Episode 6: Let’s talk about stinky running clothes
Today, on The Five Minute Warm Up, I’m about to head off of my jog here, I wanted to talk about something dirty and by dirty, I mean, stinky, dirty running clothes. And in particular, what I’m talking about is sometimes your running shorts, your socks, or your top just gets stinky, real stinky. And this happens a bunch for running clothes because we tend to keep them a long time and we use them a lot and we stink in them. And I came across this question in a Facebook group, and this is the type of thing that just makes me geek out because I think a lot of you know, I was a former chemical engineer. And so whenever there’s a chemical element involved or a science element, I get excited. So this particular one is what do you do when you have a pair of running shorts or a running top that is just really, really stinky. And no matter how much you wash it, you can’t get that stink out.
So, here’s the solution. And the beauty of this solution is that it’s not going to cost you a lot of money. It doesn’t involve going out and getting the next generation of Thai detergent, the sports detergent. And I can say that because I used to work at Proctor and Gamble, or it doesn’t involve getting some super fancy athlete detergent, any of that. What the answer is, is to use a little bit of vinegar when you wash your clothes. And buy little bit, I mean, take a cup of vinegar, dump it into the washing machine, along with your clothes, along with your running shorts. And you’re going to find that when you do that, it will take the stink out of your clothes. And you can just do it. And if you’re fine with the explanation, then that’s great.
But the reason why it works is that vinegar is a mixture of water and about 5% acetic acid. And the reason why vinegar gets rid of the odor, that persistent odor in clothes, is that laundry detergent cleans. It has surfactants, which allows it to mix with water. It has two ends of the molecules, which combined in dirt and grease and pulls the stains out and leaves your clothes clean. But the reason why your clothes continue to stink over time is because there can be bacteria and fungus growing on your clothes. Hot water, a lot of times gets it out. But when it doesn’t, which happens a lot, especially if you’re washing stuff in cold water, you need something else to kill the bacteria and the fungus. And that’s what vinegar does because the acetic acid in there, even at a low concentration of 5% is an acid and the acid is powerful enough to penetrate the bacteria cell walls and destroy them, and destroy the fungus.
And so it breaks down the cells walls of these bacteria and fungus, and it kills them. And by killing them, you are getting rid of the items that are causing the odor in the first place. So, there’s your answer. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, go get a jug of private label vinegar, take about a cup, dump it in your washing machine at the same time you’re washing your clothes. And you’re going to notice that any of that persistent odor that’s being caused by the lingering bacteria and fungus on your clothes is going to disappear. The acetic acid will do its trick. And the beautiful thing is, even though acetic vinegar has that really noxious smell, it doesn’t last long. And that’s because acetic acid evaporates very quickly.
And so as soon as that acetic acid is gone, which is nearly as soon as you take it out of the washing machine, it’s not going to be there anymore. You’re not even left with an odor behind. And so it’s going to kill the bacteria and fungus, leave no odor behind, isn’t going to damage your clothes, isn’t going to change the colors. That’s not what it does. Just a great solution to get all your running gear back fresh. Take care.