Getting the funk out of athletic wear

Discussion in 'Shoes and Apparel' started by Cindysphinx, Aug 11, 2017 at 9:55 AM.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,422
    For years, I have looked for a solution to get the godawful persistent funk out of dry-fit athletic shirts. My shirts get so vile mid-workout that even I can't stand the smell of me, and god help any tennis friends stuck in a car with me on the way home. I found that putting Oxyclean into the wash helps, and the clothing smells OK afterward. But the funk returns like the grim reaper the next time I wear it.

    I tried pricey sports detergents like WIN. Febreeze sports detergent. Vinegar. Cold wash. Hot wash. Double wash. Double rinse. Putting them in the freezer. Borax. Oxyclean. Chlorox 2. Some things helped a little, but I was thinking of throwing out all my shirts and starting over.

    Well, I cracked the code. My new laundry routine for dri-fit shirts is:

    Put hot water into a small bin or bucket just large enough to hold the items. Add a crazy amount of Oxyclean (2+ heaping scoops). While that dissolves, hand wash the items in warm water and laundry soap.

    Rinse the clothes in the sink, then put them into the Oxyclean cauldron and stir. Let them sit there for a day or overnight, giving it a stir whenever you are in the vicinity.

    Remove from the Oxyclean solution and launder as usual; air dry.

    As I type this, I am wearing a dry-fit shirt after having done a hard, sweaty workout. I swear, it smells perfectly fine. So far, I have only done this with inexpensive shirts -- I can't risk any Lululemon leggings that cost $$$. Since I was on the verge of throwing the shirts out, it was worth the risk. I'm not seeing any ill effects in the fabric so far.

    You have no idea how the quality of my life will improve now that I don't have to worry about reeking athletic clothing. No longer will unlucky bystanders wonder whether I have adopted a skunk.

    Now I need to do some testing and gradually reduce the amount of Oxyclean until I find a suitable ratio.
     
    MAX PLY likes this.
    #1
  2. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,158
    ^^^I do something similar but use Borax--I put Borax and water into our laundry room sink (it's huge) and put my clothes in there when I get home from playing/training--they may soak for as much as a day depending on when/how much I have played and how many athletic clothes I wear. Then I launder them with an OxyClean pre-soak (my machine has a pre-soak feature), Tide detergent and Lysol laundry sanitizer (placed as instructed in the fabric softener slot), then hang to air dry. Makes the clothes last longer but the funk is ultimately unstoppable.
     
    #2
  3. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,422
    Try the Oxyclean-only method. It might save you some steps and some money.

    I tried the machine pre-wash method with Oxyclean, but that alone wasn't fierce enough to stop the funk.

    How about this -- my shirt was so odorless after my sweaty workout that I could have worn it again without washing it.

    Amazing.
     
    #3
  4. RyanRF

    RyanRF Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    Messages:
    701
    Location:
    SoCal
    I use the same method for hats and wristbands.

    Fill sink with water and hand-wash with plenty of Oxyclean. Let it soak for a while, then rinse. Hang to dry.

    Works great.
     
    #4
  5. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Messages:
    16,326
    Location:
    So Cal
    I use mildly scented anti-bacteria soap and a toothbrush and a lot of rubbing in the areas that get jacked up - neck and armpits for me. Then while still wet from that into the washer for a std washing.

    Good luck.
     
    #5
  6. Harry_Wild

    Harry_Wild Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Messages:
    3,246
    Try some of these green crystals that you load into the wash before it begins. I don't know the brand or the name, but has a nice smell afterwards. You can use as much as you like but I just use just a about 10 crystals each wash load.
     
    #6
  7. Tennis_Hands

    Tennis_Hands G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Messages:
    11,495
    Location:
    Inside the service box - the business end
    That interesting.

    Some time ago a poster was bragging about how Lululemon stuff doesn't smell due to some treatment or something like that.

    Is that your experience?

    Other than that, once such items start to stink they are ready for the bin.

    Treatement is a palliative measure and mostly waste of resources.

    Alternatively use cotton, but it has other disadvantages.

    Best is merino wool, but in summer it is not an option.
     
    #7
  8. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    19,198
    Love the pink crystals. You will smell marvelous, like Fabuloso!
    [​IMG]
     
    #8
  9. Toyo

    Toyo Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    Messages:
    163
    That was probably me you're talking about.

    Lululemons quality has gone way down and the prices have gone way up recently. Don't bother with them anymore - a pure waste of money.

    As for the funky smell, I just usually soak my items in vinegar/water overnight and then machine wash them as usual.
     
    #9
  10. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    19,198
    Ever try diluted peroxide & baking soda? And/or Tide Sport? Must be someone familiar with hockey gear to chime in?
     
    #10
  11. Toyo

    Toyo Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    Messages:
    163
    I haven't tried peroxide but i hear that works too. I'm just trying to stay away from chemicals and the vinegar/water solution is cheaper
     
    #11
  12. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,422
    I read that when Oxyclean combines with water, it becomes Hydrogen Peroxide.

    I have a few Lululemon items, but only leggings; no shirts. None of my leggings get funky, even the $14 ones from Costco. The problem is limited to shirts and sports bras.

    My shirts are all $12 shirts from Target.

    Their are lots of detergents that will mask the smell. But the minute some sweat hits it, that zombie funk comes right back.
     
    #12
  13. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    19,198
    Read yrs ago that adding silver to fabric helps,
    http://info.lululemon.com/design/fabrics-technology/silverescent
    http://www.agiene.com/the-power-of-silver/
     
    #13
  14. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    3,621

    Cindy,

    Are you in the habit of using fabric softener? Fabric softener kills the wicking qualities of athletic wear and will allow funk to accumulate because the fabric ceases to breath. My rules are no softener no fragrance. I use a similar overnight soaking process for white tennis gear but a pre-treat is applied prior to the pre-wash hand wash/soak.

    I have found HE washing machines to be way less effective at getting clothes truly clean, especially the rinse. HE washers and low flow shower heads are the Devil's work. So I trick the machine into adding more water by fully drenching the clothes before adding the load to the machine. The extra weight does the trick. Or, I will do a pre-wash with a no-spin finish before washing again.

    Never had a problem with demonic funk, though.
     
    #14
  15. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,422
    No, no fabric softener here. I never even understood the point of fabric softener. Or dryer sheets.
     
    #15
  16. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,863
    Location:
    Seattle
    That's one reason I hate dryfit type gear. Mildew love it to much.
     
    #16
  17. gbc08

    gbc08 New User

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    27
    Stopped wearing dry fit , polyester clothes years ago. Awful smell from tennis clothes have long disappeared. Wear only high
    quality cotton. May get more damp, but no longer have to deal with polyester smell.
     
    #17
  18. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    19,198
    TW carried TASC bamboo/hemp t-shirts bITD. Had a bamboo t-shirt, no O'dear stink.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017 at 4:47 PM
    #18
  19. bigdaddyps

    bigdaddyps Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2013
    Messages:
    400
    If a regular washing machine with a decent detergent doesn't work, then u dudes got some world class virulent funk ass stank!
    Wow!
     
    rogerroger917 likes this.
    #19
  20. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    22,973
    Location:
    On my iPhone
    The game changer for me was to take everything off and throw them in the shower with me. I basically rinse the clothes out that way and then I wash them after. Made a nice difference.
     
    #20
  21. Kevin T

    Kevin T Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2004
    Messages:
    1,714
    Location:
    Too far from the Blue Ridge

    This. Only wear natural fibers, even when I lived in swampy Charleston, SC. Bamboo is fantastic and no funk. I own multiple polos and undies made from bamboo. My personal fave is silk weight merino wool t shirts from Patagonia/Icebreaker/Ibex. I've worn merino wool on multi-day camping trips and it never gets stinky. Outside of summer, I'm totally fine wearing organic cotton and changing my shirt when necessary. I also play a lot of squash and there's nothing worse than being trapped in a box with someone and their ultra-funky poly shirt. :)
     
    #21
  22. ArliHawk

    ArliHawk Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Messages:
    2,629
    Using a sports specific detergent works for me.
     
    #22
  23. rogerroger917

    rogerroger917 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2017
    Messages:
    107
    My drifit stuff doesn't stink after washes. You guys must have toxic odor. Ha ha.
     
    XFactorer likes this.
    #23
  24. TahoeTennis

    TahoeTennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,593
    #24
  25. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2007
    Messages:
    4,256
    And if you install a garbage disposal in your shower drain, you can make a salad while in there as well...

    [​IMG]
     
    dave t and Power Player like this.
    #25
  26. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    22,973
    Location:
    On my iPhone

    One of the best episodes ever.
     
    #26
  27. XFactorer

    XFactorer Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Messages:
    2,498
    Location:
    West Coast
    Before you talk about actually washing the items, what's the routine between when you're finished wearing them and when they're in the wash? Do they sit in a damp hamper with other damp clothes? Do you lay them flat or hang them up to dry first? Are there any opportunities there for changes?
     
    #27
  28. XFactorer

    XFactorer Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Messages:
    2,498
    Location:
    West Coast
    Some Lulu items have the silverescent technology (silver ions or whatever incorporated into the threads to prevent bacterial growth). I've not had an issue with smelly clothes, so I can't vouch for how effective it is for me, but I do wear Lulu tops and bottoms.
     
    #28
  29. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    4,866
    I haven't found dri-fit type clothing to stink for me, but my BO is not that bad in general.

    For those facing stinky dri-fit, is it just your normal BO from exercise? Less of and less intense (but same BO) with cotton?

    Could BO be related to diet and health? I heard some animals can smell when humans are sick or have some disease.
     
    NuBas likes this.
    #29
  30. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    4,866
    Not sure if they smell less, but LuLu used to make great yoga pants. Super comfy and stretchy. Great for those with a bulbous derriere.
     
    #30

Share This Page