherwise, on machines without a bleach slot (or really where I couldn’t find it) I just put it in on the clothes.
- Can I use apple cider vinegar? I’ve never done it. Not sure I would actually do it even in a pinch.
- Is it expensive? Nope. A gallon jug is less than 4 bucks. Sometimes it goes on sale and so stock up. You can even get it delivered from Amazon too.
White Vinegar is my go to when people ask for a gear maintenance tip.
Give it a try. Take those funky running clothes and give them a wash with vinegar along with your regular detergent. It is a powerhouse in keeping you from smelling like you’ve been running for hours before you even walk out the door.
Once you try it, let me know how it works. If you have found another method. Please leave a comment and let me know!
Telling it one load at a time,
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