Our Favorite Detergent For Workout Clothes Tested

Active Lifestyles mean active odors. Working up a sweat comes with the territory and you are going to want to find a powerful detergent to get the funk out. We thought we would help by coming up with the 10 Best Detergents for Active Wear.

Most don’t mix the good with the bad and ugly when it comes to laundry. Therefore, getting a little extra from your detergent to work on those workout threads is key. Scroll through our line up and find out what makes these detergents stand out above other standard laundry soaps.

You can also scroll through and check out the Criteria and FAQs if you have any questions. We try to make your search easier by sharing what we look for when researching the best products for your activewear. It is all there to guide and get you smelling fresh faster.

Standout Picks

Tru Earth Eco-friendly laundry strips
Well, what you'll notice first is that these are "laundry strips". In the quest for a really eco-friendly way to clean your laundry, along with that stinky running gear, while also reducing the waste of giant plastic bottles, Tru Earth developed these.Well... There's more to it than that I'm sure, but either way, combined with the eco-friendly approach and the fact that they actually get your clothes clean well, these ended up as our favorite at the top of our list!
Amazon Link
OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover
Known for their somewhat obnoxious infomercials we must admit being slightly reticent to add OxiClean to our list. In the end, however, their product is simply too good at removing stains to ignore. If you’ve got a tough stain or discoloration embedded somewhere in your clothes OxiClean is the answer. This is an industrial-strength cleaner that will return your clothes to pre-stain condition and won’t fade colors over time. This can be used stand-alone or even better in tandem with another type of detergent. If stains are your issue, this is your solution.
Amazon Link
Roux Maison
If you tend to be attracted to higher-end, extremely eco-friendly products you’ll love the All Natural Laundry Detergent from Roux Maison. This is a healthy and fragrant (in a Whole Foods kind of way) way to get your sweaty clothes sparkling clean. It’s also been made to protect technical material, such as lycra or spandex, and waterproof gear retains all its properties needed to keep functioning at a top-level. Highly recommended.
Amazon Link
Sweat X Sport
This detergent is specifically for athletes. It eliminates odors and removes tough stains like mud, dirt, and grass. It is non-toxic, biodegradable and safe for all types of washer and fabrics.
Amazon Link
Sports Suds
If you need a heavy hitter to take on muck, odor, and stains; Sports Suds Detergent is an excellent option to turn to in that it provides a heavy-duty clean and doesn’t leave any residue behind. Sports suds clean micro woven fibers by allowing air to go through pores in technical training shirts, pants or shorts. It’s completely biodegradable and produced by an ethical company who did not employ any animal testing in the production of said product. For additional reasons why we think this stuff is so great to see below:
Amazon Link
Nathan Sport-Wash
If the odor is something that really concerns you then Nathan’s Sport Wash could be your best friend as well as your best detergent for workout clothes. I’m sure just about everyone has left some sweaty clothes in their bag or a locker only to discover them (and their heinous smell) a few days later. This is what the Sport-Wash is meant for, it will deodorize even the worst kinds of funky smells. Some detergents try to mask the problem by covering them up with flowery perfumes. This soap actually eliminates the odor leaving your expensive clothes good to go. Also no worries about fading here, technical clothing will retain its integrity even with frequent washing.
Amazon Link
Persil Proclean Power
If you are looking for a laundry detergent that can remove the toughest stains then Persil porcelain is the detergent to use leaving your clothes clean and fresh. It a self-activating laundry detergent and environment-friendly. It has an original scent that is pleasant. It works best all water temperatures, it also works best in high-efficiency and standard washers.
Amazon Link
WIN Sports
WIN is a brand that comes highly recommended by runners and athletes. This unscented sports detergent helps root out the most entrenched odors. WIN is also safe to use a variety of fabrics, so feel free to use it to wash both your expensive compression base layer as well as your cheap gym shorts. The one word of caution would be to be wary of ordering this detergent online, some people had issues with loose caps and leakage during shipping.
Amazon Link
Defunkify Active Wash
This is an all-natural option made from plant-based enzymes. It's specially formulated for synthetic fibers so it's perfect for workout clothes which are usually made out of these fibers because they help make products more breathable. It has no artificial dyes or fragrances and is environmentally friendly and doesn't negatively affect sensitive skin. Most users found it to be very effective but a few noted that the zip lock on the bag (if you choose that option) doesn't seal very well.
Amazon Link
Seventh Generation
If your skin is sensitive to other detergents then seventh generation liquid detergent is the detergent to use because in it is naturally made. It is a liquid detergent that delivers greater compared to other regular detergents. This is the best detergent that will be perfect for your clothes.
Amazon Link

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Effectiveness

If it isn't cleaning deep, it isn't for activewear.

Athletes tend to have a larger selection of activewear and most usually have their favorite piece, which gets worn more. Whether its a shirt, a pair of socks, or other pieces of clothing, making sure it gets cleaned effectively can save you from a case of the smellies.

Knowing these style clothes will get washed more also needs to be evaluated. An activewear detergent should be strong enough to get out stains and odors while also being gentle on the fabric.

How effective a laundry soap is ties into ingredients and how powerful they deodorize and really clean clothes as well. Normal laundry soap is good for basic needs, but when you need an extra boost of antimicrobial cleaning, the best detergents for activewear add should have the extra you need for deeper cleaning.

Side Effects

Some people have sensitive skin and we recognize that.

Many people have allergies to chemicals in detergents and other soaps alike. Most detergents for activewear will have warnings or labels that say “for sensitive skin” on them.

We stated earlier that you want a detergent that is gentle yet effective on the material, you also want to make sure it is gentle on the skin as well. Nothing worse than irritation when you’re going the stretch. Allergies and rashes can slow us down and we don’t need chemical interference.

Size

Larger households do more laundry and will usually purchase bulk in most items like detergents.

We suggest making sure a detergent works for you and your family by sampling it prior to buying bulk. How one person reacts to a type of detergent is different from the next and you don't want to buy a bunch of something you cannot use.

However, a huge plus of buying more is that it usually will come cheaper per ounce. Not to mention, that is fewer trips to the store. Detergent doesn't go bad so you won't have to worry about it expiring on your clothes.

Potency

How well a detergent makes your clothes smell or deodorize while cleaning is what potency is about.

Potency is similar to Effectiveness, however, we are going to focus on how well it works to fight odor. As we mentioned, sensitivities can be an issue with detergents. Usually, this is due to unnatural and chemical infused scents.

Purchasing naturally scented deodorants or scentless shouldn't interfere with how well a detergent gets out the odor. The best detergents won’t mask the smell, they will clean it out. You will find fresh clothes whether you want to smell like lavender or just air.

Finding a detergent with antimicrobial and antibacterial properties is a good place to start. We added a variety to make sure we are covering all types of needs and preferences. Not everybody is made the same and the best detergents for activewear accommodate this.

Value

Just because a price tag is high doesn't mean the quality of a product is.

Finding the best detergents comes in a full package of criteria and based off what it offers vs how much it cost. Furthermore, getting more of it can bring down the price raising the value as well.

Pay attention to what the consumers are saying. You will find allergy warnings and other information that can guide you in finding the best option for you within the conversation. We made sure that all of our top 10 were affordable and when compared the best based off what they are offering versus the price tag just like we said.

Our top 10 Favorite Detergents

1. Tru Earth Eco-Strips

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Tru Earth Eco-friendly laundry strips
Amazon Link

Well, what you'll notice first is that these are "laundry strips". In the quest for a really eco-friendly way to clean your laundry, along with that stinky running gear, while also reducing the waste of giant plastic bottles, Tru Earth developed these.Well... There's more to it than that I'm sure, but either way, combined with the eco-friendly approach and the fact that they actually get your clothes clean well, these ended up as our favorite at the top of our list!

Read more

Product Details

- The big one here is there is no giant bottle that you have to feel guilty about tossing out when it's empty.
- The second point we really like is Tru Earth's laundry strips are hypoallergenic and should be fine to use on most sensitive skin.
- They work well with both HE and standard washing machines.
- As far as stains go, these strips work well getting the deep stuff out.
- The formula is ultra-concentrated, although there are much in the way of suds. This is good when the rinse cycle kicks in.
- Certified biodegradable

Here are some things that Tru Earth's laundry strips don't have (Good stuff not to have):
- Paraben free
- No added dyes
- No Chlorine Bleach
- No animal based ingredients (they do not test on animals, and neither do their ingredient suppliers).
- Free of phosphates
- You also won't find 1,4-dioxane, which is not super great for ground water and can be irritating to people skin and eyes.

Amazon Link

2. OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover

Where to buy
Amazon Link
OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover
Amazon Link

Known for their somewhat obnoxious infomercials we must admit being slightly reticent to add OxiClean to our list. In the end, however, their product is simply too good at removing stains to ignore. If you’ve got a tough stain or discoloration embedded somewhere in your clothes OxiClean is the answer. This is an industrial-strength cleaner that will return your clothes to pre-stain condition and won’t fade colors over time. This can be used stand-alone or even better in tandem with another type of detergent. If stains are your issue, this is your solution.

Read more

Product Detail

-OxiClean's patented formula water-activated, and upon contact unleashes bubbling oxygen power safe and efficient cleaning
-Functions as a fighter, booster, whitener, and overall brightener
-Best used in regular and HE washers
-Special additives are designed to help rinse soiled spots and hard to get stains away
-Color safe and contains no chlorine

Amazon Link

3. Roux Maison

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Roux Maison
Amazon Link

If you tend to be attracted to higher-end, extremely eco-friendly products you’ll love the All Natural Laundry Detergent from Roux Maison. This is a healthy and fragrant (in a Whole Foods kind of way) way to get your sweaty clothes sparkling clean. It’s also been made to protect technical material, such as lycra or spandex, and waterproof gear retains all its properties needed to keep functioning at a top-level. Highly recommended.

Read more

Product Details:

-16 oz Sport sweet tea s is a great solution for hand or machine washing
-Specifically designed to get rid of grime, odor, and any bacteria that workout gear can quickly accumulate
-Safe for all fabric types, and in many cases provides a nice level of maintenance
-This detergent has a neutral pH and never contains harmful ingredients, all-natural
-Proudly manufactured in the USA, no animal testing
-No overpowering fragrances, additives or dyes, and bottles are always BPA-free, stay healthy and in sync with nature!

Amazon Link

4. Sweat X Sport

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Sweat X Sport
Amazon Link

This detergent is specifically for athletes. It eliminates odors and removes tough stains like mud, dirt, and grass. It is non-toxic, biodegradable and safe for all types of washer and fabrics.

Read more

Product Details

- Formulated for use specifically with the synthetic fibers that are typically used in athletic wear
- Biodegradable, safe for sensitive skin, and non-toxic
- It removes the stains that are typical, with sports: grass, clay, sweat, blood, even wine, and pet food
- It will guard and maintain the compression, moisture-wicking, and breathability of your sporting garments
- Freshens and removes even the worst odors
- Safe for all washing machine types including front and top loading and HE

Amazon Link

5. Sports Suds

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Sports Suds
Amazon Link

If you need a heavy hitter to take on muck, odor, and stains; Sports Suds Detergent is an excellent option to turn to in that it provides a heavy-duty clean and doesn’t leave any residue behind. Sports suds clean micro woven fibers by allowing air to go through pores in technical training shirts, pants or shorts. It’s completely biodegradable and produced by an ethical company who did not employ any animal testing in the production of said product. For additional reasons why we think this stuff is so great to see below:

Read more

Product Details

-Make clothes completely odor-free. Rinses bacteria and odor-causing agents completely out of fabric
-Has no dyes, perfume, brighteners, sodium sulfates, PABAs, softeners or other fillers
-All residue washes out, leaving clothes chemical-free
-Non-toxic, biodegradable. And hypo-allergenic
-Handy/portable zippered pouches can take on over 40 full machine loads. Easy to tuck into pockets or luggage for handwashing situations
-Low sudsing. Great to use in a front loading washer

Amazon Link

6. Nathan Sport-Wash

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Nathan Sport-Wash
Amazon Link

If the odor is something that really concerns you then Nathan’s Sport Wash could be your best friend as well as your best detergent for workout clothes. I’m sure just about everyone has left some sweaty clothes in their bag or a locker only to discover them (and their heinous smell) a few days later. This is what the Sport-Wash is meant for, it will deodorize even the worst kinds of funky smells. Some detergents try to mask the problem by covering them up with flowery perfumes. This soap actually eliminates the odor leaving your expensive clothes good to go. Also no worries about fading here, technical clothing will retain its integrity even with frequent washing.

Read more

Product Details

-Formulated specifically to fix problems associated with using “normal” detergents on technical clothing
-Digs deep to remove trapped odors and deep stains from your favorite garments
-Residue-free, non-allergenic, no strong smells or harsh chemicals
-Systematically removes dirt, kills bacteria, and restores breathability and moisture-wicking capabilities
-Completely biodegradable and won’t make your colors fade

Amazon Link

7. Persil Proclean Power

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Persil Proclean Power
Amazon Link

If you are looking for a laundry detergent that can remove the toughest stains then Persil porcelain is the detergent to use leaving your clothes clean and fresh. It a self-activating laundry detergent and environment-friendly. It has an original scent that is pleasant. It works best all water temperatures, it also works best in high-efficiency and standard washers.

Read more

Extraordinary for ordinary clothing and to help battle extreme stains, this effective recipe conveys a superior cleansing Pro-Lift stain remover technology. Power-Caps are extraordinary for any temperature during washing and all clothes washer sorts, HE included. This cleanser comes in a tub with 62 Power-Caps, useful for about 60 loads. OK for colors and whites, Persil Proclean clothing cleansers are figured with Pro10 Technology and made from sodium perborate and sodium silicate - hence the name Persil.

Amazon Link

8. WIN Sports

Where to buy
Amazon Link
WIN Sports
Amazon Link

WIN is a brand that comes highly recommended by runners and athletes. This unscented sports detergent helps root out the most entrenched odors. WIN is also safe to use a variety of fabrics, so feel free to use it to wash both your expensive compression base layer as well as your cheap gym shorts. The one word of caution would be to be wary of ordering this detergent online, some people had issues with loose caps and leakage during shipping.

Read more

Product Details

Designed for technical and synthetic fibers
Unscented
Won’t leave a residue
3 sizes of bottles available

Amazon Link

9. Defunkify Active Wash

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Defunkify Active Wash
Amazon Link

This is an all-natural option made from plant-based enzymes. It's specially formulated for synthetic fibers so it's perfect for workout clothes which are usually made out of these fibers because they help make products more breathable. It has no artificial dyes or fragrances and is environmentally friendly and doesn't negatively affect sensitive skin. Most users found it to be very effective but a few noted that the zip lock on the bag (if you choose that option) doesn't seal very well.

Read more

Effectiveness

Despite being made of only natural ingredients, most users found it to work well in removing odors as well as stains from things like blood, grass, and sweat which can often come from sporting activities.

Product Purity

In terms of this factor, this is one of the highest-rated products on our list. It is made of only plant-based enzymes with no artificial fragrances or other harmful ingredients.

Size

It comes in 56 and 92 load sizes. The 56 load option comes in a plastic tub and the 92 load option comes in a resealable plastic bag. Some users found that the resealable bag wasn't effective and didn't seal well.

Potency

This one doesn't have any fragrances of any kind, synthetic or otherwise.

Value

This option is surprisingly affordable for a natural product, which tends to be more expensive.

Amazon Link

10. Seventh Generation

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Seventh Generation
Amazon Link

If your skin is sensitive to other detergents then seventh generation liquid detergent is the detergent to use because in it is naturally made. It is a liquid detergent that delivers greater compared to other regular detergents. This is the best detergent that will be perfect for your clothes.

Read more

Product description

Seventh Generation liquid detergent has no fragrance and scented with extracts from plants like geranium and vanilla. It fights stubborn stains like those from grass and chocolate. The detergent is 100% made from the plant. This natural detergent fight tough stains without using artificial brightness, dyes, and fragrance, It is formulated for higher efficiency and standard equipment. Is in a concentrated form and performs similar to the natural cloth detergents. Mostly used for sensitive skins as well, with its natural form it does a pretty good job as it keeps off any chemicals at bay while protecting your hands and also your clothes from getting changed due to different colors

Amazon Link

Sources

  1. Markham Heid, The Right Way to Wash Your Workout Clothes, Fitness tips.
  2. Mary H.J. Farrell, Best Detergents for Smelly Workout Clothes, Consumer reports.
  3. MICHELE FOLEY, Best Laundry Detergent For Workout Clothes, Fitness
  4. MARY MARLOWE LEVERETTE, Best Detergents for Workout Clothes, Laundry Products

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Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.