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Our best care advice for workout clothes

Functional wear is the collective name for all types of garments that have a specific function (besides keeping you warm and making you look good), like transporting sweat from your body or keeping you dry. They require a little extra care to maintain their abilities over time.

How to wash gym clothes

Most functional garments are made with a special purpose. They are either manufactured with a specific blend of textiles that keep you cool while working out, or outerwear with an engineered membrane that will keep you dry. Wool can of course be used as functional wear, and we have written all you need to know about taking care of wool here. Workout clothes are often made of different synthetics blends; like polyester or elastane. Brand names you might recognize are spandex and lycra.

Pros with activewear:

  • They are naturally dirt repellant
  • They are elastic and therefore comfortable to wear
  • Not prone to wrinkle when washed or worn
  • Cools you off when you are sweaty

Cons with activewear:

  • Synthetic fabrics are oil based, made from nonrenewable sources
  • They can release microplastics when washed. Place them in a guppy bag when you’re washing. A guppy bag is a laundry bag that collects microplastics from your synthetic garments
  • They don’t breathe well and may smell after being worn just once
  • Synthetics won’t retain heat while wet, in contrast to wool. If you wear synthetics as a first layer and sweat heavily, you’re at risk of becoming dangerously cold if the temperatures are low

Washing your gym clothes

Most gym clothes made from synthetics, like elastane, should not be washed in high temperatures. Since they rarely get dirty – most often just smelly – a short eco-program at 30ºC will do.
  • Use a liquid detergent, preferably our Active Laundry Detergent, specifically made for fabrics that are prone to attract bad odors
  • Don't use fabric softener! Most fabric softeners are bad for the environment and will also destroy the stretch in your elastane clothes
  • Hang dry – do not tumble dry

Hard-shell clothes and outdoor gear

Hard-shell clothing is treated with impregnation or a membrane to become waterproof. When you wear them, it causes a tear on the waterproof surface, and after about a month of daily use, they will have lost some of their abilities. The membrane on children's overalls and hard-shell pants will wear down quite fast.

To maintain the waterproofing, you have to re-impregnate. Choose a spray that is free from PFC:s (substances that are dangerous to animals – and humans too – and not biodegradable) and most preferable, ECO-labeled. The waterproofing is often better reactivated if you dry them in a drying cabinet after spraying, but please double-check the care label if it’s advisable. Read more about washing outerwear.

Washing hard-shell clothing

Did you know that you can brush off the worst dirt from your children’s’ hard-shell pants? Use a clothing brush, like our Clothing Brush, on dried mud and dust. When it’s actually time to wash, you should opt for a gentle care program and wash at a maximum of 40ºC. If the clothes are splashed with salt water, or if they’ve become very sweaty, it’s also time to wash. Salt, fats, and sweat make the garment lose its abilities.

  • Use a liquid detergent, preferably our Active Laundry Detergent, specifically made for fabrics that are prone to attract bad odors
  • Place them in a guppy bag that catches all microplastics
  • Do not use fabric softener
  • Dry them in a drying cabinet, if you have access to one – it will reactivate the waterproofing

But what about airing gym clothes or synthetics?

We often preach about how you should air instead of washing clothes that only smell a little funky. But this holds true for material that breathes; like cotton, viscose, linen, and wool – natural fabrics. Most outdoor gear or gym clothes are made from synthetics that technically cannot breathe (synthetic fabrics are a form of plastic). For that reason, it’s quite fruitless to hang them outdoors to air.

If you want to minimize your washing, we recommend our Fabric Spray, a lightly scented spray that will help disguise bad odors. The spray is effective on all kinds of fabrics and can be used to refresh both your hard-shell and workout clothes.

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