If you are a gym-junkie like me, then you also have tons of sweaty gym gear to wash several times a week. My fiancé is also a gym-junkie so it's a twofer situation in this household.
The one annoying thing about gym gear is that it has to be washed in cold water due to the special dri-fit material and the elastic in the fabric. Detergent is most effective when used with hot water and conventional wisdom tells us that hot water is necessary in order to effectively kill odor-causing bacteria. But if you use hot water on your gym gear, you will end up ruining it very quickly.. It's a catch 22, it would seem.
Well I happened to mention this predicament to my mom over Skype a few years back and, like every good housekeeper, my mom said she had just the thing to rid me of my problem.
My mom told me to try adding (depending on how stinky the clothes are) 1/2 to a whole cup of white vinegar to my wash in the rinse cycle along with 1/2 a capful of my usual fabric softener.
At first I was skeptical, but I tried it anyway since I happened to have white vinegar handy. As always, my mom was right. Of course.
The clothes wasn't just clean, it was also soft and fresh-smelling. And NO your clothes does NOT smell at all like vinegar. So without even speculating much about it (because it just works), I've been washing all of my clothes, towels and sheets with 1/2 cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle, and loving it.
But the other day I saw online and in the fitness magazine, ads for some fancy odor-removing products targeting gym-junkies like myself. They might be really good products, to be honest I haven't tried them, but I thought they were quite pricey and plus I tend to react to certain detergents. So I thought that perhaps I should share this tip with you guys so you can try it yourselves before investing in those products.
Vinegar's cleaning properties
We all know vinegar is great for salads and marinades, but did you know that vinegar has wonderful antimicrobial properties that make it great for:
Disinfecting surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom
Removing stains from carpets
Removing odors from fabrics, rooms and even people or animals!
Read more on how to use vinegar for household cleaning here.
The good thing about using vinegar is that:
It's effective at killing bacteria
It's a natural softener
It's mildly anti-static
It's does not affect the absorbency characteristics of fabrics
It's an inexpensive alternative
It's natural and non-toxic
It's biodegradable and eco-friendly
It's also worth mentioning that you can avoid making the odors on your clothing worse by letting your sweaty clothes ventilate and dry completely before throwing it into the hamper. This will prevent the odor-causing bacteria from growing on your sweaty clothes thus making it stinky and pungent.
Also you could use just about any type of vinegar, I just prefer to use white vinegar because it's inexpensive and available in large bottles.
So basically, if you just happen to have some vinegar lying around, you run no risk by trying it out with your smelly gym gear (or just smelly clothing in general) so why not give it a try? :)
Hope it also works for you!