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Two sweaty men after an intense outdoor track workout are taking a rest.

How to get the sweat smell out of your clothes

You're getting ready to head to yoga, you open your closet, grab your favourite leggings and... oof. How do they smell like sweat when you haven't even put them on yet?

Many people who have just switched to a natural deodorant for the first time would be inclined to think it's that. Well, we assure you, that isn't the case! Read on to find out what causes that stale, sweaty smell that lingers on your favourite work out gear, how to get rid of it, and better yet, how to avoid it!

Why do my clothes smell like sweat?

As we mentioned above, it may have crossed your mind that you had just ventured into the world of natural deodorant and that must be the culprit! Unless you're slathering your entire bod in it, let's just put that thought right out of our minds, because it isn't just the armpit of that old concert t-shirt that smells, it's the whole shirt, the leggings, the shorts. 

Sweat doesn't smell. It's the accumulation of bacteria that creates an unpleasant odour. These little bacteria molecules can get trapped in the fabric of your clothing, even once washed, and become even more apparent from the warmth of your body. Our bodily excretions are sticky and cling to the fibres of our clothing, notably, sebum, an oily substance on our skin that protects it from drying out.

How to get rid of the sweat smell from your clothing

Great news! You don't need a special detergent or a chemical-laden laundry booster to get rid of the stench! You switched to a great clean deodorant, let's try to keep our other products that way too, when possible! There is a cheap and easy fix that you probably have sitting in your cupboards as we speak! 

Quick 5 steps to getting that sweat smell out of your clothes:

  1. Fill your sink with cold water
  2. Add equal parts white vinegar and baking soda (we do 1 cup of each)
  3. Put your stinky clothes in the basin and give them a little shake
  4. Leave for 30 minutes
  5. Toss in the laundry and VOILA! Fresh as a daisy!

How to prevent your clothes from smelling like sweat

There are definitely several habits we can get into that can prevent or at least minimize the occurrence of odour being trapped in your clothing. 

It's important to note that the usual stinky suspects are your favourite work out clothes. The reason for this is that they are typically made of synthetic, moisture wicking fabrics that we often washed in cold water. Cold water just can't break down sebum and other body soils. Not only that, but that moisture wicking fabric we all love so much? It's made with channels and grooves to do the wicking, prime locations for bacteria and soils to hide!

Here are a few ways to keep your clothes smelling as fresh as possible!

  1. Wear natural fibres like cotton, wool or denim - but if the mere idea of working out in your jeans makes you cringe like it does for us, read on for some tips to keep your synthetic work out clothes fresh.
  2. When you come back from a sweaty work out, don't leave your clothes in your gym bag or simply toss them into your laundry hamper. Let them air dry before tossing them into the basket.
  3. Try not to let your active ware sit in the basket for days on end before washing.
  4. Try smaller wash loads, and where possible, use hot water (but, check the label of your clothes before doing so).
  5. Get your wet clothes out of the washing machine ASAP. We see you, the busy people who end up washing the same load 3 times! ;)
  6. Try to keep and wash your dirty active ware separately from other clothes.
  7. Wear a good quality natural deodorant like SONDR to kill as much bacteria as possible!


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