Most forms of yoga are less about getting a profuse sweat on and more about clearing your mind and easing bodily tensions, which begs the question… should you wash your yoga clothes after a class? Well, it depends.
If you run hot, sweating buckets with every session, then you should absolutely wash your yoga clothes immediately afterward, or at least before your next class.
However, if you keep it chill during your practice, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t wear your clothes once or twice more before cleaning them.
Should You Wash Yoga Clothes After Hot Yoga?
If it’s hot yoga we’re talking about, then the answer will always be a resounding yes! You definitely need to be washing your clothes after each class, as the whole point of hot yoga is to trigger perspiration.
The overall amount of moisture loss during hot yoga differs from person to person, but it can be as much as 2 liters over the course of a single session, and considering hot yoga temperatures fall between 80 and 105 °F, it’s hardly a surprise.
Most of that 2 liters is absorbed by your yoga clothes, where it will stay until they’re given a good wash, which isn’t the nicest thought.
Why Should You Wash Sweaty Yoga Clothes?
There are a number of reasons why it’s probably best to wash your yoga clothes regularly.
What’s the harm of a bit of sweat, ay? Well, it doesn’t smell too great, and it’s sort of a faux pa to be stinky in this day and age. No one wants to be smelly, and a good way to ensure you don’t inadvertently become so is to wash your clothes regularly.
Of course, “the sniff test” is a pretty well-known method of weeding out clothes that have surpassed the stinky barrier, but it’s not always a wise move. Sometimes, we experience smell fatigue, which is when we stop smelling a certain scent.
Once we can no longer detect the smell of sweat, we may believe our clothes to be good for another round, when really, they’re ready for thorough cleaning.
What’s more, the longer we wait before washing clothes, the more time the stench of sweat has to sink into the fabric, making it harder to get rid of. But it’s not just sweat you have to worry about, though…
Every time we wear our clothes, the fibers pick up loads of bacteria and yeast from our skin, providing a fertile environment for bacterial reproduction, even after your clothes have fully dried off.
If we put our used clothes back on again before washing them, the now larger bacteria population is reintroduced to the skin, potentially causing severe irritation and in some cases, bacterial infection.
Some people try to limit their washes because they fear it will wear their clothes out faster, and while this can be true if you don’t wash your clothes properly, leaving your clothes unwashed isn’t a good solution.
All the sweat and grime building up in your clothes can expedite the deterioration of your threads, especially if they’re stored crumpled up in a dark location for extended periods.
Wash your clothes frequently and in accordance with the advice on the label to keep them in top condition for the longest possible time.
Consider The Material
Did you know that different materials react differently to sweat and bacteria? This means that you should check the fabric DNA of your yoga clothes when deciding whether a wash is in order.
For instance, cotton has awesome antimicrobial properties, as does water-resistant nylon, but polyester… not so much.
So, if you’re a bit of a wash-dodger, and you want to keep the stench at bay, check the label of any item of yoga or exercise clothing before you buy it.
When Should You Wash Yoga Clothes?
As mentioned earlier, if you work up quite a sweat during a yoga session, then it’s best to throw your clothes in the wash ASAP.
On the other hand, if it was a pretty relaxed session, and you didn’t get too hot and bothered, you can risk another wear or two, unless, that is, you went commando. Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with us, but that’s a lot of extra bacteria to factor into the equation.
If you don’t wear underwear to your yoga sessions, it makes sense to treat your leggings or whatever you’re wearing down below as your unmentionables, meaning they need to be cleaned after every single session, regardless of class intensity.
How To Wash Yoga Pants?
Yoga pants are composed of state-of-the-art fibers that facilitate a second-skin fit that retains elasticity for years… if you treat them right. So, let’s take a look at a few hot tips on looking after your favorite workout bottoms.
Limit the time bacteria have to reproduce in your yoga pants by throwing them straight into the wash when you get home. That means no laundry piles, no hampers, and no forgetting to take them out of your exercise bag.
No Harsh Detergents
Activewear may seem resilient during our workouts, but it’s actually quite susceptible to damage during a wash, especially if you’re using harsh detergents.
Aggressive detergents will strip your yoga pants of their color, so choose something composed primarily of natural and mild ingredients.
Bleach is far too intensive for yoga pants. Not only will it fade the colors of the fabric; it will also degrade the fibers.
No Fabric Softeners
Fabric softener is a must for most clothing, but not for yoga pants, as it can ruin the sweat-wicking properties, and once they’re gone, yoga pants are no longer suitable for exercise.
Gentle Washes Only
A gentle wash is the only way to go with your yoga pants, and it’s always best to place them in a laundry bag for extra protection.
If you want the vibrancy of your yoga pants to last a long time, not only should you use your machine’s delicate wash, you should also turn the temperature down.
Okay, so we’ve established that you shouldn’t use fabric softener on your yoga pants, but how then are we supposed to deal with the build-up of nasty odors over time? Simple… essential oils.
A few drops of say, lavender, tea tree, or citrus oil will work wonders, keeping your yoga pants smelling as fantastic as they look.
Dryers are strictly out of the question when washing yoga pants, as they’ll shrink quite dramatically — They’re supposed to be skin tight, but there’s a limit. Instead, hang them up to air dry. It’ll take longer, but they’ll still fit when they’re dry.
There you have it — To be safe, it’s best to wash yoga clothes after each class, but realistically, is anything bad going to happen if you wear them for two gentle sessions? Nope.
Having said that, if your sessions are quite close together, people might start noticing that you’re wearing unwashed clothes, which isn’t what you want. You may save a few pennies by holding off on the wash, but can you afford to be a social pariah in your favorite yoga or workout haunt?
Our advice? Play it safe, and wash those yoga clothes!