Read these 5 Caring For Your Sports Apparel Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Sports Apparel tips and hundreds of other topics.
Cocona, a fabric that contains active carbon made from recycled coconut shells, provides both sun protection and odor resistance. Some sports apparel manufacturers now offer clothes made from this material, such as the Vapor collection from Champion's sports clothing line. The Cocona company specifically recommends washing their clothes in warm water and drying them in the dryer, rather than hanging them to dry, to maximize the odor management characteristics of the carbon-based fabric. But consider the style of garment and the potential for shrinkage before putting sports apparel in the dryer, and read the label for guidance. If you are concerned about shrinkage, avoid the dryer and dry the Vapor athletic clothing or other Cocona fabrics with a hand-held hair dryer.
Do you have a spot on your favorite jacket but you don't have the time or inclination to put it in the washing machine? Spot-clean the area by dabbing some gentle detergent on a washcloth and wetting the spot with some sudsy water, then blot it again with water to remove the suds, and let it dry. If it's a food stain, try spot-cleaning with a bit of dishwashing liquid on a damp rag or sponge. Most sports apparel is fairly easy to clean and wet spots dry quickly. But underarm sweat stains are an exception. Sweat stains are notoriously tough to clean, especially on light-colored bras and sports shirts, but if you notice them early and pre-treat them with a stain removal product before washing, you have a better chance of keeping them at bay.
Although the labels on some sports apparel may say that washing in warm water is OK, washing in cold prolongs the elastic properties of the fabric. Read the labels! Most sports clothes made from moisture-wicking fabrics specifically recommend cold-water washing. For best results in washing most sports apparel, use cold water on the delicate cycle in the washing machine, or hand wash the clothes in the sink, then hang the clothes to dry. Again, the labels on some sports clothing say that tumble drying them on low power is OK, but air drying will make them last longer because the heat from the dryer can be tough on elastic. Need it fast? Don't worry; the same moisture-wicking properties that keep your skin dry cause moisture-wicking and Lycra sports apparel to dry quickly. Hang your sports apparel on plastic hangers or a drying rack for an hour or so and it will be mostly dry; after a few hours it should be completely dry.
Choose a detergent that is designed for the gentle cycle of the washing machine for your sports apparel. Quality fitness clothes are an investment, and they will last for years if you take care of them. Use gentle detergents such as Woolite or Downy that are designed for the gentle cycle of the washing machine. When washing black or colorful clothes, try Woolite Dark, which is a gentle detergent formulated for black clothes and colors to help keep them from fading. If you just need to wash out that favorite bra for tomorrow's yoga class, fill the sink with cold water and no more than ¼ cup of detergent. Wash the garment in soapy water, then empty the sink, refill with cold water, rinse, and hang to dry.
You may be tempted to send your workout sports jackets to the dry cleaner along with other clothing made from delicate fabrics, but don't do it. The chemicals used in dry cleaning can break down the water-repellent properties of sports jackets and defeat their purpose of keeping you warm and dry. Since sports jackets aren't worn next to the skin, they don't need to be washed after every workout. But when they get sufficiently dirty, wash sports jackets or vests on the gentle cycle of the washing machine with cold water and use a gentle cycle detergent, such as Woolite. Then hang them to dry for about an hour and you'll be ready for your next workout.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|