cleaning,  laundry,  Running

How to Get the Sweat Smell Out of Workout Clothes

I’m airing my dirty laundry today.

I’ve mentioned before that my husband runs to work. I do mean that literally. He runs 6.5 miles each way. Maybe once or twice a week I have mercy on him and offer him a ride, but he usually prefers to round-trip it. That’s 13 miles per day in the Atlanta heat and humidity. When he gets home, he looks like he has jumped into a lake during a rainstorm. He’s that wet. There is not a dry spot on him. He leaves sweaty footprints on the floor if I don’t have a towel out for him to stand on. It’s gross.

no-one-ever-drowned-in-sweat-best-motivational-running-quotes-300x300                                                                                                       image from

Now, I’m not trying to pick on him, it’s just to illustrate that our laundry situation is not for the faint of heart.

When my husband started running, I realized that even after I laundered his clothes, they still smelled. I couldn’t get the sweat smell out. I tried multiple washings, I tried specialty products. Nothing worked. I hope we aren’t the only ones with this problem! Maybe his sweat is just extra…special??

It took some trial, error and desperation, but I found a solution that works for us.


If should be noted that my husband doesn’t run in cotton shirts or shorts. He’s wearing actual running/workout clothes – the dry fit type. These clothes happen to be made of that product we all used to make fun of – polyester.

So, here’s what I do to get his clothes smelling fresh and clean. Start with a bucket, large pot or even your sink if you can give it up for a few hours.


Next, you’ll need some Oxiclean and some dirty workout clothes. The Oxiclean folks don’t know me, this is just what I’ve found works. I used to get the generic version from Target, but I haven’t seen it in awhile. It worked just the same.



You’re going to want to use an entire scoop of OxiClean. I know, I know. It seems like a lot – it is. Add the entire scoop to no more than 4 pieces of clothing. You need a super high concentration of the Oxiclean for it to work its magic.



Fill your bucket, pot or sink with hot water, making sure to fully dissolve the Oxiclean.

You’ll want enough water to cover the clothing and give the clothes a little space to move.



Agitate the mixture a little. I’ll use a spoon, tongs – that water is HOT! It’s almost as if you are making a sweaty clothes soup. Eww. Don’t worry…this pot is strictly reserved for laundry. I swear I don’t make chili in it. Or do I? 😉


You’ll want the mixture to sit for at least a few hours until the water has cooled.

If you remember, give it a stir every once in awhile to agitate the clothes.


When the clothes are finished soaking it is time to drain the water off. The fun just keeps coming, folks!

Now, when I drain the water off it is brown. It’s really gross. I then throw the clothes into the washing machine and wash them with cold water. Since I’m usually combining them with other clothes to make a full load, there will be a little bit more OxiClean added to the machine. (I add it to every load I do.)

The last part is very important. Make sure you AIR DRY the clothes. Putting them in the dryer is not good – that just bakes the smell in. Air dry is the way to go.

I hope this works for you if you have the same stinky, sweaty problem we do. Not everyone does, I realize. My hubby is just…talented that way, I suppose! 🙂 Anyway, having clothes that smell springy fresh makes me much happier…until I have to clean them again! Ah, the circle of life…errr, laundry.

P.S. Please read the labels on your clothing before deciding to use this method. Not following the manufacturer’s directions is risky and I’m sure can lead to unintended results. If your clothes are already ruined because they stink, then you have nothing to lose. P.S.S. Kudos to you to working out and getting sweaty. Keep it up! 

Thanks for hanging out with me today! Here are some other posts you might find interesting.

How to Crew for an Ultra Marathon Runner

Using an Old Door to Hang Race Medals

That One Time I Went on a Trail Run

Bracing for Achilles Tendonitis

I Tried It: Mineral Salt Deodorant 


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  • Candace

    I would love to run to work but logistically seems tricky. I assume he has a shower at work? Leaves work clothes there? Does he run with his wallet, phone, and keys?

    • annisa

      Yes! Logistics are tricky! He does have a shower at work. He’s had both scenarios where there’s a locker available to store his gear and another where he had to keep everything at his desk. He used a lot of odor absorbing balls in his shoes then! He runs with wallet, phone, keys, change of clothes, small towel and a lunch. He uses a backpack designed by Dueter. It works really well for run commuting. He rolls his clothes to prevent wrinkling and he keeps a pair of dress shoes at work. Shoes are heavy! Alternatively, you could always take public transportation (if possible) to work and then run home a day or two a week. I have heard of people who run to a YMCA or gym where they have shower privileges if their work doesn’t provide them. Let me know if you have any more questions. 🙂

  • rose

    can’t wait to try this! been having this problem lately w/ my workout clothes – I’ve tried a number of things! Thank you for sharing!

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