There is no better feeling than working up a sweat either at the gym or playing your favorite sport. Afterward, however, peeling off your gym clothes and washing them before they start stinking up your house is a must.
Sometimes the smell lingers though, and your regular detergent just won’t cut it. You definitely aren’t going to stop breaking a sweat, so what are your options for keeping your gym clothes clean and smelling as fresh as when you bought them?
This article has you covered. Here, I break down the best gym clothes detergents money can buy and explain why they rise above similar brands.
I’m an avid basketball player with over two decades of experience with the game. Taking that firsthand knowledge and backing it up with deep research allowed me to properly analyze each item covered below.
Sports Sud Laundry Detergent is my top detergent because it has great value and is extremely tough on stains.
The detergent effectively eliminates all odors that come from playing ball without leaving any residue behind. It’s also incredibly versatile, made to work on any clothing or fabric, and totally environmentally friendly. The 140-load batch lasts for months and months too.
If you want to learn more about Sports Sud or the other top detergents for gym clothes, keep reading below.
- Best Overall: Sports Sud Laundry Detergent
- Best Heavy Duty: Sweat X Sport Extreme
- Best All-Natural: Nathan Power Wash Detergent
- Best Smell: WIN Sports Detergent
- Best Powder: Active Wear Detergent
- Best Value: Boardwalk Low Suds
Who Should Get This?
Anyone who plays a lot of basketball and tends to have funky smelling clothes afterwards needs better detergent. It’s easy to assume that you can’t do anything to fix the smell, but the truth is many people have that issue. The brands listed below will all keep your clothes fresh.
They are especially useful for those who play outside because their strain-removing properties get rid of dirt and grime. If you somehow don’t have lingering smells on your clothes after a game, you won’t need these. For everyone else, they go a long way.
Top Sports Detergent for Gym Clothes: Our Picks
This section covers the top detergents by explaining their traits and unique niches.
- Best for: Overall
- Key Features: 140-load batch lasts a long time. Works on any clothing or fabric. Environmental-friendly. Non-toxic. Leaves no residue.
- Scent: Unscented
- Material: Chemical Free
- Form: Powder
If you’re looking for a solid sports detergent, it’s hard to beat the laundry detergent from Sports Sud. The blend isn’t just affordable, offering a staggering 140-loads per container, it’s also fully odor-free and can be used on just about any fabric or clothing piece you have in your closet.
Beyond the incredible versatility, the brand utilizes great ingredients. Not only is it fully non-toxic and environmentally friendly, but it won’t leave any residue on your clothes. There are no fillers or dyes here, which means you’re getting a pure detergent with excellent results.
The only drawback with this brand is that it doesn’t work the best in cold water. That means it can be a bit tricky if you want to mix different colors. However, if you don’t mind that, the detergent will keep your gym clothes smelling good for a long, long time.
- Best for: Heavy Duty
- Key Features: Specially formulated. Nanovasive odor eliminator. Gentle on skin and clothes. Removes stains. Restores fabric performance.
- Scent: Scented
- Material: Animal by Product Free
- Form: Liquid
One of the biggest issues detergents face when dealing with sweaty clothes is they don’t have the chemicals needed to properly handle tough smells. If nothing’s worked for you, or if you simply want to go hard right away, nothing fights with the strength of Sweat X Sport Extreme.
With just a few teaspoons the detergent can properly eliminate any scent or smell. On top of that, it does a great job of washing away stains and is completely safe for all fabrics. That means you can use it as your main option even when you aren’t washing gym clothes.
The only aspect where Sweat X Sport Extreme comes up short is in dealing with extreme stains. It can easily wash away small spots, but for truly deep ones you’re going to need to soak the clothes in warm water before running them through a hot wash.
- Best for: All-Natural
- Key Features: All-natural chemical blend. Dye and fragrance free. Strong on odor. Vegetable-based. Low price point.
- Scent: Unscented
- Volume: 590 millimeters
- Form: Liquid
Coming in at a low price point, the Nathan Power Wash Detergent is a fantastic all-natural option that’s completely safe. Everything about this brand is geared towards staying low key. It’s unscented, non-toxic, comes with no dyes, and leaves behind no residue.
Despite that, it’s extremely strong when it comes to eliminating odors. You’ll have no issues getting rid of unpleasant smells when using it. The vegetable-based ingredients do a great job on all athletic gear. The special spout is also extremely useful in preventing messes.
The only area where this detergent falls short is on stains. It’s much better at odor elimination than it is at wiping away marks. You might want to back it up with a washing pen when doing a particularly tough load.
- Best for: Best Smelling
- Key Features: Odor removing oils. Fresh, long-lasting smell. Extremely good value. Biodegradable. Environmental friendly.
- Scent: Active fresh
- Weight: 32 ounces
- Form: Liquid
The Sports Detergent from WIN is a strong liquid option that works quickly and smells great. Where many options take out the smell from your clothes, this one goes the extra mile by getting rid of the stench and then replacing it with a clean, long-lasting scent.
Beyond that, it’s completely safe and isn’t tested on the animals. Those that care about going green will love that it meets the EPA’s environmental standards, and all players will appreciate how it removes odor in just one wash. There are even multiple sizes available.
The only problem with this detergent is the bottle itself. It doesn’t have the best quality, which can cause it to crack or leak. If you’re careful with it, however, you shouldn’t have any problems. Just know that it may spill if you have any drops or accidents.
- Best for: Powder
- Key Features: All-natural plant-based enzymes. Specialized formula works with all clothing types. Excellent value. Eliminates smells.
- Scent: Unscented
- Material: Phosphate and Gluten Free
- Form: Powder
If you’re looking for a powder option with great results, Active Wear Detergent is your pick. The detergent utilizes a specialized formula that works at both taking away stains and getting rid of any unpleasant odors. With this, you can play for hours and not worry about the smell.
The concentrated formula is plant-based, SLS free, phosphate free, and contains no gluten. It also gives you 90 pounds per bag, which means there’s a lot of value as well.
The one thing you want to keep in mind when using Active Wear is that it’s not the best choice for brighter or more colorful clothes. It works on them, but it may cause them to dull over time. Even so, it’s a great choice if you wear darker shorts and shirts to the gym.
- Best for: Value
- Key Features: Long-lasting. Strong odor-reducing formula. Pleasant scent. Excellent value. Works on stains.
- Scent: Lemon
- Weight: 40 pounds
- Form: Powder
Boardwalk Low Suds is a fantastic detergent for players who want good results at a low price. While the upfront cost isn’t the cheapest on the market, the box lasts a long, long time. You’ll be able to get tons of use out of a single purchase, which is perfect for people on a budget.
As with the other top options, Low Suds smell great, thanks to the strong lemon scent, and it works well no matter how much you sweat while you play. A great pick for players who need something strong that won’t cost an arm and a leg.
Though Low Suds does a great job at getting rid of workout odors, the lemon scent could be a bit more pronounced. It doesn’t hold up that well. The detergent is amazing at keeping your sweaty gym clothes clean, but don’t expect it to give you a strong odor.
Best Sports Detergent for Gym Clothes: What to Look For
Looking for the traits in this section will ensure you get the best possible detergent.
Your detergent needs to be versatile. That is to say, it has to work on clothes beyond the ones you play in. Many items, such as beach towels and bathing suits, get stinky too. Try to find something that works on all of them, as that will save you some extra money in the long run.
While all of the detergents in this guide are strictly non-toxic and “people friendly”, you still want to make sure whatever you buy ticks both of those boxes. Many soaps contain extra ingredients that aren’t good for you or the environment. Look for brands that will help the Earth, not hurt it.
You never want to spend too much money on your detergent if you don’t have to. That goes double if you’re on a budget. Look for dollar-per-load ratio. The lower you can get, the more money you’ll save in the long run. That’s especially true if you can get large value packs.
Reading about smelly clothes is one thing, but understanding them is another. This section covers some extra questions you may have.
What Do You Do with Sweaty Gym Clothes?
You have two options. If you own a ventilated gym bag you can change after playing and then wash them when you get home. If you don’t have one, you can simply wear them back to your house and change when you arrive.
Is it Ok to Wear Gym Clothes More than Once?
Absolutely. You can dry them out and wear them two days in a row, or you can wash them after use with one of the above detergents and then put them on.
Why Do My Gym Clothes Still Smell After Washing?
You likely aren’t using the right detergents to fully get the smell out. Consult the above brands to know how to fix that issue.
Useful Tips and Resources
Now that you’ve solved your stinky clothes conundrum, you need to be sure the stench doesn’t stick to other items or sit in your laundry room too long. Always try to do a load fairly quickly after playing for a long period of time.
It also helps to invest in a heavy-duty laundry bag to keep your gym clothes separate from everything else. That’s especially important if you’re someone who likes to wait on washing.
Smelling bad shouldn’t deter you from working hard in the gym or on the field. It also shouldn’t panic your poor mother who may end up with the brunt of the smelly clothes at the end of the game. Investing in any one of our proven sports detergents will save your clothes from a lot of wear and tear and your house won’t smell like a locker room.
The Sports Sud Laundry Detergent is my pick for the best gym clothes detergent on the market. It stands out for numerous reasons, including its environmentally friendly blend, strong, odor-reducing properties, and ability to be used on any fabric.
It leaves no residue, has no smell, and is completely chemical free. Add on the 140-load batch and you get a great value detergent that will get rid of any unpleasant odors from anything you wear.