My workout clothes smelled like a combination of raw onions and body odor. I’d had several of the shirts for years, but they were in good shape other than stinking so bad. Good workout clothes are expensive, and most of my running shirts are Nike or Under Armour, which means that even on sale they cost a good bit of hard-earned money. I’ve tried several varieties of regular detergent, including Tide with Bleach Alternative, ECOS Free and Clear, and Seventh Generation Liquid. The result was always the same—my clothes still stunk.
I bought a sample of Nathan Sport Wash and optimistically tried it. It definitely worked better than the regular detergents, but it only cut the stink some—it didn’t remove all of it. Not good enough.
I try to avoid harsh, synthetic chemicals and environmentally unfriendly products, and remembered my days as a mother to an adopted house rabbit. Rabbits are very sensitive to chemicals, and Winston’s litterbox could only be safely cleaned with white vinegar. I bought a bottle and hoped it would make headway on the perma-stink in my workout shirts.
Several Google searches turned up multiple methods to wash clothes with vinegar, and ultimately I just decided to try my own thing and hope for the best. I set the washing machine on the Soak cycle and poured about a cup of white vinegar—no detergent—into the water. My washer agitates the clothes even on Soak, but I guess that’s its way of making sure they get saturated with water. It rinsed and drained at the six-minute mark, which was not what I wanted, so I paused the cycle. I opened the washer and was overwhelmed by a smell reminiscent of dying Easter eggs (remember the color pellets that dissolve in vinegar?), dumped in another cup of vinegar, and let it fill again.
At the end of the 24-minute Soak cycle, the clothes smelled a little bit like Easter and a lot less like stench. I poured in the usual amount of Nathan Sport Wash and put them on the Rapid cycle. Less than half an hour later, I pulled out my shirts and nervously smelled the armpits. Victory!
My worst-smelling shirt, a purple Nike running Pro, still has a bit of stink to it, but the other clothes smelled faintly of vinegar and nothing else. No onions. No B.O. Just clean.
I hope I don’t have to go through the whole process again, but the combination of soaking in vinegar and water followed by a short wash cycle with Nathan made my clothes almost new again. Totally worth it versus buying new ones!