I hate doing the laundry...help me minimize the number of articles of clothing I have to wash, please!
April 1, 2007 5:11 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way to effectively, efficiently, and economically wash your laundry that keeps piling up at the end of the week from daily workouts?

I recently started working out and have been doing it everyday. At the end of the day, I have 4 articles of clothing in the laundry basket(shirt, sports bra, underwear, pants) which adds up at the end of the week when I do my laundry. I was hoping to find out what most of you do especially when you have to pay to do laundry? I am moving to a place where I will have to pay to do laundry and to dry it...I could air dry stuff but for under garments, I would like to be able to dry it rather than have sports bras and panties hanging around.

I guess I could workout every other day for a longer period, but I would appreciate any suggestions/previous experiences, etc.

I can only afford to workout half an hour a day or so, so I am not sweating that much but enough that I wouldn't be able to wear it again the next day.

If you have any secrets, I'd appreciate it.
posted by icollectpurses to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My method of economizing when I have to pay per load is to go where they have one of those extra-large washers, and dump everything in, color, whites and all, and wash in cold water. They make detergent now that works well in cold water, and the cold water keeps things from fading.

As far as reducing the total number of articles you have to wash, you're pretty much gonna have to re-wear stuff. I guess you could try spraying it with febreze or something between washes...
posted by Mr. Gunn at 5:49 PM on April 1, 2007

honestly, i wear the same pair of shorts all week and often recycle my shirt (rinse and dry overnight--it's not laundry fresh, but not gross). as long as the underwear's clean...
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:52 PM on April 1, 2007

Do the clothes smell so bad that you don't want to wear them? Or are you worried about other people smelling you? Or is it merely the thought of wearing the clothes again? You're working out, so it's okay to smell a little.

I wear the same shorts for about a week at a time and will frequently wear the same shirt. Just try to air them out between wearings. I find that shirts soaked with sweat will smell fine the next day if given some space to dry. Use the sun, if available.
posted by christonabike at 6:02 PM on April 1, 2007

For workout clothes, why can't you wear the same ones all week (at least)? I'd wear fresh underwear, but who cares if your workout clothes smell a bit? Your goal is to get sweaty, and I want to shower before changing into "real" clothes anyway.

Just hang them up instead of tossing them on the floor in a ball and wear them all week.
posted by Utilitaritron at 6:04 PM on April 1, 2007

Gross alert: I went through a longish stint of re-wearing my workout clothes in order to cut my laundry down, and I wound up with, well, skin fungus. (I went to the doctor for these mysterious splotches that were appearing in my most sweaty parts, and he prescribed athlete's foot medication. It worked.) I used athlete's foot ointment for a few days in a row whenever splotches started to appear, over a span of at least a year, before I got the brilliant idea to wash my workout clothes after each wearing. Since then, I haven't had to fight the fungus. I'm sure this doesn't happen with everyone, but it happened with me. I am a prolific sweat-er, and I did hang my wet (I mean wet) clothes over the side of my hamper in between wearings, and they did dry in between. I don't know if it makes sense that the fungus would attack so quickly, but the timing seems too perfect to be coincidental to me. I'm a wear-once-and-wash gal now.

To answer your question: I just end up doing about one extra load of laundry per week. :( Sucky but true.
posted by iguanapolitico at 6:29 PM on April 1, 2007

Personally I re-wear my workout clothes. But you may want to look around for a drop-off laundry service. I haven't used one but a friend of mine does and loves it. For $5 or $10 or so, you drop off a big bundle of clothes and then pick it up later, all washed, dried, and neatly folded. Slightly more expensive but certainly worth it if you hate doing laundry.
posted by PercussivePaul at 6:32 PM on April 1, 2007

Another "re-wear" vote. I think the fungus anecdote is probably for people who are very sweaty or if you aren't hanging your clothes up to air-dry. Even if you don't go all week with the same pair of shorts, going 2 or 3 days at a time will still significantly cut down on your laundry.
posted by jckll at 6:47 PM on April 1, 2007

Rinse the clothes in water and hang them to dry overnight. That'll get out the worst of the stank and then you can rewear them and just wash them properly once a week.
posted by joannemerriam at 6:51 PM on April 1, 2007

I don't re-wear, but I do rinse-and-hang as suggested above--it helps keep the stank away until my normal weekly laundry cycle.
posted by jknecht at 7:29 PM on April 1, 2007

Uh, hate to be the wet sweaty blanket here but I HATEHATEHATE working out next to people who wear stale stuff. YOU can't smell the stank but the rest of us CAN.

If you are outside working out alone, fine but if you are in the gym at the very least buy some Febreeze!
posted by konolia at 7:36 PM on April 1, 2007

I have two pairs of shorts that I wear to the gym all week long, alternating the days that I wear each pair. To give you some empirical data, I just gave both pairs a sniff and yesterday's shorts have no smell, while today's shorts do smell a little ripe. There seems to be a strong positive correlation between the amount of time the shorts hang and the severity of the odor. One day with proper circulation seems to be enough time to properly de-stink gym clothing.
posted by HotPatatta at 7:37 PM on April 1, 2007

I should have posted that comment anonymously. Drats.
posted by HotPatatta at 7:38 PM on April 1, 2007

I am a big fan of the Shout color catchers. They're little sheets you can stick in the laundry to sop up extra dye during the wash. It means you don't have to sort white laundry from dark laundry. While not exactly answering the question, it may help you save on laundry by consolidating loads.
posted by selfmedicating at 7:39 PM on April 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you for all your suggestions! I think I will try wearing the shirts and the pants for two days and dry'em with febreeze. I think it might work since I am not a big sweater.

Like Konolia, I have experience working out next to people who smell like they're wearing soggy clothes...but we'll see.

When the weather gets warmer, I can go run outside anyway.

Thanks again, all!
posted by icollectpurses at 7:47 PM on April 1, 2007

I work out five days a week usually, and I have to use a laundro-mat. I am pretty much going to have to use two washers no matter what, separating whites and darks. (Also, you don't need "cold-water" detergent to wash in cold water, but that's another ask metafilter.) In the standard-sized washers with all my sheets and towels and workout clothes (clean ones every day), it all fits fine. You say you haven't started paying yet, so have you seen that it doesn't all fit already?
posted by Airhen at 7:55 PM on April 1, 2007

If you're wearing technical fabrics it's usually not recommended that you dry them anyway... and I'd personally never put a bra in the dryer. But if you're averse to hanging to dry then I'd just get used to washing those four items by hand. It's really not a major task.
posted by loiseau at 8:24 PM on April 1, 2007

Techwick (available at Eastern Mountain Sports) or similar water-wicking fabrics don't retain sweat as much, and can be re-worn more than regular cotton shirts.
posted by lsemel at 9:12 PM on April 1, 2007

If all your sports clothing are technical fabrics (not cotton), then drop them on the floor when you take your post-workout shower. The soap and shampoo, combined with running water from your shower, should hopefully rinse out any nasty stuff. Then gently wring them out after your shower and hang them up for air drying.

I would also agree with loiseau that you shouldn't ever put synthetics in the dryer. They get fuzzy and also disgustingly sheer.
posted by meowzilla at 10:12 PM on April 1, 2007

My bike clothes are all spandexy, CoolMax, synthetic type of stuff. When I am done with a bike ride they are full of nasty sweat and I don't even want to put them in the same hamper as my nice clothes. So I dump 'em in the sink with 2 capfuls of Woolite, let 'em sit for 3 minutes, swish them around a bit, drain and rinse the soap out, and hang them up in the shower to dry.

Never occurred to me to mix them with the regular laundry; can't imagine why you would in fact.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:14 PM on April 1, 2007

If only I will come in contact with the clothes (as in, they don't leave my home), I wash them along with myself in the shower. Maybe laundry detergent does a better job, but if your bodywash is good enough for your body, then it should be ok for your clothes (this is my justification, anyway!)
posted by zardoz at 4:01 AM on April 2, 2007

1) Shower before you work out; then any sweat that comes in contact with your gym clothes is clean sweat. Use an anti-perspirant. Shower again afterwards. Then re-wear your gym clothes the next day.

2) You should not put lingerie in the dryer. Wash it in the laundromat, but take it home wet in a bag and hang it to dry.
posted by kika at 4:50 AM on April 2, 2007

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