Any active person knows the lingering smell of a sweaty gym bag. Even after airing out your equipment or putting it through the wash, the stink can stick around.
You might be tempted to wash and dry repeatedly, but this doesn’t always remove those smelly odors. The stench keeps coming back, leaving you frustrated when nothing seems to work. What’s worse – all that trial and error can do more than wear out your clothes.
Multiple cycles, larger loads and extra chemicals can overwhelm your washer or dryer, too, leading to fire hazards. According to the U.S Fire Administration, there are more than 2,000 dryer fires every year, causing an estimated $35 million in property damage. (Related: How to Prevent a Dryer Fire)
So what can you do to prevent dryer fires and smelly gear? Protect your nose (and your home) with these cleaning hacks:
- Avoid heat. Heat kills bacteria, right? Sure, but it can also make bad odors stronger. Stick to low heat or no heat at all. And air dry clothes and equipment whenever you can. It’ll make your clothes and dryer last longer.
- Use the right amount of detergent. Many people add extra detergent to compensate for bad smells. But if the stench goes away only to return later, your detergent is most likely keeping odors in. Limit detergent to prevent soap buildup and add other cleaners designed to attack bacteria.
- Give gear a bath. Fill your bathtub with water and some detergent to wash larger foam or plastic items. Never put anything with foam, rubber or plastic in the dryer. After it’s soaked, wring the suds out and let it dry. (See also: How to Store Your Outdoor Gear During the Offseason)
- Turn it inside out. Most dirt and grime lives on the inside of your equipment. Flip your gear inside out so your washer can eliminate smells at the source.
- Use different cleaners. Special detergents and laundry boosters could be the secret ingredient to clean gear. Try adding a booster like white vinegar or baking soda in controlled amounts. These solutions will break up bacteria and give your clothes a deep clean. Sports detergent is designed to solve the problem on its own, too.
- Pay attention to the tag. Some sports gear isn’t meant for the washer and dryer. The tag could tell you if it requires hand washing, low heat or dry cleaning. Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. This protects both your clothes and appliances.
- Skip fabric softener. In most cases, fabric softener makes clothes smell fresh. But it can do the opposite with fitness gear. Fabric softeners leave a coating that traps odor-causing bacteria. If you’re deodorizing, skip the fabric softener so the water can do its job.
Protect your Home and Equipment
Owning a home has many rewards, but it takes work, too.
Caring for your home doesn’t stop at the laundry room. At Erie Insurance, we want to help you protect what’s important to you. Rest easy knowing we’re available 24/7 if you need us.