Posted by: Sue D. Gelber | January 20, 2016

Gear Check: Don’t Throw Out Those Workout Clothes Just Yet

I have discovered The Most Useful Exercise Accessory Ever. No, it’s not a watch that says your pace while also spewing motivational quotes. It’s not a pair of running shoes with rocket engines on the back. And it’s not a two-sided bottle, with beer in one section and water in the other. (Although all of those are good ideas. Note to self: get working on ’em.) Instead, I have discovered something that allows me to continue to run in a group, cycle in a pack, even walk through a crowded spin studio without offending anyone. I speak, my friends, of the miracle known as SportWash.

Please note, SportWash has not, in any way, compensated me for this blog post, but hey, if someone out there wants to toss me a few bottles, I’d be much obliged. I use the stuff almost daily. Why? Because otherwise I would have to burn my workout clothes.

And what, you may ask, is SportWash? It’s a miracle liquid that gets stinky odors out of exercise clothes. Even my stinky odors. No easy task. Trust me on that.

Of course, it took me a while to realize that I even needed SportWash.  A few years ago, I became aware of the fact that a couple of my favorite running shirts smelled a little, well, stale. Even straight from the laundry. Suddenly, I became nervous. If they stank before I put them on, what were they like after I exercised in them?

I became odor aware. I tried putting the shirts through the washing machine twice. I tried soaking them in a baking soda solution, with only mild success. I tried using an “odor-fighting” detergent with Febreeze, which just made them smell like stale sweat mixed with Febreeze.

Eventually, I threw the shirts away.

I simply couldn’t stand the smell of them anymore. I bought new shirts, but then found that I wasn’t wearing them  because I didn’t want them to smell bad. I started wearing shirts I didn’t like as much, but that still smelled ok: bad shirts that smelled good, if you will. But what I wanted was good shirts that didn’t smell bad – and bad shirts that smelled good, too. What to do?

And then, one day at Sports Authority, the clouds parted and a ray of light beamed down from the heavens, through the double wide glass doors, all the way down to register number eight, where I happened to be. That ray of heavenly light landed upon a detergent bottle, something called Win. I heard a voice from the heavens say “Buy this detergent, and you will never have to throw out a shirt again.” So I did. And it was good.

Shortly after, I discovered SportWash, which seems to be essentially the same stuff as Win, although I prefer the fragrance of SportWash. Since then, I’ve learned that there are several different brands out there, including one called Sport Suds which comes in a powder. But Nathan Penguin SportWash is still my favorite, hands down. Fortunately, it’s easy to find at many bike and running stores, and it’s always available through Amazon when buying locally is out of the question (Northwest Montana, I’m looking at you).

Apparently, the detergents are specially formulated to help improve the performance of wicking materials (regular detergents can clog up the fabrics and reduce the wicking potential). But I love them because they really do get rid of the stench. And as a result, they allow me to keep my favorite shirts in circulation. The good, the bad, and even the ugly.

So if you sweat a lot and your clothes smell a little funky, do everyone in your running/cycling group or spin/hot yoga class a favor and go get some kind of sport wash. Because it’s important to look good, but not if you have to smell bad.


  1. OMG, I thought I wrote this blog…..I too have thrown out running clothes, particularly sports bras because of the lingering odors….I too have done the triple washes and febreze sport and baking soda to no avail…but I will definitely check out the SportWash…cant wait to try this out. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. The detergents are specially formulated to help improve the performance of wicking materials.

  3. It’s easy to find at many bike and running stores, and it’s always available through Amazon when buying locally is out of the question.

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