Synthetic fabrics love to cling onto odors no matter how many times we wash them. So why are most of our athletic clothes—the clothes we sweat and stink up the most—usually made of synthetic fibers? Because they are also durable, sweat-wicking, and move effortlessly with our bodies. Nylon, polyester, and spandex are all examples of man-made materials that fall into these categories. They feel amazing to exercise in, but because they hold onto odors, you often find yourself ruining gym clothes with the magnitude of your own BO.
Perhaps, however, the bigger problem is what we use to clean our clothes. The regular detergents we use are designed to clean regular everyday materials like cotton, not man-made materials. Workout clothing has different fibers that are very hard for detergents to penetrate. In fact, laundry soaps actually trap odors in your clothes, leaving bacteria and mildew in their wake.
HEX Laundry Detergent
Athletes are the most familiar with this issue, so it’s only fitting that an athlete should solve it. Drew Westervelt, a former professional lacrosse player, was working on creating an eco-friendly product to clean artificial turf when he realized it could also be used on clothes. You see, athleisure items are made out of plastic materials, just like turf, and can be cleaned in a similar fashion. This led to the creation of HEX Performance detergents, an eco-friendly detergent that eradicates odors without wearing out your gym clothes. HEX is special, because it does the one thing regular detergents can’t: Instead of just cleaning the surface of clothes, it penetrates them, cleaning synthetic fabrics, and preventing future smells and stains.
HEX Performance is able to clean synthetic fabrics, because it’s made up of a very small HEX Molecule that cuts grime with ease. Whereas other cleaners attempt to mask the smell of odors with perfumes, the HEX Molecule cleans beneath the surface of fabrics, killing bacteria, mold, and body oils. When it dries, HEX leaves behind a protective layer that shields your clothes from future bacteria and damage—like loss of elasticity and pilling. By cleaning your clothes gently, HEX also protects your favorite clothes so you can keep wearing them for years. All of the clothes we buy are an investment. If we can take care of them better, we can save more money and make that favorite pair of leggings last longer!
You should notice a huge difference in your clothes after you use HEX for the very first time. However, if you’ve been washing your clothes with traditional detergent for a while, it’s going to take a couple of washes before HEX can break down all of the residue, mold, and odor that has been trapped in your fabric. HEX works very quickly otherwise, and it will bring your clothes closer to their former glory every time you use it. If it doesn’t completely transform them after a single wash, just know that it does take some time for older clothes, and all is not lost.
Although HEX was designed for synthetic fabrics, it works great on your regular clothes too. Since it’s eco-friendly, biodegradable, and dermatologist tested, it’s also gentle, effective, and capable of taking the stink out of any garment.
Best Detergent for Exercise Clothes
So what about HEX makes it the best for washing workout clothes? The HEX molecule is very small, which enables it to penetrate manmade fabrics. This molecule also has a positive charge, which attracts the negative charges of sweat and bacteria. Most regular detergents are negatively charged, causing them to steer clear of bacteria. This is another reason why they tend to leave so much leftover residue behind, prematurely wear out your clothes, and make your clothes so staticky when they come out of the dryer.
Lastly, HEX is hydrophobic. It doesn’t get diluted by water, or washed away in the washing machine. This is why it’s able to keep your clothes smelling fresh long after they’ve been washed.
How to Wash Exercise Clothes
Besides switching up your detergent, there are other optimal steps to take to make sure you get the most use out of your gear. Follow these steps, as adapted from HEX’s recommendations, to kill odor, bacteria, color.
- Turn everything inside-out to protect the colors from fading and to get the bacteria out from the inside.
- Only use HEX products on your clothes; don’t combine it with detergents or softeners from other brands. Remember: HEX removes bacteria buildup from other detergents. Let it do what it does best!
- Follow the directions and use the exact amount of HEX that is recommended for your load size. If you use too much, there won’t be enough water to wash out all of the detergent.
- For particularly smelly clothes, you may want to soak them in a mixture of HEX and water beforehand.
- Wash your clothes in cold water to prevent your clothes from shrinking. Also, put your machine on delicate to gently remove bacteria build-up and make your clothes last longer than a vigorous wash cycle would.
- Add white vinegar to your clothes during the rinse cycle. This will eliminate odors and soften your laundry.
- Air dry your clothes whenever possible to avoid shrinkage. Heat is also bad for the elasticity of your clothes.