How to Wash Your Running Gear

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Are you constantly battling your overflowing laundry basket? What do you do when you can’t just wipe your sneakers in the sink in order to get the mud out of your wet shoes? And how in the world do you wash your waterproof jacket? If you’re often left confused and stuck with a stinky running kit, here’s how to tackle your issue.

What temperature is perfect for washing?

This is one of the most important aspects of washing your running clothes, so pay attention. The temperature of the water mostly depends on the material: cotton takes high temperatures very well, while synthetic materials are much more sensitive to heat and can only be washed at temperatures of 30C and lower. If you want to have a peace of mind, study your clothing labels and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Still, what you really want to do is wash your running gear thoroughly and at the highest temperature possible—water alone can’t wash away all the sweat, body fats and mud after a good run in the mountains. Also, tackle your stinky kit as soon as you can because waiting will only make bad smells and dirt more stubborn and harder to remove.

What kind of detergent to use?

If possible, most experts and athletes recommend using a special sportswear detergent. These not only remove all the smells but are also very gentle on your Lycra and won’t cause any sagging and electrostatic charging which will make your gear last longer. And don’t worry too much about separating your laundry—if you wash regular clothing in specialized sportswear detergent, nothing bad will happen. However, what you need to keep in mind is the sensitivity of your synthetic sportswear. It much more susceptible to tears and stretching than cotton, so don’t load your washing machine to the top (go with 4 kg of laundry max).

What about the fabric softeners?

When you have the proper detergent, you don’t even need to use fabric softener. This liquid contains cellulose, a component that prevents the fabric from becoming rigid and rough, but a good detergent can basically do the same thing. Also, it’s not recommended that you use fabric softener on waterproof items or any outerwear because it can damage the fabric and reduce its waterproof characteristic. Most sportswear is made with synthetic fabrics that can be affected by fabric softener, so it’s best to avoid it.

What to do with shoes?

When it comes to your sweaty trainers, it’s best to follow the advice from the manufacturers. Different trainers have different washing instructions, but some models, depending on the material and constriction of the shoe, can be machine washed. And, usually, you don’t need to take out insoles. If you get a quality pair of running shoes, you won’t have any issues with washing, so consult a good running blog (like this one on  Runner Click site) before grabbing your gear. It’s always best to find a few reviews and tips before you go splurging hundreds of dollars on quality sportswear.

How do you tackle waterproof items?

If you’re using a specialist detergent together with a special outerwear program on your washing machine, you won’t run into any issues when washing your jacket or any other waterproof gear. The settings will protect your fabric and ensure a long life of your gear. But, if you want to treat your gear extra nicely, make sure to re-proof it every once in a while, otherwise, it might stop repelling water. You can combine your special detergent and washing machine program with a proofing agent to ensure good waterproof properties.

Can I tumble-dry my running clothes?

Again, make sure to check the labels of your running clothes. These are definitely not random and even different manufacturers have different fiber blends that need a different type of care. If you can tumble-dry your Nike shorts, it doesn’t mean you can do the same to your Under Armour shirt.

If you follow these tips and do your best to be fast with washing, you will always have clean, fresh, comfortable, and most importantly, efficient sportswear that will ensure you do your best on the track.

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