Fit Girl Fashion: How to Wash Your Activewear

Image: Victoria’s Secret

Last weekend, my mom and sister came into the city for brunch. Over Swedish Pancakes at Ann Sather (seriously so good), my mom looked at me and said, “So are you like a fitness person now?”

I mean, I guess? And being a “fitness person” comes with a newly expanded workout wardrobe. Because no one wants to work out three times per week in the same pair of sweaty, gross leggings. However, when you’re someone who only does laundry when you absolutely must, keeping those leggings smelling decent can get tricky.

My absolute favorite trick for how to wash Lululemon and other pricey gear is perfect for my fellow lazy girls: I bring my dirty, sweaty exercise clothes right into the shower with me and hand-wash them immediately. It’s a total two-for-one: wash yourself and your leggings at the same time! I just grab my laundry detergent from the closet and use a small amount to hand wash my sports bra, leggings and top, then hang them over the shower curtain rod to dry. Right now I’m using my normal Method detergent to hand-wash and it works just fine, but I’ve got my eye on this sport set from The Laundress. I use their stain solution and bleach alternative, and it’s an absolutely wonderful brand that works like a charm…and totally worth the splurge to take care of your clothes and prolong the lifespan of your Lulus! Or Alos, or whatever the case may be. Also, if you don’t already have one, I highly suggest purchasing a nice folding drying rack as well — do not put your luxe leggings in the dryer!

By hand-washing and air-drying after each use, I can get away with wearing my workout clothes a couple more times. Then on laundry day (you know, with a machine), I put my workout gear into mesh bags to protect them during the wash cycle and, once again, let them air-dry. Seriously, if you get nothing else out of this post, do not put your leggings in the dryer!!

Here are a few other care tips from a Lululemon guru — no, really, that’s her job title — as told to Well + Good:

  • Wash like fabrics with like fabrics (i.e. synthetics with synthetics and cottons with cottons)
  • Don’t use fabric softener; it affects your gear’s moisture-wicking abilities
  • When it comes to detergent, less is more
  • Use cold water

Cold water is a good laundry tip in general, especially if you’re like me and just wash everything at the same time regardless of what it is. What? Mesh bags are your friend when mixing colors/fabrics, and who has time to run up and down to a community laundry room all day anyway? Or that many quarters, for that matter.

So now that you know how to properly wash your fancy $100 leggings, go snag a new pair — and some new tools to take proper care of them, too: