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Handle Your Gym Clothes with Care

Even your gym clothes regularly get a workout—when you exercise, you are not only sweating, you are also shedding dead skin cells and body oils, so you need to remove both odors and grime when cleaning them. Yet proper laundering can pose some problems. Most exercise clothing is made of delicate synthetic stretch fabrics that need special handling—for one thing, they are not tolerant of strong detergents or fabric softeners. Always read the care labels carefully, especially for high-end brands. From The Total Fitness Manual.

Here are some pointers for getting the most life out of your hard-working gym duds:

RINSE OUT SWEAT Rinse out sweaty clothes while still at the gym, and place them in a zip-lock bag.

PRESOAK GARMENTS Remove sour odors by presoaking soiled clothing in a basin of cold water with 1 cup (237 ml) of white vinegar for 15 minutes. You can also add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle.

AVOID SOFTENERS Avoid using fabric softeners on synthetics; they leave behind a coating that can lock in odors and damage delicate elastic fibers.

HOLD THE BLEACH Never use chlorine bleach.

TURN EVERYTHING INSIDE OUT Before you throw your workout clothes into the wash cycle, turn them inside out to protect colors and expose the most soiled areas.

MEASURE SPARINGLY Use slightly less detergent than recommended, and wash your load in cold water. Or look for detergents that are made specifically for workout clothing.

KEEP IT COOL Air-dry clothing or machine dry at the lowest setting. High heat can cause synthetic and stretch fabrics to shrink and lose flexibility.

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