Smelly Running Clothes

What To Do With Smelly Running Clothes? A Complete Guide

After a few sweaty runs, you might find your shirts, pants, socks, and shorts smelling like a locker room. Sometimes they can also smell sour.

That’s why more manufacturers are trying to find ways to prevent workout gear that smells after a run. until they find the solution, how to get the smell out of running clothes continues to be a mystery.

In today’s article, we discuss what causes your running clothes to smell after a run, and how to remove the smell of sweat and odor from your workout clothes the easy way.

So, keep reading to find out more!


What Causes Running Clothes to Smell After a Run?

Nearly every runner has experienced smelly running clothes before, but what causes your running clothes to smell after a run?

The primary culprit for smelly workout gear is bacteria, sweat, and oils from the body. These all build up inside the fabric, which then causes the clothing to smell.

Because modern activewear uses different forms of synthetic fabrics, they tend to easily absorb oil, sweat, and bacteria. This is common with fabrics that help wick moisture away from the body.

While some runner’s clothes stick more than others, it depends a lot on the type of fabric used, the amount the person sweats, and how much oil is transferred from the body to the fabric.

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What Causes Running Clothes to Smell After a Run

Why Do My Running Clothes Smell Sour When I Sweat?

Another question that is widely asked relates to clothes smelling sour. Typically the sour smell comes from clothes that are tried to be dry in a damp and dark environment. This usually causes the clothes to smell sour, and musty. However, if you dry your clothes naturally in a well-ventilated and dry area, it can be from leaving your workout clothes for hours before washing.

Leaving your running clothes in a wash basket damp and sweaty for multiple hours can cause your apparel to smell sour. This is often a strong sour smell that can be sometimes hard to remove through washing.

So, knowing this it is recommended that you try to wash your clothes directly after a run. This will prevent bacteria from breeding, which leads to an intense odor or sour smell.

What To Do With Smelly Running Clothes – Ultimate Guide

So, now you know why your running clothes tend to smell bad after a run. Luckily there are a few simple tricks to prevent the clothes from smelling, even after a wash.

To prevent your workout clothes from smelly after a run and also washing. Make sure you wash your clothes in cold water. It is also important (if using a dryer) to dry them on a low heat setting.

Another important trick is to stay away from fabric softeners. Fabric softeners tend to build up on the material and prevent their moisture-wicking properties from functioning correctly.

However, if you find washing your clothes in cold water doesn’t take away the smell of sweat, you can try adding a cup of white vinegar to the wash. This will help reduce the smell greatly.

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Another great way to reduce the smell from your running clothes is to purchase an enzymatic cleaner. Other traditional ways include using baking soda, tea tree oil, or even freezing and boiling your workout clothes.

No matter which method you use, remember to air dry your clothes rather than using a dryer. That will make all the difference.


Workout Clothes That Don’t Smell

Luckily if you constantly struggle with smelly workout clothes, there is a solution. Some manufacturers make workout clothes that don’t smell or at least tend to smell less than others.

To accomplish this, many brands infuse their fabric with a range of blends. This can include coconut weave, silver, and others.

Silver, for example, is known to be antimicrobial. That means it prevents microbes from forming. Which in turn, keeps you smelling fresh even through intense workouts and intervals.

Some manufacturers that use special blends in their fabric include Under Armour, New Balance, Nike, and Patagonia. However, these aren’t the only brands that do this, and a quick search online can help you find other manufacturers that produce similar workout clothes.



Remember more detergent isn’t usually the answer. All this does is leave behind residue which often provides a source for bacteria and odor. If you are still trying to find ways to prevent your clothes from smelling after washing, make sure you choose the right detergent and use the right amount.

Choosing the right detergent for athletic clothes isn’t difficult. Most detergent manufacturers will specify if the powder or liquid is designed for performance fabrics. If you are unsure, make sure the detergent you use is intended for synthetic fabrics.

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Alternatively, if you are still struggling, try mixing in some baking soda, vinegar, or even tea tree oil. All of these have been proven to remove odor from clothes.

Last but not least, if that still doesn’t fix the issue, go and purchase some new clothes that are approved by the manufacturer for reducing bacteria from being built up from swell, odor, and body oils.

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