how do i keep my workout pants from getting so stinky?
March 15, 2007 10:25 AM   Subscribe

What can I do to keep my workout pants from getting so stinky so fast?

I train for 3 hours a day, several days a week, with a bunch of other hard-working, sweaty women. Underarm deodorant keeps my tank tops from smelling at all, but my pants -- ugh. There must be some way to avoid having to wash them constantly. More data and ideas:

--I don't have a problem with everyday pants, and I don't have any itchiness or other issues, so I think I'm normal and healthy.
--Underarm deodorant is so effective; is there any kind of "feminine" deodorant that's unscented and not messy and not bad for your body?
--Spraying the enzyme-based Nature's Miracle on my pants works pretty well on cotton pants, but does nothing at all on the synthethic ones (which are the ones that are supposed to be all fancy and wicking and great for working out).
--After a washing the pants are fine. It's not that I can't de-stinkify them, but that I'd love it if I could wear them more than once between washings. Or, at least, if I could wear the same pants for both morning and evening training on days with that kind of schedule.
posted by nevers to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (28 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have used febreeze for this, though I don't think it's adequate as an ongoing solution. My solution has been buying several pair of inexpensive yoga pants.

I think spraying deodorant, like degree or ban or whoever still makes spray-on deodorant, in your legpits (underlegs? what do we call the crevice between your legs and your actual crotch?) maybe even after your panties are one to keep it out of your hoohaa would be safe and significantly reduce funkiness. Also, maybe this is counterintuitive or wrong, but if you're wearing loose pants, tight ones might allow the moisture to wick away and evaporate more easily.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:41 AM on March 15, 2007

Keep four or five drier sheets (eg Bounce) and a big ziplock baggie in your gym bag- stuff the stinky stuff in the baggie with the drier sheets and seal- the next day they will smell as if they just came fresh out of the wash. It will do the trick for at least two maybe three work outs.
posted by bkeene12 at 10:56 AM on March 15, 2007

Are they polyester? It is notorious for getting the funk. If that is your issue I think you are either going to need to carry an extra pair for the afternoon, or find something in a different fabric.
posted by caddis at 11:14 AM on March 15, 2007

Response by poster: Yeah, the polyester ones are so awful I've almost given up wearing them. I guess it's mainly those that I can't wear twice -- cotton's not so bad. I sweat a lot so I'm not keen on the idea of sealing my clothes up in a ziplock overnight. I do have a whole lot of pairs of pants now, but it would be nice not to generate so much laundry.
posted by nevers at 11:17 AM on March 15, 2007

3 hours of sweat is a lot of stinkiness. Maybe you should just buy a couple extra pairs of pants so you don't have to do a load every single day but don't have the problem.
posted by DU at 11:18 AM on March 15, 2007

I don't think it's healthy to wear workout outfits without washing them between workouts. Any time I sweat on clothes, they go into the wash.
posted by JJ86 at 11:19 AM on March 15, 2007

You need clothes with silver in them. The link discusses a specific brand but there are others out there as I understand. I don't own any of this type of clothing but I've heard it really makes a difference.

No idea on cost or availability but it's worth looking into. But my guess is it's more cost effective to buy additional workout clothes and wash them more frequently.
posted by 6550 at 11:24 AM on March 15, 2007

Yeah, no amount of deodorizing or febreezing or whatever short of washing will help. You need to wash them after every use. It sucks, admittedly, but it helps to find someplace that has the clothing you like on sale and then stock up so you have enough to go for a week.
posted by hollisimo at 11:25 AM on March 15, 2007

Please don't use any type of deodorant - "feminine" or otherwise - on your business. Very bad for the va-jay-jay.
posted by tristeza at 11:40 AM on March 15, 2007

Buy more pants. It beats being stinky.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:07 PM on March 15, 2007

Taking a good oregano or oregano oil supplement may help.
posted by jamjam at 12:27 PM on March 15, 2007

well, it's workout wear, I guess a little sweat smell is okay.

you might just throw them into a dryer. giving them a 30-minute spin will get the funk of one day out of it enought that you could wear them once again but to be honest, I wouldn't do this more than once or twice before giving them a real wash. not only do they get stinky, they also get stiff and uncomfortable to wear if you go on longer.

get two or three pairs to rotate around, a solid box to store the used ones in (they will stink up your apartment pretty well if you don't) and you should be in a position to wash your workout wear only once per week. or twice.
posted by krautland at 12:30 PM on March 15, 2007

Wash workout clothes as fast as you can, and don't wear them for two workouts without washing them between. If you are not doing a laundry load right away, a quick hand wash and hang will help keep the item from getting too funky while waiting for the real wash, especially if it's synthetic. Don't let things sit around especially in an unventilated spot while wet with human sweat. The funk will set in and never come out, which means they start stinking as soon as you warm them up again.
posted by Manjusri at 12:55 PM on March 15, 2007

You're right that cotton is bad for wicking and polyester is good, but the latter is still very very bad for stinkiness. Especially if you're sweating for three hours.

You might try thin wool, which is expensive but o.k. at wicking and best of all, smells almost not at all. With wool you can definitely get away with not washing every use. Try icebreaker or smartwool.
posted by chinston at 1:01 PM on March 15, 2007

I've had this problem with shirts that are a poly blend. I found that soaking them in the sink with hot water and ammonia (about a cup) for an hour helps. Then wash regularly. I do this about every four washes, and it works well.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 1:03 PM on March 15, 2007

You might try Win. I haven't used it but I hear that it is supposed to be quite good at getting out odors. You say you are getting the odors out, so this may not help. However, if you are getting them out only enough that you don't smell them but once you start working out they get reactivated this might help.
posted by caddis at 1:12 PM on March 15, 2007

Man people, sweat is not dangerous, just a little stinky. Its ok not to wash your clothes to death.

Here is my no-stink routine:
Powder ass and other areas, before getting dressed. Wear cotton undies.
When done exercising, thow stink pants over the railing of your balcony to air dry.
In the morning spritz with febreeze and place now non stink pants into gym bag which contains dryer sheets.
posted by stormygrey at 1:22 PM on March 15, 2007

As someone who has exercised next to people wearing stale workout wear, PLEASE WASH BETWEEN WORKOUT SESSIONS.

Thank you.
posted by konolia at 3:31 PM on March 15, 2007

Have you tried using one of those "natural" deodorant sprays or sticks? As long as you don't put it directly on any mucus membranes (ie, use it on outer parts only), it should do the trick without disturbing the flora and whatnot.
posted by TG_Plackenfatz at 3:35 PM on March 15, 2007

"you might just throw them into a dryer. giving them a 30-minute spin will get the funk of one day out of it enought that you could wear them once again..."

Oh man, this in my experience is the opposite of true. Putting stink-laden technical fabrics in the dryer without washing first just makes the bacteria angrier and smellier. No No No Bad.
posted by hollisimo at 3:51 PM on March 15, 2007

Air them out immediately after you're done working out to help them dry. Inside-out even. Then throw them in a large ziplock bag and chuck them in the freezer overnight.*

*not sure if this actually works with really stinky work-out pants, but it works for jeans that haven't been washed for months.
posted by nakedsushi at 4:27 PM on March 15, 2007

seconding konolia. the only solution to this is to wash them. your workout puts the stink into the clothing. you need to get it out, not mask it. otherwise you just smell like someone who not only stinks, but smells like a stinky person standing in a fresh summer breeze.
posted by Señor Pantalones at 6:19 PM on March 15, 2007

*but also
posted by Señor Pantalones at 6:19 PM on March 15, 2007

FDS. At least in the crotch.
posted by IndigoRain at 7:24 PM on March 15, 2007

(and yes, I've sprayed it directly on the inside of pants and not had a staining problem.)
posted by IndigoRain at 7:26 PM on March 15, 2007

Due to annoying chafing, I've always worn spandex shorts under my clothing (workout and scrubs) and it does a damn good job of soaking up the stink and isolating it to just them. Plus, they are uber fast to wash and dry because they're little and lightweight. They're often sold as little unpadded bike shorts.
posted by nursegracer at 7:47 PM on March 15, 2007

Yeah, that's just gross. Buy more clothes and wash them when their dirty.
posted by tjvis at 11:12 AM on March 16, 2007

The problem is bacteria living in the cloth- washing alone does not remove them. You'll need to do one of the following occasionally (once a month, maybe?):

* Add 2-4 oz. chlorine bleach to the wash. This isn't enough to bleach the cloth, but it will shorten the life of the clothes.

* Lay them out in the sun for 1 hour or so; flip them 1/2 way through so you get both sides.

* Before washing, soak them in a double-strength solution made from a color-safe bleach that contains sodium borate.

* Microwave them for 1 minute (dampen them first).
posted by jay_wiese at 8:02 AM on March 19, 2007

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