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Smelly Workout Clothes? Stick It to the Stink

young african american woman in green sportswear exercising abdominals in fitness club looking at camera. Horizontal shape front view waist up

Jenn, Erin and I have been making a lot of jokes lately about #FBGProblems (largely on Snapchat — are you following us over there? Because you should be!). You know, like when you squeeze in a workout with just enough time to shower and get ready before you need to be somewhere, but your “post-workout glow” means you can’t stop sweating long enough to dry your hair. Or when you put on your fave workout top, fresh from the clean clothes pile, but 15 minutes into your workout, you realize it stinks. (Maybe because you let your sweaty, stinky workout clothes fester in the hamper for a week leading up to laundry day — which is kiiiind of an #FBGProblem of its own.)

Yeah. I’d say we’ve pretty much all been there.

When you work up a sweat as often as so many of us do, you — and your clothes (and maybe your bag, and your car) — are bound to get a little funky now and again. But is there any way to prevent smelly workout clothes? And once the stench sets in, can you actually make it go away?

Recently a few products have crossed my desk that claim the answer is yes. Here’s the anti-stink scoop.

Fabrics Designed to Withstand the Stink

anti-stink bag

Antimicrobial Tote Bag: It’s not just what you wear that can get a little smelly — if you tend to do a quick change after the gym, the bag you toss your sweaty duds into can get pretty rank, too. And how often do you want to deal with washing your gym bag? Almost never, if you’re like me!

So what’s a gym rat to do? This Apera Antimicrobial Studio Tote (on sale for $89) from Squix.com (a solid online source for germ-fighting products) is a good place to start! It has 21 liters of water-resistant storage (including waterproof storage within to protect, say, your phone from your sopping wet T-shirt) paired with laser-cut venting. But the best part? It features “sanitized-infused antimicrobial product protection [that] resists the formation of bacterial odor inside and out.” So, whether you’re worried about the stink staying inside your bag or you’re more concerned about the stench getting out, you can carry this bag worry-free.

Also? It’s wicked cute and super functional outside of its super duper anti-stink capabilities. It’s become my go-to casual bag, and I get compliments on it all. the. time.

baselayer top

Body-Mapped Baselayer: Some shirts fit your body, and others go the extra mile to really fit your lifestyle. The latest offering from Showers Pass (a company known for super techy cycling gear) is an updated short sleeve and sleeveless version of their Body-Mapped Baselayer top ($49-$55). The super soft, smooth material includes 10% merino wool, which helps battle the residual stink common to 100% man-made baselayers, and Coolmax, which makes it soft and breathable with great moisture wicking.

The top features an open knit pattern in areas where people sweat the most to allow excess heat to escape quickly. However, there are no seams along the torso, so even though it’s super snug (like a true base layer should be), there’s nothing rubbing or chaffing along the body, even during strenuous exercise.

Laundry Products to Remove the Reek

The products above are fab to have on hand, but what about your favorite workout shirt with the straight up stank? You know, the one that no detergent seems to touch? Don’t sweat it. Or go ahead and sweat it, actually, because there’s something you can do about it.

nikwax laundry products


Nikwax offers a few different cleaning and waterproofing products specifically made to handle the dirt and odor that tends to come along with an active lifestyle. The BaseWash ($9.50 for 10 oz or $26 for 33.8 oz) is a deodorizing cleaner made for your synthetic tech gear (like undies, sports bras, and other clothes designed to wick sweat away from your skin), and also inhibits B.O. build up. Plus, it speeds up the drying process. Wool Wash (same pricing as BaseWash) cleans, softens and deodorizes wool base layers and also features that nifty quick-dry bonus.

You use it the same way you’d use regular detergent — follow the instructions regarding how much to put in (because it varies by top load, front load and hand wash), dry as usual, and voila! Your nasty clothes are fresh. And they stay that way (for the most part, anyway — I mean, if you’re wearing something for a marathon workout session and put it directly up to your nose afterward, I’m not promising roses). It’s easy and effective (not to mention biodegradable, water-based, non-flammable and VOC-free) and my new laundry BFF.



What if you have a mix of natural (like wool) and synthetic fabrics that you typically wash together? deFUNKit Permanent Odor Control is a fabric care treatment made for everything from sportswear to pet beds and more by removing the icky body oil build up and creating a durable fabric shield designed to prevent that odor from returning for up to 20 washes.

Now, it’s important to note that there are a few other differences between deFUNKit and Nikwax. deFUNKit Machine Wash Size ($19.95) is a one-time use package — it works on a full load, and is designed to last for about 20 washes, but it’s not something you’re going to be swapping your regular detergent for (which could be a good thing!). It’s also a little more involved — there are three steps, and different packets need to be added at different times throughout the wash cycle (and those instructions vary depending on your type of washer). This was a bit of a problem for me because my washer and dryer are in my garage, so it’s not as easy as it might be to keep tabs on where in the wash cycle the clothes are, but I suspect that if I had a handy-dandy indoor laundry room, that would’ve been a piece of cake. But still, did it work? I haven’t been through 20 washes with that load yet, but so far, it’s smelling good!

Did you guys have any idea it could be this easy to de-stinkify your smelly workout clothes? Because my mind? BLOWN. (I’m thrilled about it … and I’m guessing my husband is, too.) Kristen

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


  1. Wow, these products both look great! I went for the deFunkit since it is good for 20 washes! I have already ordered it and can’t wait to give it a try. My husband, who I assure you has a nose like a bloodhound, will surely appreciate it! Thanks for the great tip!

  2. De Bolton says:

    I so needed this…hope to be a former stinky girl. Thanks for Sharing!

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