| | |

How to Get Rid of Sweat Stains in Gym Clothes: Quick and Easy Tips

how to get rid of sweat-stains in gym clothes-2

ListedFit is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small commission.

Sweat stains on gym clothes can be a frustrating yet common problem for those that lead an active lifestyle.

With the right knowledge and techniques that I’m about to share in this article, you can keep your workout gear looking and smelling fresh.

We will explore the reasons behind sweat stains, how to choose the right detergent, and effective methods for removing these pesky marks from your favourite activewear.

Understanding why sweat stains occur is the first step in combating these unsightly blemishes on your gym clothes.

These stains are typically caused by the combination of sweat, body oils, and chemicals found in antiperspirants or deodorants.

With this in mind, let’s delve into the different techniques you can use to remove those stubborn stains and keep your workout wardrobe looking its best.

What We’ll Cover

  • Understand the root causes of sweat stains for targeted treatment
  • How to choose the right detergents and removal methods for optimal results
  • How to utilize proper washing and drying techniques to maintain freshness

From odorous workout outfits to delicate, sweat-stained undergarments, we’ll guide you through the process every step of the way.

Understanding Sweat Stains

It’s essential to understand what causes these stains and how they can be distinguished from deodorant stains.

What Causes Sweat Stains?

It may seem an obvious question, but sweat stains, especially yellow pit stains are very common.

These yellow stains develop due to your sweat’s reaction to the aluminium present in many antiperspirants.

The combination of sweat, aluminium, and fabric is what causes these yellow sweat stains, that make your gym clothes appear less fresh and clean.

Another thing is that the composition of the fabric and the type of dye used in your gym clothes can play a big role in the development of these stains.

getting rid of sweat stains clothes 3

Sweat Stains vs Deodorant Stains

While sweat stains are primarily yellowish in colour and occur in areas with high sweat production, deodorant stains typically appear as white streaks or residue on the fabric.

This is due to the ingredients in the deodorant, such as aluminium and other chemicals.

Deodorant stains usually develop on the sides and underarms of your gym clothes, whereas yellow sweat stains tend to be localized around the armpit area.

getting rid of sweat stains deodorant spray

Detergent Suggestions

When it comes to removing sweat stains from your gym clothes, selecting the right detergent is crucial.

The ‘Odour-Causing Bacteria’ Removers

A good choice would be a detergent specifically designed to target odour-causing bacteria, such as Hex. This detergent works with all fabrics, is safe for sensitive skin, and lightly scented with essential oils for a fresh, natural smell.

You might also consider a liquid enzyme detergent, which gives you more control over dosing and helps you avoid using too much detergent. Look for detergents with enzyme-based formulas, as they are effective at breaking down protein-based stains like sweat.

The Home-Made Remover

Another option for tackling sweat stains is using a mix of simple Dawn dish soap or washing up liquid and hydrogen peroxide.

Use 1 part dish soap and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide applied to the stained area and firmly scrubbed can help remove really stubborn stains.

Be cautious when using this method on delicate fabrics or vibrant colours, as it may cause fading or damage if not used properly.

Remember to follow these tips for the best results when using your detergent:
  • Use cold water and a gentle cycle on your washing machine. Cold water can help prevent fading and preserve the fit of synthetic fabrics.
  • Don’t overload the washing machine. Laundry needs plenty of room to move around, so your clothes can be cleaned thoroughly.
  • Add a scoop of oxygen-based bleach, like OxiClean, if needed for particularly stubborn stains. Follow the product instructions for the correct amount based on the size of your load.
how to get rid of sweat in clothes dirty gym clothes

By keeping these recommendations in mind and choosing the appropriate detergent, you should be able to effectively remove sweat stains and odours from your gym clothes and keep them looking and smelling fresh.

▷ Useful Video

Effective Stain Removal Techniques

I have found that there are some simple but effective techniques that can help.

Effective Stain Removal Techniques
Try these out for yourself to get rid of some stubborn sweat stains on your gym/workout clothes.
First, give your gym clothes a pretreatment.
You can use a mixture of regular detergent and white vinegar or a paste made from baking soda and water or hydrogen peroxide.
Apply the chosen solution to the stained area and let it sit for a few minutes to loosen the stain.
For white garments, you may want to use a bleach solution.
Be cautious, though, as bleach can damage delicate fabrics. If you’re unsure, do a quick spot test on a hidden area of the garment before applying the solution to the visible stain.
For coloured gym clothes, use a solution of white vinegar and cold water.
Soak the garment for at least 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly in cold water. If necessary, you may also want to consider washing the garment in warm water with regular detergent.
After pretreating and soaking, gently scrub the stained area using a soft brush
(An old toothbrush works great for this).
This will help lift the stain and allow the cleaning solution to work more effectively. Rinse the garment thoroughly after scrubbing.
If the odour lingers after washing and rinsing, try adding a few drops of ammonia
Try adding a few drops of ammonia to fresh stains or a few drops of white vinegar to old stains. Just be careful not to mix ammonia and bleach, as this can produce toxic fumes.

Keep in mind that using hot water can set sweat stains, making them more challenging to remove. Stick with cold or warm water when soaking, rinsing, and washing your gym clothes.

▷ Useful Video

Other Ways to Beat Sweat Stains

In addition to pre-treating with detergent and white vinegar or using a baking soda paste, there are other effective ways to remove sweat stains from your gym clothes using some common household items.


Salt can be a simple but powerful remedy.

getting rid of sweat stains clothes salt

Make a solution by mixing 1 tablespoon of salt with 2 cups of warm water. Soak the stained area in salt water for at least 20 minutes, then rinse it out and wash your clothes as usual. This solution can help break down and lift sweat stains, leaving your gym clothes looking fresh.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is another great option for removing sweat stains.

getting rid of sweat stains clothes lemon

Mix equal parts of lemon juice and water, then gently rub the solution onto the stained area. Allow the mixture to sit for about 30 minutes before washing your gym clothes as you normally would. The citric acid in lemon juice works as a natural bleaching agent, which can help remove those unsightly stains.


Ammonia is an effective sweat stain remover, but remember to use it with caution.

Mix one part ammonia with three parts water to create a diluted solution. Apply it to the stain and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing the area with cold water. Afterwards, go ahead and wash your gym clothes as usual. Make sure to avoid using ammonia on silk, wool, or leather.


Aspirin can be surprisingly helpful in eliminating sweat stains.

getting rid of sweat stains aspirin

Crush 4-5 uncoated aspirin tablets and dissolve them in a bowl filled with warm water. Soak the stained area in the aspirin solution for 2-3 hours, then rinse and launder your gym clothes as you typically would.

Meat Tenderizer Powder

Believe it or not, a meat tenderizer can be an unusual but very effective option.

getting rid of sweat stains clothes tenderizer

Sprinkle some unseasoned meat tenderizer powder on the sweat stain and gently rub it in. This powder contains enzymes that help break down proteins found in sweat stains. Allow it to sit for about 30 minutes before washing your gym clothes as usual.

Proper Washing Methods for Different Fabric Types

In my personal experience of getting sweat stains on my gym clothes, I find it’s important to know the right washing methods for different fabric types.

This will help you maintain the quality of your clothes and get rid of those stubborn sweat stains. So, let’s go through some common fabric types and how to properly wash them.


Cotton is a common fabric for gym clothes. To remove sweat stains from your cotton shirts and sports bras, start by soaking them in a mixture of 1 cup white vinegar and 2 cups water for 30 minutes.

Then, wash them using cold water and a gentle detergent. If the stains are still present, you can mix baking soda with water to create a paste and rub it onto the stained area using a sponge or an old toothbrush.


Silk is a delicate fabric, so it requires special care. Hand wash your silk blouse in cold water with a mild detergent, being careful not to rub or wring the fabric too much.

If you have sweat stains, you can sponge the affected area with undiluted white vinegar and let it sit for up to 30 minutes before rinsing.

Synthetic Fibres:

A lot of gym clothes are made from synthetic fibres, such as polyester and nylon, which are known for their performance features.

To get rid of sweat stains, pre-treat the stains with a stain remover specifically designed for synthetic fibres, such as Oxi or a liquid enzyme detergent like Tide.

Then, wash your gym clothes in cold water with a detergent made for synthetic fabrics.


Fleece is a popular material for sports clothing due to it being warm and light weight.

To wash your fleece gym clothes, start by turning them inside out.

Use cold water and mild detergent, avoiding fabric softeners and bleach. If sweat stains are a problem, try pre-treating the stains with white vinegar or a mild stain remover.

Remember that it’s essential to always follow the care instructions on the clothing label. Also, you should separate coloured shirts and white shirts before washing them, as some fabric dyes may bleed and cause discolouration.

Drying Techniques to Keep Your Clothes Fresh

After you’ve successfully treated and washed your sweat-stained gym clothes, the next step is to dry them properly to maintain their freshness and prevent wrinkles.

Drying your gym clothes the right way will not only extend their lifespan but also make them more comfortable to wear during your workouts, they will feel brand new.

Air Drying (The best option in my opinion)

how to get rid of sweat stains clothes-drying-2

When it comes to drying your gym clothes, air drying is in my experience by far the best option. There’s something about natural air that just gives your clothes a better result from drying.

By air-drying your clothes, you allow them to keep their shape, reduce the risk of shrinkage, and maintain their fresh smell.

Find a suitable place to hang your gym clothes, preferably outdoors or in a well-ventilated room.

It might sound obvious but make sure each item is spread out as much as possible to allow for better air circulation.

Using A Dryer

how to get rid of sweat stains using a dryer

For those more delicate gym garments, like sports bras or clothes made with thin materials, it’s advisable to use the delicate cycle on your dryer.

The gentle setting ensures that your clothes get dried without being exposed to harsh temperatures, this preserves the fabric and elastic quality.

Just make sure to double-check the care label on each garment to confirm that it’s safe to use the delicate cycle.

If you’re using a dryer, remember to use the lowest heat setting possible.

High heat may be tempting for faster drying, but it may damage your gym clothes’ fabric and cause unwanted shrinkage.

The low heat or tumble dry setting is ideal for preserving the quality and freshness of your workout gear.

Finally, when you take your gym clothes out of the laundry, make sure to shake them out and remove any visible batting or lint.

This simple step helps to release wrinkles and keep your gym clothes looking fresh and ready for your next workout.

how to get rid of sweat stains clothes-drying-2

By following these drying techniques, you ensure that your gym clothes remain fresh, in good shape, and comfortable for your fitness activities. It’s important to treat your activewear with care, as doing so will enhance your overall workout experience and make you feel confident in your gym attire.

Remember, you know your gym clothes best, so always follow the care label instructions to ensure the longevity of your favourite items. With these tips in mind, you should be well-equipped to keep your gym clothes looking clean and fresh.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I effectively remove odours from workout clothes?

To effectively remove odours from your workout clothes, pre-treat the soiled spots with a mixture of regular detergent and white vinegar, or a paste of baking soda and water.

Then, wash the clothes on the hottest cycle that’s safe for the fabric.

To deal with stubborn odours, you can also add white vinegar or a dedicated sports wash detergent to the wash cycle.

Is it okay to wash gym clothes with regular clothes?

getting rid of sweat stains clothes washing machine

Yes, it’s okay to wash gym clothes with regular clothes as long as the fabrics and colours are compatible.

But keep in mind that gym clothes may need extra care, so it’s best to use a gentle detergent and a delicate wash cycle.

Avoid using fabric softeners as they can reduce the effectiveness of moisture-wicking materials.

What’s the fastest way to eliminate the sweat smell from clothes?

getting rid of sweat stains dry pegs

The fastest way to eliminate the sweat smell from clothes is to air them out as soon as possible. Turn your clothes inside out, and hang them up to dry in a well-ventilated area.

The fresh air will help dissipate the odour, and the sunlight can help kill any bacteria that might be lingering on the fabric.

If you’re in a hurry, you can also pre-treat the clothes with vinegar and water solution and wash them immediately after.

What should I do with sweaty gym clothes before washing them?

Before washing your sweaty gym clothes, turn them inside out, and hang them up to air out. This will help prevent mould and mildew from forming, making it easier to remove odours during the wash.

Pre-treat any visible stains, such as yellow sweat stains or deodorant residue, with a mixture of detergent and vinegar or a paste of baking soda and water.

Do I need to wash my gym clothes immediately after use?

getting rid of sweat stains laundry

While it’s not always necessary to wash your gym clothes immediately after use, it’s highly recommended to air them out as soon as possible.

This will prevent odours from settling into the fabric and make it easier to remove stains once you do wash them.

If you’re unable to wash them right away, store them in an open bag or mesh laundry bag rather than a closed plastic bag to allow for airflow.

What’s the best temperature for washing sweaty clothes?

The best temperature for washing sweaty clothes depends on the fabric type and care instructions.

Generally, washing at a higher temperature will help eliminate bacteria and odours, but some materials like synthetic fibres may require a lower temperature to prevent damage.

Check the care label on your clothes and follow the recommended temperature guidelines.


Avatar of Stuart Patrick
Stuart Patrick
Stuart Patrick is a health and fitness lifestyle journalist who writes for ListedFit.com.

“I've spent a lot of time trying to get in shape and change my body and I realised there are so many untruths in the health and fitness industry that can slow down or stop your progress, so I share my knowledge and experience to help others to cut through the BS.”

This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, the site may earn a small commission. We only recommend products we would use ourselves and all opinions expressed on this site are our own.

General Advice:
The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before starting any new diet, exercise program, or making changes to your health routine.

Accuracy Advice:
While we strive to provide up-to-date and accurate information, the content in this article may not reflect the most current research or medical guidelines. We encourage readers to do further research and consult with professionals for more personalized advice.

Our Recommendations:
The products and services mentioned in any of our articles are recommended based on our independent research and personal experience. We are not sponsored by any company. We aim to suggest products and services we believe are of high quality and could be beneficial to our readers.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *