How often do you wash your running kit? - Couch to 5K

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How often do you wash your running kit?

Londonred profile image

Just wondering how many times you wear your running kit before putting it in the wash? Because you can't use fabric conditioner on a lot of the clothing, I tend to wash mine separately. Being an economical type, I save it up for when I'm washing other stuff that doesn't require conditioner. So I try to get 2 wears out of my running gear, before washing it. Mind you, I do sniff it first just to make sure it's not too whiffy! Is this bad? I only have 2 sets of running gear, so I am trying to make them last!

75 Replies
Slow_Rob profile image

Mine generally get washed after each run :) i have o  the odd occasion worn something twice before washing 

Madge50 profile image

Depends how 'sweaty betty' I've been, and how muddy/wet the terrain has been.  I try and get at least two wears out of them, sometimes maybe one more - I've got some lovely warm long leggings for the winter, depending on the weather ive held out washing them too often as I've needed them! 

I don't worry too much about it, do a check sniff though 😄


Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to Madge50

Ha ha, another 'Sniff tester'. Glad I'm not the only one!

Every time.  It stinks!  (And I'm really not a smelly person, honest).  I keep thinking I'll lob it all in the garage and wait till I've got another lot of smelly running gear as I have drawers full of kit, but then I go into the garage to get a bag of carrots and think euuuwwww!

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to useitorloseit

Ha! Wish I could keep mine in a garage in between runs! I could wear it loads then!

Noaky12 profile image

After every run. I'm far too much of a sweaty to do anything else to be honest. I've once worn my leggings twice after realising (too late to wash & dry them) I only had one pair with me on a work trip, but it wasn't pleasant............ for anyone. 😆

AncientMum profile image

I tend to wear my tops, capris and sports bra twice between washes unless they're muddy or too stinky, but socks get a wash after every run, as do my dedicated running drawers (obviously). I work on the principle that nobody is standing close enough to me when I'm running to get a proper sniff. Always wear clean kit for Parkrun though!  Now worried in case this makes me what my mother would call a mucky woman!! 😱😱😱

Edit: Just checked with hubby who assures me I don't reek the place out -phew!!

miss_august profile image
miss_augustGraduate in reply to AncientMum

I do this too, don't worry! Twice is fine for the main items and I agree underwear/socks always get washed every time. I haven't done distances yet that make anything smell bad, so I feel it's OK. Plus I run alone!

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to miss_august

Ahh good, I run alone too, so hopefully nobody can smell me! I do wash my stuff every couple of runs too unless muddy or very sweaty.

miss_august profile image
miss_augustGraduate in reply to Londonred

Yeah I guess if I start doing 30 mins three times a week that'll be different, but for now I don't have enough kit to wash every time. Looking at getting more stuff, but other outgoings are necessary too, sadly.

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to AncientMum

Ahh now you've made me feel better. I tend to wash my stuff every 2 runs unless muddy or ive been really hot! Definitely socks every time. Dedicated drawers eh? I must look into this! Do they do running knickers then?

AncientMum profile image
AncientMumGraduate in reply to Londonred

They probably do, but I use Sainsburys No VPL knickers because they're incredibly comfortable, don't show under Lycra and never ever fall down. Only down side is that they're not very pretty but who cares when they're so good!

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to AncientMum

As long as they don't fall down that's good enough for me! Maybe I finally need some smaller ones. Or just newer ones with better elastic!

Bundoodle profile image
BundoodleGraduate in reply to Londonred

Tesco do some Lycra knickers that don't show under leggings and they last ages. 

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to Bundoodle

Will check them out, thank you.

All of my kit gets washed daily. T-shirts I get through 2 or more a day between running and gym and so on. The only items that don't would be the rain jacket I wear in winte, and the hoody I wear during warmup.

I don't use fabric conditioner at all though. the concept of coating my clothing with a layer of chemical gloop that renders them impervious to detergent and water seems to defeat the object of washing the clothes in the first place to me, and it really isn't something I want in contact with my (or my kids) skin.

vivster profile image

Oh well, I'm disgusting, then. I just wash my stuff once a week, so every three runs. It's a bit whiffy by the last time out but not too bad, and I figure it's a solitary pursuit. If my joggers are a bit mud splattered, I don't really care. They're black, so it doesn't show up much. This does not apply to socks, which are changed for every run. As I do morning runs, I also wear the previous day's knickers. No point putting a clean pair on for less than an hour. As soon as I'm back, they go straight in the laundry.

Worried that I sound like a freak, now. I have proper running tops that wick sweat away. If I was running in normal cotton t-shirts I would change them after every run.

jt24 profile image
jt24Graduate in reply to vivster

As we all slowly move just a little bit f u r t h e r away from Vivster lol!!

I do it 'as needs must' which is anything from each run to 3 runs. Jacket even longer.

I just sniff my stuff. If it's reeking it goes in the washbasket, if it's just a bit damp it gets hung up to dry out and is worn again.

I've got 3 tops, 2 bottoms (ooh), 2 running bra's and 2 jackets which mix and match so there's always an 'outfit' ready to go :)

vivster profile image
vivsterGraduate in reply to jt24

I sniffed my tops! They were okay 😕 I really have excellent personal hygiene 😇

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to jt24

I think that's the thing, in the beginning I wasn't running long enough to work up a sweat, but now it's getting a little warmer and I'm running for longer, I get more hot and sweaty. I think I will gradually have to pick up more items so I have some ready to go.

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to jt24

I definitely need to get another bra! But they are just so expensive, the proper engineered type that I would need! I'll just have to wash it more I guess. I do have 3 tops now, so that should be enough to be getting on with.  And I always sniff to see if I can get away with it again ha ha.

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to vivster

No, definitely not a freak. I've worn stuff longer than I should! My sports bra doesn't get washed very often, as you say, it's not on for long! And I have sometimes worn previous nights knickers....

Noaky12 profile image
Noaky12Graduate in reply to vivster

Well when I run first thing I dont shower & use yesterdays knicks. But oddly I always brush my teeth!

Bundoodle profile image
BundoodleGraduate in reply to Noaky12

Me too! Somehow I feel less skanky if I have clean teeth!

Technical t-shirts and fabrics go into the wash asap for me. The wicking away of sweat is from the body not out of the garment. If they lie around in a pile this can cause bacteria to proliferate and the fabric will start to deteriorate. The fabric pulls sweat off you but unless it is washed out the sweat and salt and dirt just clogs up the fibres

The key is to wash at low temp or handwash and line dry. Performance fabrics are pretty high maintenance unfortunately. This goes double for compression gear and sports bras (and before anyone asks, no  i don't wear one, but I do the laundry, and handwash my wife's sports bras, daily, which is how I know this stuff).

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to Rignold

Ahh interesting about the deterioration of clothing due to the bacteria. I didn't know that. And about washing at a lower temperature. Guess I'd better wash my stuff more often! I didn't think for one minute you wore a sports bra! But thanks for that as I'm terrible at leaving them for ages before they get washed!

TurboTortoise profile image
TurboTortoiseGraduate in reply to Rignold

So, Rig... You create healthy balanced meals for all the family, you wash your wife's sports bras... would you like to come and stay?

Before my image becomes completely Metrosexual New Man Caspar Milquetoast, I would like to point out I shoot large animals, do not own a manbag and have never used moisturiser.

Tope profile image
Tope in reply to Rignold

I know it's been 2 years, but I was making a research about washing my gear and I ended up here. I specifically signed up to this site to reply 'LoL' to this post. So, there you go: LOL.

Rignold profile image
Rignold in reply to Tope

I feel in the interests of full disclosure I should confess I have since used moisturiser.

321run profile image
321run in reply to Rignold

I know it's been a further 3 years but I also ended up here through washing-gear research. I literally LOLed at your reply and felt it was worthy of another explicit LOL response so I signed up specifically to say:


Zev1963 profile image

During the week I run at 6am and so meet no one between leaving the house and returning. So, I wash the kit I wear on those two runs at the end of the week.  My sunday run is during the daytime, so I wear clean stuff and wash it staight after along with the weekday stuff. If I thought that I'd meet anyone on a weekday run then I'd wear freshly washed stuff then too, as it's a little wiffy after a run.  I wash my running cloths in a detergent aimed at technical fabriques such as MIR Sport. It is no more expensive than other detergents per wash and doesnt contain any of the gunky additives which block the hollow wicking fibres in technical fabriques :)

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to Zev1963

I didn't know you could buy special laundry liquid! Where do you get it from? Haven't seen that in my local supermarket.

Zev1963 profile image
Zev1963Graduate in reply to Londonred

I'm not too familiar with UK shops as I live in France, but I know that Sainsburys stock one as I am currently visiting UK and saw it on the shelves. 25 washhes in bottle, 16p per wash. Halo Sports Wash.

Hello, I bought some Halo sports wash off the Internet and wash my stuff on the 30 mins wash. It smells nice and is lasting ages. 

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to BlinkyBecky

Thank you @+Zev1963 and BlinkyBecky, I'll find some!

Ullyrunner profile image

I normally also do two runs between washes - generally not too smelly!

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to Ullyrunner

Glad it's not just me then! Although I might have to have a rethink after what Rignold said.

vivster profile image

Oh well, I will wash more often 😕 I do have two tops now and I guess I will gather more as I go, so I can alternate what wear. When I started I only had one outfit. Still doing the knicker thing though as it is excellent economising.

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to vivster

I need knickers that don't start working their way down as I'm running!

Rignold profile image
Rignold in reply to Londonred

*Sits on hands to prevent any number of replies that spring to mind.

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to Londonred

Moving swiftly on.....

JoolieB1 profile image

I try to wash mine every 2 runs but if I was very sweaty or there was a lot of mud, it will go into the wash.  I use fabric conditioner most times, no problems as a result.  If in doubt, sniff it out!  LOL

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to JoolieB1

Yep! Definitely the sniff test!

Oh dear - I'm starting to worry about my smelliness now! Perhaps I have a sensitive nose!!!

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to useitorloseit

Mind you, I've never caught a whiff of anyone when they run past me (as most runners do at the moment)!

If you're not sweating enough to be smelly you really aren't trying hard enough. (he says, putting Hard Taskmaster hat on)

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to Rignold

I am definitely working harder now I'm on week 9.  But no, I probably wasn't in the earlier stages unfortunately. I'll be checking my clothing to see how hard I've worked after my run tomorrow :)

GoogleMe profile image
GoogleMeGraduate in reply to Rignold

Trying hard enough for what?

Pinguette profile image
PinguetteGraduate in reply to Rignold

Rignold, my headmistress used to say that horses sweat, men perspire, and women glow. All I can say is that the National Grid could use my glow to power half of Britain...... ;-)

Pinguette profile image

I only ever see sheep on my runs so providing they don't keel over as I pass, I have no problem wearing my outer running gear a couple of times between washes. And as for dedicated running undies, Londonred, someone recommended Chafree knickers to me and they are very comfy tho rather expensive. Needless to say, they definitely get a wash after each run!! :-)

Zev1963 profile image
Zev1963Graduate in reply to Pinguette

Can't you turn them inside out for the second run  ;)

Pinguette profile image
PinguetteGraduate in reply to Zev1963

I could try but I think the size label might show that way and the sheep would die laughing...... 

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to Pinguette

Ha ha! Turn them inside out! Don't think I'd want my label on show either!

Depends on whether or not it passes the stink test, but either way I put them in with everything else and no conditioner. Then I take the kit out at the end of the cycle, leave everything else in and do a "rinse and spin" with fabric conditioner in.

In the summer I hand wash my running tops and then let them drip dry.

Noaky12 profile image

I've always just put my running kit through the normal cycle with my other clothes. Is that wrong??

AnnieW55 profile image
AnnieW55 in reply to Noaky12

Only if you use high temperatures and fabric conditioner (see Rig's posts above). I wash kit at 30 or by hand and don't use fc. Apart from not being good for your kit I read somewhere that it coats towels and, whilst they are soft, they become less absorbent.

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to AnnieW55

Yes I've heard you shouldn't use it on towels for that reason.  But I've always washed my kit at a higher temperature to kill any bacteria, but I guess I shouldn't be.

Maxiscot profile image

After each time with two caps of zoflora.  I do weightlifting and discovered years ago that if you don't put some disinfectant in, the clothes may smell nice but the moment you work up a sweat, OMG, horrific! The only things I don't wash that often is my running gilet and beanie. Posh sports wash not worth it, use zoflora. 

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to Maxiscot

Zoflora is so versatile, would never have thought to use it in my wash. Cheaper than the dettol stuff they advertise on tv. Thanks for the tip. 

Maxiscot profile image
MaxiscotGraduate in reply to Londonred

Yes it's great. I just pop it into the fabric conditioner drawer. 

folkieboater profile image
folkieboaterGraduate in reply to Maxiscot

There's also a Dettol "after wash" treatment for the conditioner drawer. Often cheap in Costco if anyone is a member. 

Mysticalmaid profile image

Underwear and socks every time, the sniff test applies to the top and leggings, I try to get 2 wears out of them, they never stretch to 3 I sweat too much.

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to Mysticalmaid

Me too. 2 wears and then into the wash! Unless sniff test fails.

I wash after every use - sweaty betty... My washing machine has a 'sportswear' cycle that's 30° and uses no fc so I use both sets of gear and then do a wash. If my husband has done a couple of days of exercise too it's pretty much a full load! (He seems to wear a phenomenonal amount of kit!)

I also hang washing outside as much as possible as sunlight is also a good bacteria controller.

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to AnnieW55

Yes I like to do this too. Smells so much fresher too.

nhs2015 profile image

In this house, everything goes in the washing machine. Even the shoes. Same detergent. No hassle. If I know I can't chuck it in the washing machine, I don't buy it. Life is beautiful.

I use a cap of white vinegar in the wash for anything that is mingingly malodorous. But never put running shoes in the machine. The insoles/sock liner and laces if necessary, but never the shoe itself. Not even on a cold wash. Reduces thair lifespan by about half and destroys cushioning.

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to Rignold

White vinegar, another great household tip, thank you.

rmnsuk profile image

i wash everything after every run. I can often wring out some of the gear I wear. I wouldn't even think about wearing it again till it was washed. I have a cheap tracksuit that I put on after a run so I don't get cold on the walk/drive home. That goes straight in the wash too. Shoes on the other hand never go in the washing machine, but do get washed by hand occasionally.

Socks and undies get washed every time, although they might be the previous day's - I can't see the point of putting clean ones on for an hour. Everything else I usually get a couple of wears out of.

And I confess to rummaging in the dirty washing for a sports bra to wear just one more time when I suddenly realise both of mine are in the washing pile...

Londonred profile image
LondonredGraduate in reply to Niggit

I'm always rummaging in the laundry basket for my sports bra! I really need to buy another one! I keep meaning to wash it , but then forget about it until I need it, only to find its still waiting to be washed!

Niggit profile image
Niggit in reply to Londonred

That makes me feel a lot better - thank, Londonred!


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