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I run/jog quite a lot everyday, and sweat quite a lot. Most of my physical gym clothes are the usual polyester gym shorts and gym shirts. In autumn/fall/winter, I usually wear the usual sweat pants and a sweat hoodie sweater.

Since I sweat a lot, I fill up a huge basket with 4/5 of water and 1/5 of vinegar, and I put my used sweaty workout clothes into the basket. I let the clothes get drenched in the water-vinegar for the night. The next morning I put it into the washing machine, and let it run.

I do Not add any ordinary laundry detergent and do Not add any fabric softener because I do Not want the ordinary detergent and/or fabric softener to neutralize the vinegar. I Only run the washing machine with the sweaty workout clothes in regular water.

The reason I'm drenching my sweaty gym clothes in water-vinegar mix overnight is because I've heard that vinegar is good at removing human sweat, human urine & other human-related liquids. Vinegar is also very affordable( approximately around USD$ 2 dollars for 4 Litre container of White Vinegar. Furthermore, when I merely washed my gym clothes in regular laundry detergent at the end of the week withOut soaking it in water-vinegar mix, I used to get Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) when I wore the washed gym clothes the next week. However, I have to say that merely using vinegar still does Not remove all Unpleasant odor from the gym clothes. It does Not smell great after the wash.

Are the aforementioned steps the proper way to deal with sweaty gym clothes?

Update:

All, @weather-vane @stan @piojo @edward-doolittle

Thanks for your suggestions. Special Thanks to @edward-doolittle for his key points( specifically 5) about washing underwear in vinegar Only) Please keep in mind that I sweat a lot more than most people. LOL, True Story, I was running on the treadmill at the gym once, and after I was done, my gym clothes were completely drenched with my sweat. As I was walking towards the men's locker room, a woman walks past me, and seriously asked me if it was raining outside. LOL, I laughed, and said that I was just sweating from running on the trendmill, and she was really surprised. LOL.

In any case, Let me explain what I've been doing to wash my gym clothes. This might be a little Disgusting, and maybe even really Unhygienic:

  1. Keep a separate set of underwears, and other undergarments that you use for your gym workouts.

  2. I have a dedicated laundry clothes rack at home that I use to hang up my gym clothes after a workout.

  3. At the end of the work week( Fridays for me), I fill up a bucket with around 3/4's with water, and then I also add around 2 liters of White Vinegar

  4. I place all my Gym workout underwears, and gym clothes in said bucket.

  5. On Saturday morning, I remove my gym clothes, and put it in the laundry washer for a simple wash with No detergent.

  6. After the wash, I just take it out and leave it to air dry on a laundry clothes rack

  7. Now, around once in 3-4 weeks, or Whenever the odor of the gym clothes is noticebaly bad, I run the clothes in a subsequent 2nd wash with Detergent

Now, I do Not have much UTI problems.

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  • Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer.
    – Community Bot
    Oct 28, 2021 at 17:11
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    I add laundry cleanser to the wash if anything is sweat-smelly. The smell is caused by bacteria and the cleanser is an inexpensive bactericide. But that's not a life hack – just how to do the washing. Oct 29, 2021 at 18:03
  • @WeatherVane Thanks. The problem is that vinegar is acidic and detergents are alkaline which means that all you'll do is cancel them with each other.
    – crazyTech
    Oct 29, 2021 at 18:30
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    Hi crazyTech, Welcome to Lifehacks. The 'diaper pail' is a great idea for all the reasons you gave. That treatment is optimal for gym clothing when followed by a wash in detergent (to get rid of the odourous bacteria), thorough rinse (to get rid of the spent and residue detergent), and air dry (to prolong the life of the garments degraded by heat.) Note that an alkaline washing follows the acid soak rather than combine the two. These are recommended steps according to the 'care labels' sewn into the shirt neckbands and pants waistbands - not necessarily a Lifehack. Good luck.
    – Stan
    Oct 30, 2021 at 18:39
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    @piojo <rant> Bleach is a mixed blessing. Use of it on just about everything will decrease the usable life of the garment. There's little more benefit that a proper washing wouldn't do. Sodium hypochlorite is an overall negative except in very limited applications. </rant> I feel better now. Thanks.
    – Stan
    Nov 11, 2021 at 19:32

1 Answer 1

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I'm going to suggest you rephrase your question into something more specific at the top, something like "Given that I get a urinary tract infection (UTI) when I wash my gym clothes with laundry detergent, how should I wash them?" and then go on to give details of what you've tried.

If that is your question, I have a few suggestions.

  1. Seek a medical opinion from a medical doctor. Personally I've never heard of anyone getting a UTI from clothes washed in detergent, but I am not a medical doctor (IANAMD). I would advise you in general not to seek medical opinions on a lifehacks web site. That said ...

  2. You might try different brands of laundry detergent including detergent with no scent. Detergent is after all designed and evolved to clean clothes worn by humans and so to deal with human sweat, bacteria on human bodies, etc.

  3. Use detergent but try to extend the rinse cycle, or run a rinse cycle after the regular cycle has completed.

  4. Maybe try your vinegar trick and then wash your clothes in detergent. It could be that the detergent alone is not killing all the bacteria in your clothes, but together vinegar followed by detergent will kill the bacteria and clean the clothes. I would be surprised that detergent is not enough to kill the bacteria, but again IANAMD.

  5. You might restrict the vinegar trick to your underwear and then wash the rest of your clothes (or all your clothes) in detergent. Or you could wash your underwear with bleach and detergent. (I would suggest not washing all your clothes in bleach, which will destroy them quickly. Just washing underwear in bleach will eventually destroy the underwear, but then you only have to replace the underwear, not the entire outfit. Bleach might destroy the elastic in underwear in just one washing though, so there is that to consider.)

  6. Try wearing cotton (maybe with a small percentage of elastic material) instead of polyester. Cotton is more expensive but 100% worth it (in my personal opinion). If you don't like the idea of replacing all your polyester clothes at once, just try cotton underwear at first.

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    +1 for #2 if for nothing else than a mention of a detergent with no scent. Can I also sneak in a request to use the optimum amount of the stuff—determined by adding it after the agitation cycle has begun and only enough to form the first few bubbles? <rant>Any extra is redundant and doesn't remove any more "dirt."</rant> Thank you, I feel better now that's said.
    – Stan
    Oct 31, 2021 at 3:08
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    Bullet point 1 is the real key: start with the medical; repeated UTI is a strong indicator the infections are never getting cleared, and chronic UTI an lead to permanent damage.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Feb 28 at 19:11

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