Over the past year, so many of us have relied on our trusty sportswear as our daily outfit of choice. Even if you’re not actually using it to keep fit, it’s so comfortable and somehow just wearing it can make you feel fitter and more productive. And if you wear it on a WFH Zoom call, your colleagues will certainly think you look fitter and more productive! For those that are wearing sportswear for its original purpose like a daily work out or a run in the park, chances are, it is having quite a hard life. It’s also likely, that you spent a considerable amount of money on each item so it’s really important to look after it to ensure it stays looking its best and retains its sweat wicking, body shaping and waterproof properties. Here we asked Miele product trainer, Rosie Clark to share her expert knowledge and top tips on how to make your beloved sportswear last longer.
What temperature should I wash my smelly, sweaty running kit at?
The temperature will depend on the material of your clothes; cotton items can be washed regularly at higher temperatures to get rid of bad smells, whereas synthetics are more sensitive to higher temperatures and should be washed at a maximum of 30°C. For peace of mind, it is important to follow the guidance on the fabric care label as the clothing manufacturer will dictate safe temperatures for its items.
If it's just sweaty from a hot run, does it need washing, or will a rinse do the trick?
Ideally your clothes will need thorough washing as water alone will not fully break down the body fats and sweat, so some of the residue would remain in the fabrics. Bear in mind that if you wait too long to wash your items it will be more difficult to get rid of bad smells and dirt from the fabric.
Should you use a specialist detergent for sportswear? And if so, can you then mix in other clothes to make a full load?
We do advise using specialist detergent if possible. Hero Miele detergents such as the Sportswear detergent is excellent at breaking down bad smells and helps to prevent Lycra from snagging or causing electrostatic charging of fibres, helping your sportswear to last longer. Other clothes would not be harmed by being washed in this detergent. It is important to bear in mind however that synthetic clothing is more sensitive than cotton, so it is recommended to load the machine to only a half load with a maximum of 4kg.
How should I wash outer gear that is rain or wind proof?
For outer gear and waterproof items, we advise washing using our specialist Outdoor detergent teamed with the Outerwear programme available in most Miele washing machines, to help protect the fabric. It is important however that every few washes, your waterproof garments are re-proofed. Miele has a Proofing agent which should be used with the Proofing programme on the washing machine. The Proofing agent should then be set by drying the garment using the Proofing programme on a Miele tumble dryer
Some running gear does start to smell, even after washing, as it gets older. Is there anything you can do about that?
To avoid this, ensure that you are washing items regularly using a good quality sportswear detergent, as the odour absorber included will prevent bad smells and this specialised detergent contains the correct enzymes to break down fats and sweat. Miele detergents contain the highest number of enzymes on the market, making them very effective. It is important to also make sure that you are washing your clothes at the hottest possible temperature allowed for the garments. If you have cotton items, we may also recommend using our UltraWhite powder or UltraPhase 2 for Miele W1 model owners from time to time as the included oxy agent will help to eliminate bacteria which causes bad smells. Additionally, when tumble drying clothes we recommend using Miele’s fragrance flacons as they envelop your laundry with fragrance during the cycle, for beautifully scented clothing for up to four weeks.
Should you tumble dry technical fabrics? I've noticed some brands seem to say you can (Nike) and others not to.
This depends on the garment care label advice. Fabrics from different manufacturers will contain a different blend of fibres, so it is important to bear in mind that what applies to one brand may not apply to another. When tumble drying clothes, for long-lasting freshness we would recommend using Miele’s fragrance flacons from which you can choose a range of delicious scents.
What about fabric softener?
Using fabric softener is not necessary when using Miele detergents, as they contain cellulase which helps to keep fabrics from becoming rough. For outerwear, you should not use fabric softener as this will damage the membrane of the fabric. Sports textiles are usually made of synthetic fibres and the functional properties can be affected by fabric softener.
Should you ever put your trainers in the washing machine? (I know the answer to this is probably "ideally not but if you must...") And if you are going to (regardless of advice!!) what setting should you use? Should you take out the insoles etc?
In this instance it is important to follow the advice of your trainer manufacturer as different trainers may be more or less suitable for washing machines. Our Miele washer dryer offers a Trainers programme which is characterised by reduced mechanics similar to the wool and silk programmes. It also features an automatic pre-wash to wash out loose dust. Normally, it is not necessary to take out the insoles.