How to Wash Activewear

If you're anything like the team here at Nimble Activewear, you practically live in your activewear. Everyday wear of your favourite leggings, comfy sports bras & tops means caring for these pieces is essential.

Our design team manages the product process from end-to-end, design, material sourcing and production through to delivery so we truly understand the importance of keeping your activewear fresh and lasting, which is why we've compiled this comprehensive guide on how to properly wash and care for your activewear. From washing frequency to drying techniques, we've got you covered to ensure your gym kit stays in top condition.

Whether you’re a HIIT enthusiast, part-time runner or weekend yogi looking for how to best care for your favourite activewear pieces, this is the guide for you.

Our top tips for washing your activewear are listed below:

  1. Do not soak - a general rule of thumb is do not soak your activewear - soaking for long periods of time can lead to the degradation of the elastane (which gives that 4-way stretch) it can also lead to colour changes too.
  2. Turn leggings & gym tops inside out - this will help protect your activewear and can help get a deeper clean. The inside of the garment has the closest contact with your skin and sweat and is a key contributor for activewear starting to smell.
  3. Wash with similar colours - it’s ok to mix activewear and regular clothing, but washing with similar colours will help reduce the chance of any discolouration. Additionally, washing separately from towels and linen will help with unwanted fluff eg. a white towel in with your black leggings. If you wear our in-tempo styles, make sure you check your pockets for leftover coffee receipts to avoid paper remnants strewn through your washing.
  4. Laundry detergent is ok - but no softener! You are fine to use your favourite laundry detergent, but please make sure it doesn't have softener in it.
  5. Do not use fabric softener when washing activewear - Fabric softener adds a coating to the fabric which impedes the fabrics moisture wicking ability. Think of it like a layer that stops water getting to the surface to dry.
  6. Cold machine wash - this tip is essential: cold water washes are just as effective as hot water washes but are better for the environment. Washing in cold water also helps to reduce the risk of colour migration from other items in your wash.
  7. Use a regular or gentle cycle - Nimble Activewear high intensity styles like our In-Tempo leggings can be washed on a regular cycle as they are more robust and durable in nature. Our low Intensity styles like In-Motion & Essentials are best washed on a gentle cycle to maintain softness and look.
  8. Remove from the washing machine as soon as possible! Important for a number of reasons - the longer clothes sit wet, the more likely they are to develop a musty smell, are more likely to crease and some discolouration may occur.
  9. Hang dry when you can, but tumble drying is OK. We all know time can be tight, and weather not that favourable, and you might not want your living room looking like a laundry mat, so choose the method that works best for you - we would rather you get back out there in your gear then waiting for the optimal conditions.
    • Hang to dry in a well ventilated area and try to avoid direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Over time, repeated sunlight can damage the garments and cause discolouration.
    • Tumble drying is generally fine. Ensure you use a low temperature and do not add any fabric softener sheets as these can create a coating over the fabric that inhibits sweat wicking during performance.

Some final tips that are “nice-to-have” but not always achievable with our busy lifestyles:

  • Wash sweaty leggings & sports bras as soon as you can - Letting sweaty activewear sit wet is no good for anyone or anything. Sweaty leggings & sports bras stuffed into your gym bag is only going to mean replacing your gym bag before too long.
  • Air your activewear- If you cannot wash your activewear right away, like those who opt for the early morning spin class, or a beach swim in our Sweat & Splash styles, do your best to air out your activewear before you can get them in the wash. until its time to wash. Try drapingover a chair or railing - somewhere with a little ventilation to help air them out.

At Nimble Activewear, we know that you can’t always wash your leggings, sports bras and tops immediately. It’s no secret that after a while your favourite activewear styles may develop an odor. So what do you do when no amount of washing or air drying will remove that sweat smell? The below tips and advice is to extend the life of your favourite pieces:

How to remove the sweat smell from your favourite activewear:

  • Presoak activewear in vinegar- Vinegar is a great natural cleaning ingredient and can be used in multiple ways to help clean your workout gear:
    • After air-drying your sweaty activewear, place simiilar colours in a bucket or sink with one part vinegar to 5 parts water.fill your sink with one part vinegar and five parts water. The vinegar will help break down the odor causing bacteria.
    • Leave your activewear to soak in this solution for 30 minutes, and then throw it in the wash right away. Don’t worry about the vinegar smell, the small amount of vinegar used isn’t strong enough to linger after the wash or rinse cycle when washing with detergent.
    • If you don’t have time for a pre-soak, try adding ½ a cup of vinegar to your wash if you aren't able to pre-soak.
  • Wash in a higher heat - Ideally we wash with cold water, because its better for the environment and the longevity of your activewear over time, but when stubborn smells persist, an occasional hot wash can help to kill of the odor smelling bacteria a little better - (just be sure to check the care labels of your activewear first).
  • Drying in the Sun - The sun’s U.V. rays actually kill bacteria. So hanging your workout gear to dry naturally in the sun will help you eliminate bacteria, and fresh air will keep your gear smelling good. Just remember to not keep it in the sun for any longer then it needs to be, as mentioned above - extended explore to direct sunlight can damage your activewear over time.

Avoid rubbing vigorously as it can damage the fabric. Instead, blot the stain gently with a clean cloth and laundry as above.

With these tips for washing your workout gear, you can keep your technical fabrics looking brand new for much longer — and keep you moving your body.