Laundry tips for hot yoga enthusiasts

Hot yoga class at Modo Yoga NYC by Focus 4 Design Studio

We teamed up with our friends at Modo Yoga NYC to bring you care tips for hot yoga gear! It was so fun to talk laundry with hot yoga practitioners. We took down their burning questions and paid special attention to their frustrations, like sportswear losing its shape overtime.

We hope this knowledge comes in handy for anyone who practices hot yoga (or any other super sweaty activity):

1. Rinse out your workout clothes post-class

One thing’s for sure when it comes to hot yoga: you’ll be drenched in sweat by the end! 💦 After class, take your clothes and rinse them in the sink with cool or lukewarm water.

You can also keep your workout clothes on while taking a shower to flush the sweat out of the fabric. Afterwards, squeeze the excess water out. Avoid wringing to preserve the shape of your clothes.

Hand washing sportswear in a sink

2. Don't leave wet sportswear in a gym bag or at the bottom of a hamper

This creates an environment where bacteria can thrive. 🤢 If you’re crunched for time and can’t manage to wash right away, take your rinsed clothes and hang them to dry. Once they’re dry, put them aside to add to your next machine load.

3. Do a quick hand wash at home

Lightweight athletic shirts, yoga leggings, sports bras, bike shorts and gym shorts can benefit from a quick hand wash once you get home. Use a little sportswash, which will preserve specialty fabric and neutralize odor.

If you don’t have detergent for activewear, use a liquid detergent that's free of synthetic fragrance or a laundry powder diluted with warm water. Drape your washed gear over a drying rack or line dry. Set dry items aside for your next machine load.

4. Machine wash sportswear to get deep into the fabric

Select the sportswear cycle, which alternates between warm and cold water to preserve synthetic fabrics while getting sweat and odor out. If your washer doesn’t have this setting, choose a cool delicate cycle or check the garment care label to see what's recommended.

Add 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar to the fabric softener compartment of your washing machine to help flush out the odor.

A hand pours a cap full of liquid detergent into the drum of a washer filled with sportswear

5. If your workout clothes are permanently stinky, fabric softener might be the culprit

As a rule of thumb, we recommend staying away from fabric softener (including dryer sheets), but this is especially the case when it comes to sportswear. Fabric softener is designed to coat fabrics to give it a silky soft feeling. That coating traps odor-causing bacteria.

Another possible culprit is detergent buildup. Excess detergent won't make your sportswear cleaner. It will actually do the opposite! Always follow dosing instructions.

6. Synthetic materials contribute to microplastic pollution (sadly)

Synthetic fabrics are amazing for their breathability, stretchability (give) and moisture-wicking abilities. Unfortunately, the agitation that comes with machine washing leads to microplastic shedding every time you run a load of sportswear.

Use a microfiber wash bag to help reduce shedding and capture any loosened microfibers. Bonus: the bag also protects clothes from getting stretched out in the wash!

An assortment of hot yoga equipment and eco-friendly laundry products

7. Hot water and hot heat can ruin the elasticity of your sportswear

Choose a cool air dry or a low tumble dry for workout clothes made with Lycra (also known as elastane or spandex). Check the care label and/or product listing online for drying instructions.

The most eco-friendly way to ensure the longevity of your sportswear is by skipping the dryer altogether! Try line drying (indoors or outdoors) or laying items flat to dry on a drying rack or clean towel.

8. Pilling can sometimes develop as a result of friction

You’ll often find it all over workout gear and especially between the thighs and under the arms. Place your gear on a flat surface and use a fabric shaver to clean up tiny pill balls.

Fabric shaving requires a light touch—remember to decrease pressure around the seams. Never shave fabric on lumpy surfaces like your sofa, bed or body (this will lead to holes).

Before and after gif of a tank top that has been cleaned up with a fabric shaver

9. Cotton towels and yoga towels should be washed separately

The former, which you'd use for wiping sweat off your face and body, are made from natural fibers and can be machine washed with laundry powder and the rest of your laundry. The latter are designed to be sweat-wicking, with non-slip features like silicone nubs.

Some yoga towels are even made out of recycled materials like plastic bottles and should be washed with other synthetic materials and a microplastic solution. If you think it might be a couple days until your next load, make sure your yoga towel is dry before putting it in the hamper.

10. Wash yoga straps by hand or in a bag

They’re typically made out of cotton, polyester or nylon and can be hand washed or machine washed with cold water. Use a microfiber laundry bag or a delicates bag so that they don’t get tangled with the rest of the load. Hang or lay flat to dry to preserve the length.

11. Some yoga mats can be machine washed

This comes in handy if you enjoy practicing outdoors on grass and soil, so check for this next time you're in the market for a new mat (here's how we wash soiled yoga mats at Celsious).

If your current mat isn't machine washable, there are plenty of options on the market for sprays derived from natural ingredients, as well as DIY recipes to clean and disinfect your mats and blocks post-practice.

A hand spraying down a yoga mat with sanitizer

👉🏾 Here's a discount to help keep your workout gear in great condition! Enter the code HOTYOGA15 at checkout for 15% OFF our favorite sportswear detergent, microfiber wash bag, recycled ocean plastic clothespins, delicates bag and fabric shaver (limit one code use per customer).

Words by Mutia Adisoma
Photos and gif by Gerald Riedler
Photo of yoga class by Focus 4 Design Studio
Special thanks to Modo Yoga NYC - Williamsburg

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