Whatever your favorite form of exercise is, it most likely makes you sweat. And as good as it feels to sweat, it does not leave us, or our clothes, smelling great. Unfortunately it’s a reality with exercise, but the worst thing is when the scent sticks to your clothes and you can’t get away from it!
Thankfully, the best detergents for gym clothes will fix the issue quickly and effectively. While we can’t guarantee you’ll always come away from exercise smelling fresh and sweet, these detergents guarantee that your workout clothes will never smell like a locker room before you put them on.
Our top choice is WIN Sports Detergent, which removes oils that stick to the clothes, causing odor. It comes in a regular version and a Green version that is fragrance-free, dye-free, and eco-friendly.
The one you choose is up to you, but here are our top choices.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
WIN Sports Detergent – Active Fresh
Sport Suds Laundry Detergent
No Sweat The Secret Agent Sports Wash
1. WIN Sports Detergent – Active Fresh
WIN is a detergent created specifically for sports people. Whether you’re a runner, a gym-goer or play a different sport, this specially-formulated detergent will do a great job of removing odors that stick to the fabric.
It comes in three different variations. Active Fresh (Blue) is their regular option. Active Teen (Red), is great for parents of sporty kids. Free and Clear (Green) is free of dyes and fragrances and best for sensitive skin and those prone to allergies.
WIN works by targeting the oils that stick to the clothes and invite odor-causing bacteria. It breaks the oils down and by doing so, gets rid of the bacteria that’s keeping odor in your clothes.
It’s safe for all types of fabric, and works with high-efficiency washers as well as regular ones. This detergent is safe for septic systems and it’s biodegradable and not tested on animals, so it’s one of the most eco-friendly detergents you will find.
- Removes oils that cause odor
- Comes in a fragrance-free, dye-free, eco-friendly version
- Compatible with high efficiency washers
- Can be expensive if you’re using 2 caps per load regularly
Top Powder Detergent
2. Sport Suds Laundry Detergent
If you prefer powder to liquid detergent, Sports Suds is our top choice. It’s a hypoallergenic, non-toxic formula that should go easy on any skin, sensitive or not.
It has multiple useful functions, such as dislodging odor-causing bacteria, removing body oils, removing chemical residue left by other detergents, promoting moisture-wicking ability of athletic wear, and helping compression gear return to its natural compression state.
You can use it in both front-loaders or high-efficiency washing machines. In order for the powder to dissolve properly, it needs a warm wash. If you prefer washing in cold water, this detergent might not work for you.
It’s gentle enough for daily use, and you can get around 140 washes out of one pouch. Just one tablespoon is needed per load.
- Non-toxic and hypoallergenic formula
- Leaves no residue
- Suitable for daily use
- +-140 washes from one pouch
- Not suitable for cold washes
Best Antimicrobial Detergent
3. No Sweat The Secret Agent Sports Wash
While all of the best detergents for gym clothes will have some form of bacteria removal, this is an antimicrobial option. It kills bacteria, not just removes them, using an enzyme-based antifungal Odorlift formula.
As well as dissolving toxins and killing bacteria, it will go easy on fabrics and skin, with no chemicals or dyes in it. The light citrus scent comes from essential oils, which are natural and safe. If you want something to remove sweat odor, The Secret Agent is great. If you want it to leave a strong scent on your clothes, it may not be the best choice for you.
It’s suitable for all types of washers, although they recommend using half the usual dose if you have a top-loader.
- Antimicrobial formula
- Scented with essential oils
- Cold or warm wash
- Some clients may find the scent to be almost non-existent
Top Fabric Restorer Detergent
4. Sweat X Sport Extreme Laundry Detergent
Most detergents serve the purpose of cleaning fabric very well. This one, though, has an extra element to it: to restore the fabric to its store-bought state.
Athletic apparel’s special features, like moisture-wicking, breathability and compression properties, tend to lose their effectiveness the more they’re washed. This detergent restores those properties, keeping your clothes effective for longer.
It not only strengthens moisture-wicking and improves breathability, but it stops compression gear from losing its tightness.
Also, this detergent has stain removal properties, which many others don’t offer. That’s a big pro, especially if you’re washing clothes that have grass, blood, or mud stains on them.
You’ll find it’s also gentle on clothes, skin and the environment, being non-toxic and biodegradable.
- Improves moisture-wicking and breathability of fabric
- Maintains compression gear’s tightness
- Removes stains
- Non-toxic and biodegradable
- Not many customer reviews, so it’s hard to get a good idea of its quality
Best High Efficiency Powder
5. Tide Odor Rescue
As its name suggests, Tide Odor Rescue is designed to get rid of bad smells in your clothes and leave them with a fresh scent.
It achieves this by using its Odor Defense technology, which breaks down the very causes of odor at the source, and removes them at fiber level, not just on the surface.
It’s most effective when used in conjunction with another detergent. Just follow the instructions as to how to use it, and your clothing will get an odor-releasing boost.
It also helps get rid of stains, which not all products do. If you have a high efficiency washing machine, you can use Odor Rescue safely and without any worries, as well as in a regular machine.
- Cleans at fiber level
- Stain removing properties
- Use with any detergent
- Safe for use in high efficiency washing machines
- Can be harmful if ingested or if it comes into contact with the eyes
Top Hypoallergenic Detergent
6. WIN Sports Detergent – Free & Clear
If you or a sports person whose clothes you wash has sensitive skin and is prone to allergies, you want a hypoallergenic detergent made specifically to not cause skin irritation.
WIN Free and Clear detergent is every bit as good as their regular formula, only it’s free from dyes, fragrances, and chemicals. It is biodegradable and environmentally-friendly.
You can buy it in a pack of 4 bottles, so not only are you getting something that’s good for your skin and good for the planet, but you’re also getting a great deal.
It is very effective at removing odors and can be used in any type of washing machine. The only downside is that if you want stain removal technology, you will have to use another detergent.
- Hypoallergenic and free of all toxins
- Value for money—comes in a pack of 4
- No stain removal technology
Best Stain Removal Detergent
7. Nathan Power Wash Performance Detergent
It’s always good to find a detergent that serves more than one purpose, and this one helps with both odors and stains.
It’s made from all-natural ingredients and is pH neutral, which helps prevent damage to fabric and stops the color from fading. It is fragrance-free and dye-free, and leaves no residue. You can use it on technical fabrics safely.
The stain removal is this detergent’s best feature, and it works for all types of stains. Whether you took a digger in the mud or spilled wine on your favorite running gear (No judging. High-five), this detergent will get rid of it and leave your clothing looking like new.
You can get it in three different sizes depending on your needs. Some customers reported that their clothing needed more than one wash to remove the smell, but it worked very effectively on a single wash for others.
The only thing that is a slight downside is the price. But for the highly effective stain removal properties and the odor-removal features, it’s acceptable.
- pH neutral
- Won’t cause color fading
- Available in 3 size bottles
- Removes all types of stains
Best Detergent for Sensitive Skin
8. Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin
For those whose skin is sensitive to the detergent they wash their clothes with, Arm & Hammer detergent is designed to be gentle on skin that needs extra care.
It’s hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, and has been dermatologically tested to ensure that it actually works. It’s non-abrasive and safe for use on baby clothes, so if you have little ones, this should be a great all-round detergent to use.
The low-suds formula means you get the most out of every wash, and you can use it equally as effectively in regular or high-efficiency washing machines.
- Dermatologically tested
- Hypoallergenic and fragrance-free
- Low-suds formula
- For standard or HE washing machines
- The cap is prone to leaking
Top Unscented Powder
9. HEX Performance Laundry Detergent
Sometimes all you want is for the bad smell in your clothes to disappear. You don’t need them to smell like citrus or a fresh forest breeze.
An unscented detergent is perfect for this, and this is our top pick. It’s created specifically for activewear, and is safe and eco-friendly.
There is a faint, neutral scent that would be suitable for anybody who doesn’t want their clothes with a smell after washing.
Each container has enough pods for 55 loads. It’s convenient that you don’t need to measure anything – just throw one of these in the machine. They’re also perfectly suitable for all machine types, as well as washing at any temperature.
- Designed for activewear
- Sensitive skin formula
- Protects fabrics against damage
- Works at all water temperatures
- May be less effective for certain items like sports bras
Best Laundry Balls
10. Grateful House Laundry Balls
Laundry balls are a unique alternative to your typical detergent. If you have extremely sensitive skin or just want a way to clean your clothes that has absolutely no chance of including chemicals, dyes, or fragrances, these laundry balls are a good choice.
If you don’t know how they work, they house little ceramic balls in a non-toxic outer shell. The outer shell is textured and acts a little like an old-fashioned washing board for scrubbing.
The inner ceramic balls are all-natural and serve the purpose of alkalizing the water. This raises the pH balance and helps dirt to separate naturally.
They are reusable and end up saving you money in the long run. The only unfortunate thing is that they may not be the most effective for removing solid odors. They will have a slight odor-removing function thanks to getting rid of dirt, but they’re not as good as detergents.
- Reusable (up to 1000 washes), saving you money
- Simulates a washing board for scrubbing
- 60-day 100% money back guarantee
- No stain removal technology
- May not be as effective for removing odors as others
Why do running clothes smell even after laundry day?
If you exercise regularly, your clothes can start to build up a layer of sweat, body oils, and bacteria that just stick to synthetic fabrics. They tend to hang around and cause a bad smell.
Sometimes, they stay even after washing. Most detergents were created for fabrics like cotton that don’t hold odor as much as synthetics. This means they aren’t as efficient when it comes to removing scents from synthetic fabrics.
And synthetic fabrics – the ones commonly used in workout clothes – are notorious for keeping their bad smell even after washing. If you use merino wool clothes, those do a better job of preventing odor.
If you’ve been using a traditional detergent, it’s likely that it’s not working as well as a sports-specific one would.
How do you get sweat smell out of running clothes?
For some extra smell-removal strength, soak your clothes in cold water with a cup of white vinegar. Vinegar is a miracle odor-remover. Leave them to soak for 15 to 30 minutes, then toss them in the washing machine with your detergent of choice.
You should notice that this combination is very effective for removing any scents you don’t want hanging around.
What removes odor from clothes?
When you wash exercise clothes, an effective way to improve odor removal is to add either a cup of white distilled vinegar of a cup of baking soda to your wash. These two neutralize odors quite efficiently, and they also react well with detergent and help it to work more effectively.
What can damage the gym gear?
Washing gym gear is a more sensitive process than washing any other clothes. Adding fabric softener to the rinse cycle or simply using a dryer sheet on a high heat can have some negative effects on your gym clothing.
What other tips can help to get to the best result?
If you want the best results from your washing cycle, there are some things you can do in addition to using the best detergent for gym clothes.
- Turn your clothes inside out before putting them in the machine.
- Avoid high heat – go with cold washes instead.
- Make sure you’re using the right detergent dosage.
- Choose a sports detergent over a regular one.
- Wash similar fabrics together.
- Avoid fabric softener with gym clothes.