Extend the life of your athleisure with this essential laundry tip.

By Rachel Sylvester
Updated: February 08, 2019

Like a worn-in pair of sneakers or a well-curated playlist, top-notch athleisure is the key to any successful workout. In fact, a sweat sesh is only as good as the quality of your activewear, especially when it comes to the durability of your sports bra. But as much as you rely on your go-to sports bra to keep you dry and supported throughout just about any activity (Pilates classes and couch-lounging sessions included), you may be sabotaging the lifespan of your most beloved bras.

RELATED: 7 Ways You're Washing Your Workout Clothes Wrong

It turns out poor laundry habits can wreak havoc on your clothes, and according to Drew Westervelt, founder of hypoallergenic laundry detergent HEX Performance, the cardinal rule of washing clothes is one that’s regularly broken by even the most adept laundry pros. “Never ever use fabric softener,” he says. “Regular fabric softeners were not made for today’s workout clothes.” The reason for this is because most workout clothes are now made with synthetics, a new type of fabric that’s not well-suited to harsh softeners. Instead, Westervelt suggests ditching your bottle of fabric softener in favor or a fabric booster that’s better suited for moisture-wicking synthetics like sports bras.

RELATED: 5 Easy Laundry Tricks for Longer-Lasting Clothes

Another way to ensure your undergarments last well beyond the duration of your gym membership is to wash them in a mesh lingerie bag ($9; amazon.com). “Sports bras are probably your most durable bras, but they can still use a little care when machine washing,” Westervelt says. Rather than tossing your bras in the wash alongside everyday t-shirts, leggings and jeans, clean sporty delicates in a separate bag on a washing machine’s gentle cycle. If you’re concerned about inevitable wear and tear, opt for hand washing, and air dry your sports bras when possible. “Unless you plan to wear your sports bra in the 30 minutes after washing, air dry it,” Westervelt says. “Sports bras dry quickly, so just grab it out of the wash and lay flat to dry.”