What Does Fabric Softener Do To Workout Clothes?

Most people think that fabric softener is only for making clothes feel soft. But did you know that it can also help your workout clothes perform better?


The fabric softener you use on your everyday laundry is likely not helping you to get the most out of your workout clothes. Fabric softeners, specifically those containing chemicals and fragrances, can cause harm to performance fabrics and affect the way they function. To get the best performance from your activewear, it is important to understand what fabric softener does and why it should be avoided when laundering workout clothes. This guide will provide information about the effects of fabric softener on workout clothing, as well as advice for how to care for activewear properly.

What is Fabric Softener?

Fabric softener is a laundry-aid product designed to reduce static cling, make clothes feel softer, and help reduce wrinkles. They can also help fabrics last longer by preventing them from becoming dry and brittle. Fabric softener comes in liquid, sheet, or dryer ball forms that are usually added to a washing machine cycle during the rinse stage.

While many fabric softeners work well on regular everyday clothes, they may not be suitable to use on all types of workout clothes such as spandex or nylon. These materials are naturally stretchy and often have a finish applied to them which gives them the desired wicking properties. The chemicals used in fabric softeners can remove these finishes or change the fit of the clothing after a few washes. So it is recommended that fabric softeners not be used on fabrics such as spandex or nylon because it can permanently damage their properties and styling intended for fitness apparel.

It’s important to read labels carefully when selecting fabric softener for use on workout clothes as some products are formulated specifically for activewear and don’t contain any ingredients that could harm synthetic fibers or special coatings intended to keep moisture away from their skin. Exercise equipment should also be washed separately with mild soap in cold water only; never use bleach when cleaning items such as weights, mats, and medicine balls as this could cause discoloration and breakdown of the surface material.

The Benefits of Fabric Softener for Workout Clothes

Fabric softener is an effective way to keep your workout clothes feeling fresh and clean. It helps to keep your clothes soft and reduce static cling, which makes them more comfortable to wear. Fabric softener can also help your exercise clothes last longer. In this article, we will explore the benefits of fabric softener for workout clothes.

Reduces Static Cling

Fabric softener can be beneficial to your workout clothing because it reduces static cling. Clothes made of materials like polyester, nylon, and spandex attract static electricity and cling to the body in an unflattering way. This is especially noticeable when doing activities like yoga or dancing where the body is moving through different positions. Fabric softener helps reduce static electricity by coating each fiber of material with conditioning chemicals. As a result, your workout clothes won’t cling and move with you more comfortably during workouts. This also helps prevent static shock which can be both unpleasant and dangerous. Additionally, fabric softener can help reduce lint accumulation on work out clothes since the conditioner sticks to fibers and helps hold on smaller particles of dust or debris that would otherwise accumulate as lint on your clothing.

Prevents Fading

Using fabric softener can be very beneficial for workout clothes, as it helps to prevent fading in dark or brightly colored fabrics. Frequent washing and drying can lead to the colors in your workout clothes fading, but adding fabric softener to your wash will help to keep the color vibrant and reduce fading. Fabric softener also helps keep sweat stains from setting, keeping your garments bright and vibrant no matter how much you wear them. Furthermore, fabric softener acts as a shield against dirt and oils that can stick to fibers of the cloth and cause discoloration.

Makes Clothes Softer and More Comfortable

Fabric softener has many benefits for all types of clothing, and it especially helps when it comes to workout clothes. Fabric softener can make your workout clothes softer and more comfortable. This is important because if your workout clothes are too stiff or abrasive, then they could cause chafing and skin irritation. Fabric softener can help to minimize that problem. It also helps to reduce static cling, which is especially useful for synthetic fabrics—like the ones often found in yoga pants or running shorts. Additionally, if you have a load of smelly gym clothes in your laundry basket, fabric softener can help to mask the odor while giving your workout garb a nice clean scent when you take them out of the dryer.

How to Use Fabric Softener for Workout Clothes

Using fabric softener for workout clothes is a great way to not only keep your clothes from smelling bad, but also from looking wrinkled and worn out. Fabric softener can make your workout clothes more comfortable, since it helps to reduce static and add a bit of softness. It can also help make sure that the fabric in your clothes lasts longer by protecting the fibers from wear and tear. Let’s take a closer look at how to use fabric softener for workout clothes.

Add Fabric Softener to the Wash Cycle

To help keep workout clothes soft and comfortable, add fabric softener to the regular wash load, using material-specific guidelines for the amount you should use. Generally speaking, one quarter cup of liquid fabric softener should suffice; however, if the load of clothes is particularly large or heavily soiled, use a bit more. For lightly soiled items, including lighter exercise fabrics such as those from yoga and pilates classes, you can reduce that amount by half. Alternatively, you can use sheets for larger machines; one sheet per full-size load usually does the trick. Always check labels carefully to determine whether liquid or sheets are meant for a certain size of machine.

If you’re hand washing your gym gear in a sink or bucket and don’t have access to either liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets, add two tablespoons of distilled white vinegar to the rinse water instead. Just as traditional fabric conditioners work by adding moisture back into fabrics while coating them with emollients that prevent static cling and fragrantly scent the clothing with aroma compounds such as linalool (a natural insect repellent) and lilial (caution: toxic!), white vinegar adds some of these same benefits without any of the icky chemicals or perfumes found in tissue fabric softeners.

Use a Dryer Sheet

A dryer sheet is the most popular way to use fabric softener for workout clothes. This is because it’s an easy and convenient method to add a softening agent to laundry loads. When loading the washing machine, simply toss in a new dryer sheet with the load. Susren’s recommends selecting sheets that are designed for sensitive skin in order to avoid any irritation from fragrances or dyes that other types of sheets contain. Once the washing cycle is complete, transfer the load to the dryer with a single sheet and set your machine for its normal cycle. The heat from the dryer will help activate the softeners found in dryer sheets and give you a softer finish on your workout clothes.

Spot Treat with Fabric Softener

Spot treatment with fabric softener is one of the most effective ways to keep your workout clothes fresh. For particularly smelly areas, such as the armpits, apply a few drops of liquid fabric softener directly to the material and rub it in gently. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before continuing with other laundry steps.

If you’d prefer, you can also add fabric softener directly to the wash cycle; this will help reduce static electricity and make garments softer. Follow manufacturer’s directions for best results. To maximize scent retention, use a “total release” fabric softener which evenly disperses over fabrics during drying cycles.

For heavily soiled workout clothing, you may want to consider pre-treating with both detergent and laundry additives such as fabric softeners or stain removers. Be sure to follow the product instructions carefully — some applications require soaking for up to eight hours before laundering in order for them to be fully effective!


In conclusion, fabric softener does have some benefits for workout clothes. It helps reduce static, traps in odor and provides a mild scent. However, it may also block porosity of technical fabrics, leading to a decrease in breathability and wicking capabilities. For many athletes, the amount of softening offered by fabric softeners is simply not worth the consequences. Many experts recommend avoiding fabric softeners or only using them on a limited basis. If you want to do something additional to freshen up your technical apparel, consider using one of the specialized detergents and gently washing your gear after each wear. This is especially important if you’ve just participated in an intense activity like running or aerobics — after all the goal is to stay cool and comfortable while exercising!

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