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What’s the Best Way to Deodorize Gym Gear?

Real Simple answers your questions.

Workout clothingLisa Shin
Q. How can I get the stink out of gym clothes? 
Polly Larkin
Pikesville, Maryland
 A. With a bit of preventive care and the right detergent, you can cure the stench―and even keep it from festering in the first place. After a workout, give clothes a quick rinse in a sink; wring them out to remove as much water as possible, and stow them in a large plastic bag before putting them in your gym tote. Since the confined compartment of a tote can breed smelly bacteria, take the dirty clothes out as soon as you get home and wash them according to the label directions. Steve Boorstein, president and founder of, recommends using the hottest water temperature that your gear can handle, along with an enzyme-formulated detergent, such as 2X UltraTide ($10, “The active ingredients will effectively break down protein-based stains, like perspiration,” says Boorstein. If you still detect an odor, then the problem could be the clothing itself. Try wearing more-natural fabrics, such as cotton blends, whose fibers release odors more easily than synthetics do. ―Elinor Smith 
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