There’s nothing better than putting on a brand-new pair of Lululemons and experiencing that oh-so-awesome comfort that makes you feel like you can take on anything, whether it be going to the gym, running errands, or lounging around the house.

header photo: Adam Selman 

Then, once you’ve worn them and washed them a few times, they go from form-fitting, colourful, and comfortable to a faded and misshapen mess — not to mention they also smell like they’ve been sitting in the bottom of your gym bag for two weeks no matter how many times you wash them. This problem is real, and with the high prices of activewear these days, it can be super frustrating when your clothes just don’t seem to last more than a couple of months. So, it’s time to save your beloved activewear with these simple tips to keep them looking (and smelling) like new!


photo: Adam Selman


Your activewear is made from different fabrics than your regular clothes, so you need to make sure you wash them the right way. Before you toss them in the washing machine, turn everything inside out to avoid colour transference and fading. This will also prevent that dreaded pilling effect — or those annoying clumps of fuzz — which is caused by excessive friction.

Wash your activewear separately from your regular clothes, because the buttons, zippers, and harder fabrics on your sweaters and jeans can really damage the feel and elasticity. You can also buy a garment bag to put any sport bras or items with clasps, and this will reduce the risk of it catching on another item and pulling the fabric.


Another thing you can do is always use cold water instead of hot water because it will prevent the colours from fading and bleeding and will preserve the fabric’s elasticity and stretchiness. You can also look for a detergent that is ideal for cold water and buy a natural or less harsh detergent that is made specifically for gym gear. Make sure you use the gentle cycle to avoid that friction and irritation that can wreak havoc on the fabric’s feel, shape, and elasticity.

Perhaps the most important rule for washing your activewear is to never ever use fabric softener. Although it smells great, it will leave a deposit on your clothes that will break down the fibers and make them lose their shape and stretchiness. This deposit also locks in bacteria, which will make your clothing stink and look dingy much faster. Lastly, don’t use bleach because it will completely ruin the colour and leave behind an awful smell of its own.


When your clothes come out of the wash, don’t put them in the dryer. While the dryer is good for killing excess bacteria that sticks around even after you’ve washed your clothes, the heat will breakdown the elasticity, which will make your clothes lose their shape and stretchiness. Instead, hang your clothes to dry or, if you’re short on time, pop them in the dryer for five minutes to get rid of the soak, and then hang them up for an hour or so.

Finally, it might sound gross, but don’t wash your favourite clothes after each wear. When you go to the gym, don’t throw your clothes back in your bag or laundry hamper, but lay them flat so they can air out. This will help reduce the smell, while also allowing you to wash them less so they’ll last longer. If you buy activewear that has more spandex, nylon and/or sweat wicking fabric, you’ll also be able to wash them less frequently because sweat won’t absorb as quickly as it will on cotton clothes.

Make sure to follow these recommendations and we’re sure your activewear will have a longer shelf life.


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