This might seem like a no-brainer, but a common misconception is that activewear can handle more intense detergents. On the contrary, richly toned dyes and/or sweat-wicking fabrics are the most susceptible to harsh chemicals (and avoiding bleach should go without saying). Choose a mild detergent and avoid using more than the recommended amount.
Don’t use fabric softener. As it turns out, dousing your leggings and sports bras in fabric softener may actually be doing more harm than good. When fabrics are made with sweat-wicking materials, fabric softeners and fabric conditioners can potentially interfere with that technology and make them smell— really bad. Not only that, but more sweat can accumulate and leave you in an ultra-sweaty (and stinky) post-workout predicament.
Not only can it destroy your white clothes -- but failing to separate light from dark clothing will cause both to appear worn and dull. For heavily dyed fabrics, don’t just separate light from dark; categorize them into general color families (e.g., red, orange, and pink; blue, green, and purple). These categories are fairly flexible but the more intentional you are, the less you’ll risk unwanted color bleeding. It also helps if you choose garments that are from high-quality brands, like these Augusta Leggings in Plum, because they tend to be more colorfast (less likely to bleed).
The safest wash option, especially when it comes to washing dark clothes, is to opt for the shortest cycle with the coldest water. Hot water can cause colors to bleed and is generally rougher on dyed fabrics. The gentler the cycle, the less likely your clothes are to experience abrasion and wear.
On that note, we’d also recommend keeping similar fabrics together. Turn your gear inside out and wash it with other synthetic fabrics (e.g. nylon, polyester, and spandex) and avoid anything abrasive (such as denim or garments with Velcro or zippers). Wash your leggings and other delicate items separate from your hoodies and towels. We know that cotton fluff (especially from towels) tends to get attached to nylon/spandex/polyester blends.
Before you toss that beloved polyester top into the washer, be sure to double-check the care label. It sounds obvious, but really, the care instructions on your garment’s label can save you a lot of heartache.
Always check the care instructions on the garment itself (in most cases that will be cold wash/tumble dry) — but, also consider hang-drying them instead. Dryers may save you time but at the cost of hurting the garment.
High heat warps individual strands of the fiber of your activewear and weakens the material. This can lead to tears, holes, and permanently alter their shape, flexibility, and ultimately how they fit. So, if you insist on using the dryer out of convenience, you should stick to short cycle times and low heat, minimizing mechanical action and heat exposure. Either way, we’d still recommend handing your most sensitive and valuable activewear on the line, instead.
TLDR: When in doubt, ask your mom.