Jeans? What are those? Quarantine has us wearing our tanks and leggings all.the.time (and wondering how to make workout gear last longer). From Zoom meetings to backyard workouts, our tech shirts and stretch shorts are getting even more mileage than during race season. Thankfully they’re exponentially more comfortable than jeans and slightly less forgiving than sweatpants.
All that wear means we’re washing our gear more often. So how’s a Spartan to make those shirts, shorts, and shoes last for as long as possible (while still getting out the inevitable stink)? We asked our crew of pro coaches, as well as you — members of our community — to share the hacks they use to get their workout clothes the cleanest during quarantine. As SGX coach Don Devaney says, “Taking your time to manage your gear, as well as you manage your body, is paramount.”
Related Content: How to Get Your Race Gear (Actually) Clean After a Race
How to Make Your Workout Gear Last Longer
Hack #1: Take the Time to Hand-Wash
We know: After a grueling workout (or even a long day during a pandemic), the last thing you want to do is spend more energy cleaning your gear. But particularly for the Spartan tech fabric clothes, like our Craft Urban Run Fuseknit tees, hand-washing is the best policy for preserving them long-term. According to Devaney, you want to hand-wash your socks and compression gear, too. “I have had winter weight CW-x leggings since 2009. They’ve finished four Death Races, among others, and they’re still in good shape,” he says. If and when you can, our pros also recommend rotating your gear as often as possible to extend its longevity — including your shoes.
Hack #2: Get Rid of the Stink
It’s no secret that Spartans sweat hard in their gear — and it doesn’t smell like roses. Always wash workout fabrics in cold water and use less detergent in order to maintain the performance of tech apparel, like our Craft 2-in-1 shorts, which are made with Lycra Sport Energy fabric. SGX coach Christopher Chan says to not use fabric softener because it will break down the nylon and spandex in your clothes (plus it holds in odors). To get that extra stench out after a particularly hardcore session, one of our Spartans likes to use Smell Well, a freshener that absorbs moisture and removes odor.
Hack #3: Don’t Use The Dryer ... But Dry ASAP
This may be a duh moment for some of you — but always hang your gear and let it air-dry. Why? The heat from a dryer can damage technical fabrics like our compression tights and make your clothes change shape. But it is important to dry soon after exercising. SGX Coach Taylor Overmiller explains that the longer you wait, the more bacteria will accumulate, and it will be harder to flush out.
Hack #4: Take Special Care of Your Shoes
Spartan shoes are pretty indestructible. But cleaning and airing them out after intense workouts is essential to making them last. Overmiller shared a few hacks for taking care of shoes like the Craft Fuseknit training shoes: After a race, he wedges them face up under his car’s windshield and drapes the top layer over the passenger seat, turning the vents towards them while blasting the AC. He also puts them on a rack, placed over a heating vent, when he gets home, to dry them out. Several of our community members give their shoes the equivalent of a car wash, hosing them down and air-drying them, or stuffing them with newspaper to absorb the moisture.
Hack #5: Turn Your Bucket Into a Cleaning Machine
That bucket can do more than just help you cross the finish line: SGX coach Nick Bartolotti soaks his workout gear in four gallons of water and a cup of vinegar after races in a Spartan bucket. Then, he puts those wet clothes into the washer and adds a half cup of baking soda, along with the detergent. Make sure you’ve rinsed off all the mud before putting them in, though! Another member of our community soaks her clothes in the bucket with soap, rinses them with a hose, and then double washes them after.