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How To ‘Spring Clean’ Your Fitness Gear

Posted on: by Gina Beretta
Fitness gear that needs to be spring cleaned

By Gina Beretta

Ahh, the circle of life (for your fitness clothes). Like the milk in your fridge, even your favourite sports bra, has an expiry date. All good things must come to an end, right?

Serious question… when was the last time you cleaned out your gym drawer? You really do put your fitness gear through it’s paces. All that sweating, washing and wearing will ultimately compromise your comfort and performance. So, here we’re giving you the tools you need so that you’ll know when it’s time to ‘throw in the towel’ – or, rather, your bra, tops and socks.

Compression garments 

workout-pants
Life span: Six months to one year

Designed to help increase circulation, compression tights, socks and sleeves may help speed post-workout recovery too, research suggests. Inevitably, though, they stretch over time and lose efficacy.

Time to toss
Compression clothes should have a super-snug, almost uncomfortable fit. If it’s getting easier and easier to slide them on or if fibres are coming out of the fabric, you’re probably not getting the full benefits.

Make ’em last
Wash after every (yes, every) wear, since body oils and dirt can compromise their compression. Don’t machine-dry and avoid wringing and twisting.

Sports bra

workout-sports-bra
Life span: One year (or less, if you’re doing high-impact workouts)

Supporting the girls is no easy task: the physical stress of stopping boob bounce degrades a bra’s elasticity.

Time to toss
You’re starting to chafe, the bra rides up when you raise your arms or your boobs move more during workouts.

Make ’em last
Cleaning by hand is ideal, but if you do use the machine, fasten hooks first, put the bra in a mesh washing bag, then drip-dry to avoid warping.

Swimming costume

swimming-costume
Life span: Six months to two years

Pool chemicals break down the fibres, making your cozzie lose shape; this creates drag, which can slow you down.

Time to toss
Baggy crotch, faded spots or tiny white fibres popping out.

Make ’em last
Rinse with tap water post-swim. Squeeze out excess water and lay flat to dry.

Socks

workout-socks
Life span: One to three years

That thin fabric can hold up to your stepping and sliding only so long, leaving you prone to painful friction and blisters when it gives out.

Time to toss
They’re stretched out, you see holes in the heel or around the ball of your foot, or you get more blisters than usual.

Make ’em last
Wear them only during your workout. Dry on low heat to prevent shrinkage.

Moisture-wicking tops

workout-top
Life span: Six months to five years plus

These shirts draw sweat away from your skin to help regulate body temp. Most synthetics are chemically treated or have technology woven in that lasts 25 to 50 washes.

Time to toss
It can be hard to tell, but gradually they’ll become less effective at keeping you dry.

Make ’em last
Follow washing directions religiously to prevent wicking power from fading prematurely.

Waterproof jackets 

workout-jacket
Life span: Five years plus

A good topper can protect you in two ways: the layers block moisture so it can’t penetrate and they also prevent sweat from getting trapped. The result is breathability and dryness.

Time to toss
You’re sweating up a storm (because the coat is trapping moisture and heat), water seems to seep into the fabric, or the jacket is starting to smell (even when clean).

Make ’em last
Ideally, wash no more than twice a year to keep the chemical finish intact (but if the coat is visibly dirty, more cleaning is okay). Tumbledry in heat, which reactivates the surface repellent.

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