There’s a better way to wash your gym kit

Use these easy care tips to get the most out of your sporty favourites…

Just like your favourite silk shirt requires special attention at the cleaners, your go-to workout gear also needs a little extra TLC. If it’s been a year (or three) since you purged your gym kit, it’s time to take stock. Worn-out bras and threadbare shoes just aren’t able to do their job – that is, keep you supported and safe. And just like make-up, these smart buys have a life span that should be seriously considered when you next hit the gym.

Use these easy care tips to help your sporty favourites last…

Sports Bras
Life Span: Six to 12 months
Washing 101: Don’t use chlorine-based products or toss bras into the dryer. Doing so makes the fabric less stretchy and strong and thus your athletic supporters will quickly lose their holding power.

Tanks
Life Span: Six months
Washing 101: High heat will eventually weaken elasticity and destroy fabric so make sure to wash on delicate. You’ll also want to avoid fabric softeners, which can trap sweat rather than washing it away.  

Leggings
Life Span: Six months or longer, depending on how often you work out
Washing 101: Go ahead and throw them in the wash but always hang to dry. The dryer can fluff up the fabric and also speeds up shrinkage.

Trainers
Life Span: For runners, 300 – 400 miles: six months for cross-trainers
Washing 101: Think twice before treating your £100 running shoes like your weekend sneakers and tossing them into the wash. All that spinning can break down important parts of the shoe – like the midsole cushioning – that help you run safely and comfortably. Instead, remove mud or dirt with an old toothbrush and regular detergent. If your trainers are mesh or knit, they’re safe to machine-wash but not machine-dry; stuff them with newspaper to help them keep their shape while they air-dry.

Waterproof Jackets
Life Span: Two years
Washing 101: You’d think hanging it up to dry would be the way to go. But check the label to be sure – in some cases, the water-resistant finish is reactivated by dryer heat, allowing the jacket to repel water better than if it had air-dried. If it’s filled with down, put a couple of tennis balls in the dryer with it to evenly distribute the down.

Workout Socks
Life Span: Two to three years
Washing 101: A cup of white vinegar added in with the detergent will lift stubborn stains. Who knew?

Gym Bag
Washing 101: If it’s machine washable and starts to smell, toss it in for a quick clean. If not, give it a soapy sponge bath using a teaspoon of detergent once a week, then air-dry. Between washes, keep bacteria at bay by wiping off the exterior and interior with disinfectant wipes and removing sweaty clothes as soon as you can.

Fitness Tracker
Washing 101: Are you so obsessed with tracking every single step that you never take your gadget off – not even after the most sweat-drenching routine? Neglecting to scrub down your tracker turns it into an ideal environment for bacteria. Wipe off the band between workouts with isopropyl alcohol.

Yoga Mat
Washing 101: Despite what Internet yogis say, don’t put yours in the machine. You’ll ruin the material. Instead, surface-clean with an all-natural 50/50 solution of water and organic apple cider vinegar to slow the rubber’s breakdown and keep the mat grippy.

Headphones
Washing 101: Raise your hand if you use earbuds. Now raise your hand if you’ve ever cleaned them. Exactly. Dirty buds can cause lacklustre sound. Remove any gunk stuck in the holes with a toothpick, then wipe them with a tissue or cloth dampened with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.

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