How Do You Wash Your Gym Clothes?

by Charlotte on March 24, 2011 · 0 comments

It’s probably just laundry day. Or the Lady Gaga* tribute subway car.
I’m gross. We’ve established that many, many, times on this blog. I didn’t start out this way – truly, ask the Gym Hubby how I used to have to make our bed every night before I could get in it – but having four destructo-maniacs running around my house means something has to give. Just to paint you a picture, Jelly Bean moved all the fruit and condiments in the refrigerator to the dishwasher, the four-year-old decided to go squirrel and hoard a 2-lb tub of nuts under the couch sans tub, the six-year-old tried on 5 shirts before finding one suitable for his covert ninja activities and the eight-year-old dumped out the entire 5-gallon tub of mittens, scarves and hats to look for the gloves he left on the bus. And that was just this morning. (The same day, incidentally, I had a big photo shoot here at my house – more on that later, squeeee!)
Oh I keep up with the essentials like laundry and emptying the garbages and dishes (ok I’ll admit this before my sister outs me in the comments – I’m still really anal about having a clean kitchen) but other things have fallen off my list as evidenced by my reply to a friend on Facebook who wrote she was cleaning her baseboards: “Wait, we’re supposed to do that?” Four years in this house and never once wiped down a baseboard. And mine are white. Well, they were anyhow.
The latest thing to get bumped is my workout clothes laundering. For a while I was great about sorting all the stinkage out into its own load and washing them on super hot water but then I stopped sorting any of my laundry (and try not to think about how the baby’s adorable footie jammies are getting whirled in the same water as the preschooler’s streaky undies – gah). I didn’t think any more of it until a friend mentioned how meticulously she launders her gym duds. It’s a five-step process involving sorting, pre-treating, special sports detergent, hot water and then air drying to preserve the stretch in the Lycra. Oops.
In an effort to assuage my hygenic guilt, I asked my Twitter peeps how they wash their gym clothes:
Conscientious cleaners Suziconfesses, tfgeorge, amileinmyboots, HeatherGeorge and lixwall all responded with some variation of “heck to the yeah!” While lackadaisical launderers TokaiPenny, JenniferLSpies, UnnaturalMother, Workoutwithdi and ReedRunner all copped to just throwing them in with their other stuff. The real fun started with the people in the middle. Some of my faves:

From midnightingale: “@CharlotteGFE No, I would run out of workout clothes before I could find do a whole load.”
I do not share her problem. I could fill 3 loads of laundry with just my workout stuff and still have plenty to wear. I know, it’s a sickness. I’m working on it. But apparently I’m not alone:
From shrinkingjill: “@CharlotteGFE yes – but only because there are so many that they can fill the entire washer :)”
My kind of girl!
But then ReedRunner asks: “@CharlotteGFE No, they just get thrown in with the rest! Don’t have enough. Follow up question, in reality, how often do you wash them?!”
Against my better judgement I will be honest: While I wash my tops after every wear (I sweat like a dude) sometimes the bottoms will go 2 or 3 rounds between washes. Stuff that I layer over top – like skirts and tutus – only get washed when they’re visibly dirty. Or, you know, never. See? I’m gross. But Philsplace takes me one better:
But hands-down, the best response: “@CharlotteGFE Yeah, in the shower after the workout. (bike shorts) Then I wear them again the next workout. 2 times then “regular” wash.”
Creativity, frugality, economy, environmental – my hat, er sweaty headband, is off to you Phil! You rock.
*Ever been curious as to why Lady Gaga wears no pants? Well there is a very reasonable explanation. Says she, “[My partially blind grandma] can make out the lighter parts, like my skin and hair. She says: ‘I can see you because you have no pants on!’ So I’ll continue to wear no pants… so that my grandma can see me.” See? Perfectly reasonable.
So ‘fess up: How often do you wash your workout clothes? And do you wash them separately? Have a funny laundry story to share?
Written with love by Charlotte Hilton Andersen for The Great Fitness Experiment (c) 2011. If you enjoyed this, please check out my new book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everythingfor more of my crazy antics and uncomfortable over-shares!

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