Odds & Ends: How to Wash Your Workout Gear

Between the heat and the added incentive to get in shape, summer is the season to sweat. Which probably means that your workout gear is being put to good use this time of year. After a run, yoga class, or other sweat sesh, the first thing I always want to do is hop in the shower. But my workout gear gets just as dirty, and I don’t always think to clean it off. So with our 2015 LaurenConrad.com Summer Boot Camp Plan in mind, I wanted to share a few tricks for keeping your yoga mat, gym shoes, and workout clothes in squeaky-clean shape. Check them out below…

Yoga Mat

I’ve been using the same yoga mat for a couple years now, and it’s held up pretty well. But after years of use, I started to grow concerned about the fact that it had never gotten a truly deep clean. I’d wipe it down every once in a while, but I knew that a lot of sweat and dirt had to still be lurking in there. Pretty cringe-worthy, right? So, I did a little research and found that you can actually throw your yoga mat in a front-loading washing machine on a delicate cycle. For those without a front-loading machine (the center agitator in top-loading machines could damage your mat), another option is to hand wash it in the bathtub. Either way, use only a small amount of mild detergent so that you won’t be rinsing suds out for ages. Then, hang to air dry out of the sun. Note: Since they are so porous, yoga mats do take a long time to dry. So plan on washing it when you don’t have a yoga class coming up for at least 48 hours.

If you want to wash your yoga mat less often and still keep it clean, I recommend purchasing a microfiber yoga mat towel to lay over your mat. Not only is this easier to clean than the mat (you can machine wash and dry it), but it will keep your hands from slipping during downward dog, too!

Gym Shoes

Before you wash your gym shoes, take a look at what materials they are made of. If they are leather, you will want to hand wash them and take extra care using water on them. If they are mostly fabric and/or synthetic materials, you can throw them in the washer with a load of towels. Before washing, remove the laces and insoles. The laces can be thrown in the washer, and the insoles should be hand washed and/or sprinkled with baking soda to absorb odors. For hand washing, use a toothbrush, a small amount of detergent, and water to scrub away grime. Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to wipe away any remaining scuffmarks. Allow the shoes to air dry outside of direct sunlight.

Workout Clothes

This one might seem pretty obvious… Just throw them in the washer, right? Not exactly. Since workout clothes get more heavily soiled than everyday apparel, your first instinct might be to throw them in a heavy duty load of laundry. But since they are made of special stretchy and supportive fabrics, workout clothes tend to be more delicate than other apparel. So to keep your yoga pants from losing their stretch, wash them in a delicate cycle with cold water. (And skip the fabric softener too!) To attack all that dirt and grime, simply turn your clothes inside out (where most of the sweat and dirt collects). If your gym clothes are extra stinky, you can soak them in ½ a cup of white vinegar before washing or add a ½ cup to your washer’s rinse cycle. Air dry or tumble dry low.

There you have it! Now all of your workout gear will be squeaky clean.

What other hard-to-clean items could you use a few tips on washing?

xo Ilana
Team LC

Photo: Jessi Burrone Photography for LaurenConrad.com