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Why You Should Wash Your Leggings After Every Single Workout

Doing laundry sucks, especially if you work out. If you’re like us, your leggings, sports bras, and sweat-wicking tops far outnumber anything else in your life that needs cleaning (or anything in your life, tbh). The idea of washing a mountain of activewear may inspire you to wear the same leggings once, twice, maybe even three (!!!) times in a row. Don’t, just don’t. For the love of your fellow classmates and the health of your vagina, just back away from the idea of wearing yesterday’s Spin leggings in today’s yoga class.

We get it, leggings can seem deceptively clean the next day. They dry quickly, often without odor, and if the leggings are black, it can seem like they were never worn at all. Don’t let this magic fool you. They may look clean, they may even feel clean, but they are definitely not clean — in fact, they are teeming with bacteria leftover from your previous sweat session. When you decide to recycle, reuse, and abuse those same pair of pants in a second workout, the heat and sweat from your body is going to give second life to that bacteria in a very disgusting way. If you’ve ever been in a class and smelled a disgusting, foul stench, you know what I’m talking about here: that is the smell of someone who thought it was OK to wear those workout clothes one more time.

Beyond a nasty stench, wearing unwashed leggings isn’t great for the health of your vulva. If you wear your leggings without underwear, like a lot of us do, you’re now exposing your nether regions to day-old sweat and bacteria, which can lead to uncomfortable conditions like vaginitis and yeast infections. No one wants to be itchy vagina in class, especially when clipped into a Spin bike.

If we still haven’t convinced you of this one-time-wear rule, consider how much you spend on your gear. Leggings are definitely not cheap, and the best way to make them last — and keep all of their technical properties — is to care for them in the right way. Don’t let sweat and bacteria build up from not washing them — this can break down the material and in some cases bring on mold. While it’s insane to think you can wash you gear immediately after a workout, we recommend rinsing your clothing out with water, allowing it to air dry before you throw it in your hamper, or putting it in a bag and tossing it in the freezer. All of these methods will help kill the bacteria and calm down foul odors until your next wash.

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