How often do you actually need to wash your activewear?

More than you think.

Photo: Alexander Wang x H&M

We brunch, sip almond lattes and stock up at About Life in our activewear. Occasionally, we even exercise.

And, at some or another, we’ve all worn our favourite Lulus one too many times – nothing else looks as good with those Stan Smiths, right? – and, honestly, gotten away with it.

But as we all know, not all athleisure was created equal.

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Yes, compression tights worn with crop tops is the look du jour, but how frequently do you *actually* have to wash your gear? You know, when it’s been used for its intended purposes.

According to Ashlea Holdsworth, head of womenswear at The Upside, you probably should be giving your garb a clean after every workout. While yoga pants might have replaced jeans, they come with a whole new set of care instructions.

“Most activewear has synthetic fibres meaning they dry fast so there isn’t much of an excuse not to wash regularly. Also, technology these days, such as sweat-wicking and antimicrobial fabrics, means your items might feel fresh, but should be washed, especially if the garment is tight fitting,” says Holdsworth.

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The only exception?

“A loose fitting tank for a second workout if the first time was a low impact exercise, but sports bras, socks and leg wear need to be washed frequently.”

Regularly washes won’t ruin things (look, we know this stuff doesn’t come cheap) as long as you follow the fine print.

“This usually means a cold wash, and for brightly printed pieces, dry in the shade out of direct sunlight,” says Holdsworth.

Otherwise, avoid putting your gear in the washing machine with fabrics that are abrasive.

“This includes fabrics like Velcro, as it can get stuck to your legwear or crop tops and may cause pilling on that particular area,” she says.

As for actually exercising? Well, that’s on you.

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