How to Care for Performance Wear
your workout gear a long life
If you’ve spent hundreds of dollars outfitting yourself in the latest in high-tech fitness apparel you won’t want to risk damaging your purchases by not knowing how to take care of them. The clothing may be heavy duty when it comes to working out, but that doesn’t mean it can survive repeated meetings with hot temperatures and chemical treatments.
These days most clothing can be washed by machine, except of course your best suits, evening wear and lingerie, right? Wrong. Most sports bras must be washed by hand. Machine washed sports bras have a lifespan of about 6 months, compared to twice that for bras that are hand-washed and air-dried. Once a sports bra loses its elasticity, it needs to be replaced.
- Chlorine bleach shouldn’t be used for products with spandex because it can permanently damage the material. In general all fitness wear should be washed with a mild detergent on the gentle cycle to prolong its life.
- Fabric softeners can also negatively affect performance wear, making the material stop working as it’s supposed to.
- Heat can ruin a garment’s elasticity, so wash everything in cold water.
- There are special detergents for workout wear, such as Penguin Sport-Wash and Win High
Performance Sport Detergent, the latter of which is specially formulated to remove odors and stains from microfiber material. With performance wear, anything left behind on the fabric, such as brighteners and fragrances, can cause problems. Residue prevents the fabric from working correctly. Look for detergent made specifically for sports apparel. If you’ve been using the wrong detergent and find your performance wear lacking, washing it with a performance wear detergent may be able to restore its features.
Since we know heat can damage workout clothing, it’s obvious the dryer will cause problems. Unfortunately for those in a time crunch, the only thing to do is hang fitness clothing on the clothesline or a drying rack indoors. On the bright side, the same high-tech fabrics that dislike heat are designed to dry quickly, so even if you wash you clothing a few hours before your next workout, they’ll be dry by when you need them.
- Dryer sheets are the lesser of two evils when it comes to fabric softening. They aren’t as bad as adding softener directly to the wash, but they can affect performance wear products that have anti-static or anti-bacterial properties. It’s best to avoid doing anything that may damage your workout clothes.