How to Keep Your High-Performance Activewear in Tip-Top Shape


Your activewear takes a beating every workout or rehearsal. Today’s workout clothes are made from high-performance materials that need some extra attention to maintain their function and fit. 

Here are seven tips for making sure your activewear keeps performing as hard as you do.


Wash in a Cold, Delicate Cycle

Handwashing spandex would be the ideal scenario to keep the material’s elasticity intact, however, you might prefer a quick machine wash, and that’s okay, too. Be sure to use a gentle cycle with cold water. 

Use Mild Detergent, Not Too Much

It may be counter-intuitive, but using more soap won’t make the clothes smell better. Stick to the specified amount as recommended on the detergent label for machine washing, and defer to just a couple of teaspoons for a hand wash. A little goes a long way once bubbled up, and too much detergent will actually build up in the materials creating a barrier for trapping in bacteria that cause odors to breed.

Turn Inside Out

The grime on your activewear is mostly on the inside, not the outside. Close up any zippers or closures and turn the clothes inside-out before putting them in the washing machine or to hand wash. Flipping workout clothes inside-out before washing can prevent snags and help keep colors bright.


Dry in a Cool, Calm Manner

Laying your spandex clothes out to dry will help maintain the clothing’s shape and flexibility. Tossing them in the dryer on too high a heat setting will surely break down the stretchy fibers (hello tired leghole elastics!). But if you like, using a low or no-heat setting on the dryer can get them drier faster. Be warned that there are always mishaps with machines, so maybe don’t throw in your favorite item...just in case.

Skip the Add-ons

Never add fabric softener to a load with activewear. Fabric softeners coat fibers to create a silky touch. That coating can build up on the fibers and make fabric less breathable, locking in any remaining soil, bacteria or odor. Fabric softeners and dryer sheets can also begin to break down the elastic fibers that give activewear their stretch. 

For a particularly stinky item, try adding a half or a cup of baking soda to the washing machine with your workout clothes. Or let them soak in a bucket with the cold water/baking soda mixture for a few hours before washing.

Please Don’t “Wear It and Forget It”

Don’t leave your damp clothes balled up in a dance bag or locker. Let them air dry before adding them to a laundry pile that won’t immediately be washed.

Again, just say NO to Heat

Ironing 100% spandex will melt the fabric. Take it from me, you don’t want to mess with trying it out on one of your favorite pieces. If it is a spandex blend fabric, however, you could use an iron as long as it’s constantly moving and set to the lowest setting. But really, do you need to iron a leotard?!


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