Style experts reveal the gym clothes you can wear TWICE before washing – and the items you definitely cannot
- If you’re going to rewear athleisure wear, stick to just twice before washing
- Avoid rewearing sports bras and compression shorts due to yeast infections
- READ MORE: Swab applied under the armpits could solve heavy perspiration
Anyone who works out knows how big the laundry pile gets by the end of the week.
But experts tell DailyMail.com there are certain items of clothing you can actually re-wear without washing — and without the fear of smelling bad.
Workout clothes are typically made from synthetic materials like polyester and nylon, which harbor more bacteria than other fabrics.
However, those made of natural fabrics like wool and cotton — such as some sports tops, base layers and sweatpants — don’t trap as many bacteria meaning they can be worn twice.
Dr Susan Massick, a dermatologist at Ohio State University, made the recommendation. She also warned people to be careful with sports bras and leggings because they can soak up moisture and become a hotbed for yeast.
Workout clothes tend to be made from synthetic materials that trap sweat and cause more bacteria to form
Dr Massick said: ‘Natural fibers don’t have to be washed as frequently, but most workout clothes these days are made of synthetic fibers [that] while touted as being “breathable” often are not and can trap moisture.’
When you sweat, it mixes with certain types of bacteria that naturally live in the skin.
These bacteria are known as normal flora, which help to fight off more harmful types. As sweat mixes with normal flora, that moisture causes bacteria to multiply.
Pores also open up when you sweat, which allows bacteria to seep deeper into the skin.
‘With exercise, you will likely sweat,’ Dr Massick told DailyMail.com.
Dr Susan Massick, a dermatologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told DailyMail.com to limit wearing gym clothes to just twice before washing
‘With heat and exercise, both your apocrine and eccrine glands will secrete perspiration and body odor.
‘Your clothes will absorb this moisture and odor, and this will be compounded if the clothes stay damp and don’t dry out.’
‘Even with “breathable” fabrics, you’re still going to perspire under these clothes.’
You may especially want to wash your sports bras and leggings, she added.
This is because the fungus yeast thrives in moist areas. If you put sweat-soaked clothing on top of areas that are prone to yeast infections, like the groin and under the breasts, those parts of the body will have greater concentrations of yeast.
‘I would definitely avoid rewearing sweaty socks or sports bras- be sure to have multiple in supply so you can rotate them and not be forced to rewear,’ Dr Massick said.
The symptoms of a yeast infection depend on where it’s located.
Under skin folds, such as the breasts, you may notice rash, pimples, itching or burning, and patches that ooze clear fluid, according to Johns Hopkins. Genital yeast infections cause discharge, redness, and itching or burning.
And though most normal flora are harmless, certain types that grow from harboring sweat could cause serious health consequences.
Staphylococcus bacteria, which is typically found on the skin or in the nose, is one of them. This causes staph infections, which can be fatal if they enter the bloodstream.
Staph infections can cause skin infections, food poisoning, and bacteremia- a bloodstream infection.
One particularly dangerous type of staff infection is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which doesn’t respond to many antibiotics.
Additionally, those who are prone to inflammatory skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis could have a flare-up from rewearing activewear since sweat clogs pores.
‘There are some people who tend to sweat more or follow intense workouts where daily washing of gym clothes is a must to avoid skin irritation and rashes,’ Dr Massick said.
If you are going to rewear your athleisure clothes, Dr Massick suggests sticking to no more than twice before throwing them in the wash. To keep clothes fresher for longer so you can rewear them, wear deodorant before a workout, avoid excessive heat, and hang the clothes up to dry.
And if you’re unsure if you can rewear it, ‘My general rule of thumb is when in doubt, just wash it,’ Dr Massick said.
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