Make Your Athletic Wear Last Longer

How to Make Your Athletic Wear Last Longer

Your athletic wear takes a beating. It’s subjected to a lot of wear and tear, but it tends to not get much TLC when it isn’t being worn. After all, they’re just gym clothes, right? They aren’t as important as your work wardrobe or your favorite outfits for going out, and besides, they’re made to be tough. Yes and no. Athletic wear is specially designed to perform really well when you’re wearing it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s durable. The fabrics used to manufacturer your workout gear may actually be a lot more fragile than those used in other articles of clothing. These high-tech fibers are made to do things like wick moisture away from your body, repel the sun and stretch to accommodate your every move. That doesn’t mean, though, that they’re built to withstand any type of abuse you throw their way. If you aren’t properly caring for your workout clothes, you could be drastically reducing their lifespan. And since high-quality athletic gear isn’t exactly cheap, you probably don’t want to find yourself needing new outfits prematurely. Here are a few things you can do to make your athletic wear last longer.

Never Leave Your Clothes in Your Gym Bag

We’ve all done it. After a long, exhausting workout, it’s easy to come home, throw your gym bag on the floor, and forget that your clothes are on it. When left sitting in the bottom of your bag, your workout clothes can get pretty nasty. All your sweat and dead skin cells combine and produce a lot of bacteria, and before long, your bag will start emitting a smell like no other. If you really forget about it for a long time, it may become pretty much impossible to get rid of the smell, forcing you to replace your gear with something that doesn’t have an offensive odor. You might even need to replace the bag, too. Leaving your sweaty gear crumpled in the bottom of your bag is an invitation for bacteria, mold, and mildew. Yuck! Empty your gym bag as soon as you get home to keep them – and the odors they create – at bay. If possible, throw your gear into the washer immediately. If you are unable to do so, hang it over the edge of your hamper to allow it to air out a bit. You should never toss your dirty workout clothes in the hamper with your other clothes as the bacteria from athletic wear can transfer and grow, potentially damaging even more of your wardrobe.

Skip the Harsh Detergent

After a long, hard workout, your gear is probably soaked in sweat and probably doesn’t smell all that great. Using lots of detergent and plenty of fabric softener probably seems like the best way to eliminate those nasty odors and sweat stains, but doing so could actually damage your favorite athletic wear. Make Your Athletic Wear Last Longer Avoid the temptation to add extra detergent, and skip the fabric softener altogether. The softening agents used in fabric softener create a film that sticks to synthetic fabrics, like Spandex and polyester, and can actually make them harder to clean. The film also prevents the fabric from wicking moisture away from your skin. Wash your athletic gear in a small amount of gentle detergent to keep it clean without causing damage.

Don’t Ignore Unpleasant Odors

If your athletic wear is especially stinky after an intense workout, solely using in your regular detergent may not be enough. Before you reach for more soap, try soaking your gear in a mixture of vinegar and water. If you’re in a hurry, you can also put vinegar directly into your washing machine. Baking soda and lemon juice also work to neutralize disgusting odors without damaging your clothing.

Turn It Inside Out and Wash It Separately

Your athletic wear should never go for a spin in your washing machine alongside your jeans and other clothing. You should actually treat your workout clothing as delicates due to the sensitive nature of certain fabrics. Rubbing against other clothing can cause soft fabrics to break down, and buttons and zippers can create holes and snags. When you’re ready to throw a load of sportswear in the washer, make sure everything is turned inside out. Since it’s up against your body, the inside of your clothing is the part that gets dirtiest. Turning garments inside out will help to ensure a better clean. Washing inside out also helps protect high-tech fabrics like moisture-wicking shirts from damage since many properties, like UV protection, are applied to the outside of the garment.

Don’t Use Your Dryer

The heat from your dryer can cause stretchy materials to warp or shrink. It can also bake off fabric treatments. Ideally, it’s best to avoid using your dryer altogether, but if you must use it, make sure it’s on the lowest possible setting to prevent damage. Also, since athletic wear is designed to dry quickly, check it frequently to avoid over-drying.

Store Your Workout Clothes in Drawers

Most exercise clothing is made from stretchy fabrics and materials that are made with loose fibers. As a result, they are prone to stretching. Hanging your favorite athletic shirt on a hanger is a good way to end up with hanger marks, so it’s best to fold them and put them neatly in your dresser. Leggings should never be hung, either. The force of gravity can stretch them out, and there’s nothing worse than dealing with bottoms that are bunching around your ankles when you’re trying to get in a good workout. Make Your Athletic Wear Last Longer

Treat Your Athletic Wear Like the Unique Clothing It Is

Chances are, your athletic wear is some of the most unique clothing in your entire wardrobe. Made from high-tech materials designed to keep you dry, prevent bacteria growth, and even protect you from harmful UV rays, workout gear may seem tough, but it can actually be damaged by something as simple as hanging it in your closet or washing it incorrectly. By following the tips above, you can keep your favorite gear looking (and smelling!) like new for as long as possible. Finally, if you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out Olivia Parker’s other amazing contributions to this site, including:

Olivia Parker

Olivia ParkerOlivia Parker is a full-time, stay-at-home mother of 2 daughters and a son, plus their beagle named Duke! She loves blogging, yoga, and spending time with her family. She is also a crafting extraordinaire and frequent contributor to The Bead Traders Blog.

Jed Jurchenko

Jed Jurchenko is the husband to an incredible wife, daddy to four amazing girls, and a foster dad to one more. He's served as a children's pastor, marriage and family therapist, psychology professor, award-winning writing coach, and life coach. Jed is the author of 23 books on relationships, parenting, writing, and doing life well. In his free time, you'll find Jed reading, preparing for an upcoming marathon, barbecuing, paddle boarding, and enjoying life with his incredible family. Find out more about Jed's books, coaching, and courses at

1 thought on “How to Make Your Athletic Wear Last Longer”

  1. Olivia, this is fantastic information. We have active kids who wear out their athletic clothes like nothing else. This post is perfect!
    Sporty families on a budget, like us, are sure to find this helpful—I know we did!

    Thank you for guestposting again 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.