It’s really strange. Whenever I wear one of those special runner’s shirts (Under Armour, Dri Fit, etc.) I start to smell…bad! Now, I wash my clothes after every workout and I bathe two, sometimes 3 times a day. But there must be something in these wicking fiber fabrics that make them harder to clean or more prone to grow bacteria.
So, I did a little research and found a discussion on the Runner’s World forum. It turns out that I am not the only one with this problem. The problem is one of bacteria. Those special wicking fabrics provide great places for bacteria to live and hide. Your shirt might smell fine when it comes out of the washer and dryer but once you start to sweat, the microbes come out to feast. And it gets worse over time because the coating that the fabrics initially have washes off. Here’s a great article on the subject of smelly running shirts.
What do you do about it?
- Use a good detergent. Their expert says to use Tide Powder to wash your running shirts. He also says synthetic fabric specific products like sport wash by Atsko is good. I’ve never used them but I might try.
- Put them in the dryer. Some people think they shouldn’t but the experts say drying these shirts will help keep the odors down.
- Don’t use a fabric softener. Fabric softeners make a coating on the garment so they don’t work as well.
I like running in the synthetic fabrics much better than cotton, but the smell is unbearable. Hopefully, these washing tricks will keep the odor down. No one wants to be known as “the smelly joggler“.