Today, boys and girls, I am going to teach you the fine art of removing the stank from your work out clothes.
I finished up a run the other day and noticed that I was smelling a lot like Pepe Le Pew. What gives?! The sports bra I was wearing smelled horrendous. This is not acceptable for many reasons. One of those being I just plopped down 50 smackaroos for this over the shoulder boulder holder and it smelled like a rotting corpse after wearing it for maybe a dozen runs. Time to figure out a way to get rid of the stench.
First, I soaked the bra and all of my other smelly running gear in water with my usual homemade laundry detergent. Stinksville.
Next, I washed the clothes with a name brand detergent with smell good stuff in it. Still stanky.
Cripes. I decided to check out "sports detergents" and see what they had to offer. What they offer is high priced detergent with fragrances. Ew. While I certainly am not enjoying the current scent of my gear, I don't think I could handle smelling like daisies added to the rotting body aroma either. The next logical step was to hit the interwebs for a solution and hopefully, a low cost one at that.
I was very happy to learn in my research that I am not alone in my nastiness. There are lots of other people sweating like maniacs stinking up their clothes too. Wicking material is excellent at keeping the sweat away from your body. It is also very good at retaining the icky molecules. The problem of stench arises when you allow the clothes to sit without rinsing them out. Insert, face palm. In the two years I've been running, you think I'd have figured this out. Big DUH. Here are just a few of the resolutions I dug up:
1. Soak clothes in lemon juice.
2. Soak clothes in baking soda water.
3. Soak clothes in vinegar and water.
4. Use super expensive "sports detergent."
5. Soak in antimicrobial soap water.
6. Rinse clothes out immediately after a run.
7. Wash/soak clothes in warm water.
I grabbed up all of the offensive clothing and began my experiments. I started with soaking the clothing in a warm water and baking soda mixture. I let it set for about 30 minutes before I checked on it. They acrid odor was still there. I decided to add in some more baking soda and some dish detergent. I let this combination sit for another 30 minutes. This seemed to do the trick, so I hauled the items to the washing machine. I washed them in cold water and added some vinegar to the rinse cycle. Needless to say, I was not thrilled with the results. The clothes still reek, but definitely not as putrid as before. Not satisfied with the initial results, I pressed onward.
I threw the clothes back into a fresh mixture of warm water, baking soda and dish detergent. I poured in some vinegar also. I ransacked the house looking for antimicrobial soap, but we have none since it tends to be very drying, I don't purchase it. Crap on a cracker. No worries. We do have hand sanitizer. I'll just go ahead and throw some of that in for good measure too. (Please note: hand sanitizer was not in any of the suggestions I found. I was desperate and don't really recommend using it as I have no clue what it does to the properties of the wicking fabric.) I let the garments stew for a couple of hours. They passed the initial sniff test. Crossing my fingers, I tossed them back into the washing machine. I was very relieved when my pungent apparel smelled like NOTHING!!! No rotting corpse. No Pepe Le Pew. Happy dance!!
The important lesson learned from this? After a work out, rinse your clothes out asap. Shoot, take a shower in them. Yes. There are people who do this. Since I've found a way to get rid of the stink, I'm able to wear my favorite race shirt again!! It's the one from my first Hospital Hill race two years ago, in case you were wondering. :)