Not all laundry is created equal. This is especially true when it comes to your workout clothes. And while your sweat-wicking tanks can probably survive a few laundry mishaps, your sports bras are less resilient and need to be treated with care if you want them to last.
We asked expert Mollie Barr, project manager for women’s studio apparel and sports bras at New Balance, for her tips on extending the life span of your most important fitness apparel, and here’s what she had to say.
1. Skip the dryer. “Excessive heat will break down the fabric and shorten your bra’s glory days,” says Barr. Which is also why, even if your bras are white, you shouldn’t be running them on a high-temperature setting (machines with a whites setting often run at 130°F or above).
2. Use a sportswear-specific laundry detergent. Regular laundry detergent formulas for the most part haven’t been updated in ages and are still formulated to work best on classic fibers like cotton or wool. Most fitness apparel is, for all intents and purposes, made of plastics, which is why you’ll sometimes notice a lingering not-100-percent-clean smell even after washing workout clothes you’ve worn and washed a few times. Using a detergent that’s specially formulated for fitness apparel, like HEX, will ensure your clothes are actually getting clean without any of the potentially harmful effects of old-school detergents.
So there you have it. Avoid excessive heat (don’t worry, your Bikram yoga class doesn’t count) and switch to a laundry detergent designed specifically for your sports bras.