The Dos And Don'ts Of Washing Your Workout Gear

​From how many times to wash your leggings to removing smells for good, we explore the five ways to wash your activewear like an Olympian

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'Whack it all in the machine'.

That's what our mums used to say about our sportswear after we'd finished a game of netball/hockey at school or just come back from a Duke of Edinburgh trek and had transformed into part human, part mud-ball by day two.

But apparently, we've been washing our gym clothes badly the whole time.

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According to Yoon Chung, chief merchant of active fashion brand Carbon38, there are some crucial Dos and Don'ts when it comes to washing your workout gear.

And seeing as we spend most of our evenings washing our kits after #ELLEFIT and the athleisure trend is now a mainstay in the fashion industry (thanks Gigi and Kendall), we're all ears.

Pens at the ready.

1. Wash your leggings after every wear

We can count the amount of times we've washed our jeans in the past week on one finger but Chung says the same laissez faire attitude to denim doesn't apply to leggings. 

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'I recommend washing after each workout as the odor-causing bacteria can clog pores, cause skin breakouts and yeast infections,' Chung told E!.

2. Washing instructions are there for a reason

If you've ever tumbled dried a wooly jumper or machine washed a silk bomber jacket by accident you'll rue the day you didn't read the washing label properly. 

According to Chung, each sportswear item is made of entirely different fabrics which require different washing care. 

The tip to washing activewear is to keep the water cold and don't even think about putting them in the dryer. 'Hot water can break down textiles and can lead to shrinkage,' warned Chung. 

Don't forget to follow @JoJa to see how @jastookes and I stay fit! #jojalife

A photo posted by Josephine Skriver (@josephineskriver) on

3. Forget fabric softeners

'But they smell so great', we hear you cry. 

Well, apparently softeners, brighteners and fragrances are a 'hell no' in Chung's book as you're more prone to get a white residue on your leggings because the chemicals get stuck between the fabric fires. In turn, this limits their ability to get sweat and smells out of the clothes. 

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Rely on good old-fashioned detergent. 

4. Separate colors 

Neon pink, electric blue, deep purple – exercise wear comes in a rainbow of eclectic colours, brightening up the park as you whizz by on your run. But when it comes to washing, separate them by colour. All of them.

'Whites and bright colors can be washed together, but separately from the dark colors,' said Chung. Okay, so separating clothes in a color wash isn't exactly new but it's even more important when it comes to gym gear.

Also, anything with a zipper (leggings and sports bras) should be popped into a lingerie bag, if possible. 

Chung says: 'Zippers can rub against performance fabrics during the wash cycle and cause fraying and pilling.'

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This explains many a pulled jumper.

5. White vinegar removes smells

If you've ever gone to put on a freshly-washed running top only to realise it still smells, don't worry, it's not you. Well, it might be you, but sometimes clothes just annoyingly retain smells. 

The solution? 

Soak your sportswear in cold water and half a cup of white vinegar for 15 to 30 minutes before popping them in the washing machine.

Odour, be gone!

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