Before you groan, know that you don't have to spend a lot of time caring for your favorite items to make them last longer—a few simple habits and swaps to your cleaning and storage routine can go a long way in keeping your favorite gear in great shape.
1. Use the Right Detergent
When it comes to
Most of this clothing is made of synthetic fabrics, which is "essentially plastics," he says. The traditional detergent surfactants and enzyme blends were designed to be resistant to hard water and make cleaning easier. Our clothing and the materials used have evolved, though, and our cleaning methods should, too.
As you're looking for better laundry detergent, there's not one "right" option everyone should purchase. Instead, as you're weighing your options, consider one simple tip: "In most cases, high-tech fabrics are used to create
2. Get the Stink Out of Your Gym Bag and Yoga Mat
There are a few reasons why you might toss your gym bag: it's ripped, it's not big enough or—the worst offender of them all—you can't get the smell out. To handle the latter, Jean Reed, creator of the blog From Fork to Fitness suggests creating a "simple, chemical-free gym bag deodorizer." If you're new to DIY cleaners, follow Reed's directions:
Grab a two-ounce glass spray bottle and combine:
- 20 drops of lavender essential oil
- 20 drops of lemon essential oil
- 20 drops of rosemary essential oil
- Alcohol-free witch hazel. "Witch hazel is a natural astringent known for its antimicrobial properties, which makes it an ideal option for gym gear sanitizing," explains Reed.
3. Get Out of Your Sweaty Clothes Quickly
Here's a fun fact: Our clothes are hotbeds for bacteria. As you might guess, this is especially true for
Hitting the showers or laundry room immediately after exercise allows your hard-earned sweat less time to wreak havoc on the fabric. If you can't wash them right after wearing, hang your clothes up to air dry before they get crumpled up in your laundry basket to prevent the germs from having more time to develop. Plus, by removing your sweat-soaked clothes in a prompt manner, you'll also be protecting yourself from a whole mess of potential health issues including skin rashes, athlete's foot or even staph.
4. Flip It and Reverse It
Perhaps the most common piece of advice those in the know share about eliminating stink from workout clothes is this: Wash your clothes inside out. The tip is one that seems so obvious when you really think of it, yet most people forget to take this crucial step. According to an article in The New York Times, sweat and dead skin
Take Storage Seriously
It's easy to toss your gear in a damp basement or garage between uses, especially seasonal items that only get used a few months out of the year. Yet, proper storage is a must if you want your gear to live a long, happy life. "The drastic swings in temperature of those locations can negatively affect the equipment, especially if kept there for extended periods of time," explains Kelly Tenny of ZippBoxx.
This is especially important for specific items in your gear collection.
Skiers should also take care to properly store their expensive toy before storing them away for the summer months.
6. Respect Your Gear
The cardinal rule here is to treat your workout gear the way you treat any other expensive item you own: with respect.
"Respecting the gear covers a lot of areas, from not walking on the [yoga] mat with dirty shoes to not
This goes for all your workout gear, from your weightlifting gloves to the dumbbells you have stacked in your closet. "The discipline you show by stacking the weights, putting the balls away, oiling what needs to be oiled and keeping additional moisture away gives you an additional responsibility that translates into
Take stock of all your gear and how it's being stored. Can you create better organization in your closet? Can you find a corner in your spare room to stack the items in an organized and gentle fashion? Even laid neatly under the bed is better than tossing everything into a crate in your garage. These small adjustments can add up to big money being saved in the long run.