It started just like any other typical day at the gym. I arrive at the usual time in my normal attire- old lycra capris, a baggy t-shirt and hair piled on top of my head. I manage to snag my favorite elliptical. It’s my favorite mainly because the magazine holder is still intact, all the buttons are still there and the rubber hand grips aren’t flapping around threatening to slap me in the face.
Halfway through my cardio, I start smelling the broad next to me, whew, and she is a ripe one. About 10 minutes later, she finishes up and goes away…but the stench didn’t. Oh my GAWD, who is that? I gaze around me like I’m looking for a lost friend, but there is not a single person around me to blame the smell on.
Holy balls! It’s me! I’m the one who smells! How in the crap did this happen? I put deodorant on and used the girly wipes before I left. And even if I tend to forget sometimes, I don’t really reek afterwards!
So from then until the end of my session, all I can think about are the poor souls walking past me as they are entering the green cloud of hell. And my legs, my legs are acting as a fan wafting it around the facility.
After what seems like an eternity, I’m finally done and make a bee line for the stretching area. I needed to know where the funk was stemming from. I then perform stretches by nonchalantly doing the ole sniff check on the areas where smell is produced. I do the butterfly stretch. Nope, that area checked out semi-okay. Next I get into the downward dog position to see about the pit-a-roos.
My knees just about gave out.
Is that really death’s morning breath underneath my arms?
What is going on with my body chemistry today? Forgetting I’m in public, I instantly sit on my knees and duck my head into my shirt to make sure what I first smelled was as wretched as I originally thought. One whiff and the wind is practically knocked out of me.
Wait, I notice something though. I bravely move my nose closer to my arm pit. It didn’t stink at all! It’s the shirt! This shirt is causing the foul rankness! Relieved, I quickly finish stretching, but very slowly make my way to the locker room.
You see, when you walk at a brisk pace, you create a breeze. Put a smell on top of that? Well you’re rocking it out Pepé Le Pew style. Even though I was keeping it slow and steady, my gaze remained straight forward, for fear if I looked around, I’d witness the people in my path dropping like flies.
Hallelujah! I made it to my locker. That top was off faster than…well, a dirty shirt – a gross, disgusting mess of a shirt.
So what caused my workout top to smell like regurgitated pig poop when it smelled perfectly fine coming out of my drawer? I mean, I’ve worn that shirt many a time, and although it didn’t smell like a lilac bush afterwards, it certainly did not smell like that! I’ve also noticed it with some of my other old workout t-shirts, however not even close to that degree.
I decided to figure out why that happened and if there was anything I could do to de-skunktify my smelly gym clothes.
GOOD SMELLING STUFF MAKES YOU STINK
Yup, that’s right. It turns out a build up of detergents, fabric softener or body oils (well, I guess body oils don’t necessarily smell too good) on your workout clothes can cause your garments to stink to high heaven.
When you wash your clothes, the build up does not allow the water to fully get through the fibers, which means the bacteria end up pitching a tent and partying in your pit. To make matters worse, once water or sweat hits the bacteria again, it will reactivate the foulness.
DON’T GET YOUR PANTIES IN A WAD
While you leave your sweaty workout clothes sitting in a wet wad in the hamper, the bacteria are going to town in your gear. Bacteria apparently love the body oils that are in your sweat and the longer your clothes sit there, the longer those little critters are just chilling in your dirty drawers. If that weren’t bad enough, mold and mildew spores can actually start growing in sweaty clothes if they sit for too long, even AFTER you wash them!
To avoid being known as the “smelly one” at the gym, give these tips a try.
HANG ‘EM OUT TO DRY
Just like you would hang your swimming suit up to dry after you go swimming, do the same thing to your smelly gym clothes. As soon as you get home, turn them inside out and let them air dry.
MAKE A SALAD, THEN LAUNDER YOUR CLOTHES
– Soak your dirty duds in one part white vinegar to four parts cold water for about a half hour. Wash and dry as usual afterwards.
– Add one cup of white vinegar to your rinse cycle. Leave the detergent out of this one. If your clothes smell a little vinegary when they come out, it should go away when you dry them (whether you put them in the dryer or hang dry).
BAKE A CAKE, THEN LAUNDER YOUR CLOTHES…MMMM, CAKE
– Add one cup baking soda to your wash cycle with zero detergent.
Ok, so I actually tried two methods at once. I added the baking soda to the wash cycle AND 1 1/2 cups of the vinegar (I really wanted to get the smell out) to the rinse cycle. After that, I washed my clothes again with regular detergent and then dried them as I normally would. The verdict? I noticed a difference in the top, however the smell did not disappear altogether. Then again, the smell of death WAS emanating from the arm pits.
WINNER OF A DETERGENT
I read an article about WIN detergent. Founded by marathon runner Mark Konjevod, WIN was the solution to his stinker of a problem. After trying every method out there with no success, and finding that his friends experienced the same issue, he decided to pair up with a chemical company to create the detergent. It contains hydrogen peroxide and an secret antibacterial ingredient, which aren’t in other detergents, that eliminates “odor-causing molecules.”
I haven’t tried WIN, but apparently it does the trick. You can purchase it on Amazon.
***For all of the Hungry Beastlings rocking out the 30 Day Fitness Challenge, Day 3 is here! My triceps are SORE, but that means it’s WORKING. Keep it going guys!
After today, we’ll already be a tenth of the way done!
Hmmm, that’s not all that motivating, is it…
Kerr, J. (2013). What to Do When Your Gym Clothes REEK. Jezebel. [online] Available at: http://jezebel.com/what-to-do-when-your-gym-clothes-reek-1141402734 [Accessed 8 Jan. 2015].
Smialek, J. (2014). How to Clean Your Smelly Workout Clothes Properly. [Blog] Life Hacker. Available at: http://lifehacker.com/how-to-clean-your-smelly-workout-clothes-properly-1540645964 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2015].
Stein, J. (2006). Hey, Go Ahead, Work Up a Sweat. LA Times. [online] Available at: http://articles.latimes.com/2006/feb/13/health/he-bodywork13 [Accessed 8 Jan. 2015].