cleaning gym clothes
Laundry

Cleaning Gym Clothes: How to Keep Sportswear Clean, Fresh & Bright

Smelly odours can linger in sportswear long after the wash. Discover our top tips for cleaning gym clothes & sneakers in this handy guide.

Whether you are a keen runner or you prefer a gentler mode of exercise, it can be difficult to keep sport shoes and sportswear clean and in good condition – especially during the summer where you are likely to sweat more than usual, or during wetter months when they are bound to get muddy.

So, whether you’d like to know how to wash sneakers or tips for washing sweaty clothes – read on to find out how to keep your sportswear looking new and smelling fresh.

Cleaning Sneakers

Chances are your sports shoes could do with freshening up (even everyday walking can result in smelly odours forming inside shoes) – yet many people are unsure how to wash sneakers or if you can wash shoes in the machine.

The good news is that many modern pairs of sports shoes are made of material that is durable enough to withstand hand washing as well as a wash in the washing machine, and Surf washing powders can help keep them clean and fresh with (or without) a washing machine

Follow these instructions for cleaning sneakers:

  1. Remove shoelaces and wash them separately. (You can wash these in the machine too – however, removing them will prevent everything from getting tangled).
  1. Remove dried-on mud or dirt with a soft-bristled brush. If your shoes are particularly grubby on the outside, use a mixture of washing powder and warm water to do this – Surf hand washing powder is ideal.
  2. Read the manufacturer’s instructions – if shoes are machine washable, place them inside a mesh laundry bag and wash on a cool cycle. Wash your shoelaces in the same way. If shoes are not machine washable, wash them in a bucket full of cool water for best results.
  1. To dry, insert newspaper into the shoes to absorb moisture and leave somewhere warm and airy.

Tips for Washing Gym Clothes

Now that you know washing sneakers is easier than you thought, what about cleaning gym clothes? Well, the main thing to consider is that sportswear is often designed to absorb body odour and sweat – so this means it’ll absorb washing powder or liquid concentrate in different ways too. Consequently, you’ll need to be careful how you wash certain types of material. You should always read the care label of on the garment first, and wash in the machine according to the instructions, but here are a few extra tips to keep in mind…

  • Don’t leave smelly sports gear lingering in the washing basket – wash it as soon as you can to prevent odours settling.
  • Pre-treat particularly smelly items by soaking them first in a mixture of cool water and a small amount of Surf washing powder – just read the directions on the label for the correct dosage. This can help eliminate odours.
  • Turn inside out and place in the machine on a cool cycle.
  • Use a high performance washing powder like Surf Superbright to leave clothes smelling super fresh and looking bright
  • Don’t use fabric softener on sportswear. There’s no need to worry about making sportswear soft – in fact, softener can prevent breathable sportswear fabrics from maintaining this quality.

So there you have it – as long as you wash your sports gear regularly and with the right products, there’s no reason they won’t last the distance. For more advice on how to wash clothes, check out the rest of our laundry articles.

We recommend


If your running or cricket whites are looking a little grey, use a washing powder such as Surf Superbright for an extra brightening effect! Just follow the directions on the label for the best results.

Key Steps:

  • When cleaning sneakers, use a soft bristled brush to remove dirt
  • Place in a mesh bag if washing gym clothes in the machine
  • Avoid using fabric softener or excess detergent on absorbent material

Don’t forget


Always read the care label of your shoes and wash accordingly. Remember to read the dosing instructions on your cleaning products, too!