The 5 Best Sports Detergents to Buy in 2018

Get the stink out of your workout clothes

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Today's sports and active wear are made from high-tech moisture-wicking fibers that make us feel more comfortable. Unfortunately, these performance fibers can hold onto bacteria that cause odor and can lose their advantages if washed and dried the wrong way. Just adding fabric softener to the rinse cycle or using a dryer sheet and high heat can ruin the beneficial aspects of the fabric.

An entire laundry detergent category has sprung up to handle the cleaning of exercise and sports wear. All of these products promise to remove odor and protect the finishes of performance fabrics. The Spruce Laundry has tested and reviewed the following products to help you decide which will work best for your sports wear laundry needs. You're sure to find one to get rid of the funk.

  • 01 of 05

    Hex Performance Detergent

    Hex Laundry Detergent
    Courtesy of Hex

    Hex Performance offers multiple laundry products that promise to clean and protect the high performance fabrics and athletic gear that most cyclists, yoga enthusiasts and athletes use today.

    Most workout clothes are made from synthetic fabrics that tend to hold onto body oils that are breeding grounds for bacteria. Hex Performance Detergent is formulated to strip away the oils and the odors that they contain leaving fabrics with less static and a better wicking ability. Then, fibers are coated with molecules that help prevent future odors and stains. 

    The detergents are available in unscented and lightly scented in both liquid and single-dose pacs. Hex contains no dyes or fillers, is biodegradable and reduces waste by skipping the plastic bottle for the liquid formula.

    The line includes:

    • Hex Advanced Detergent in liquid or single dose pacs for use on all washable high performance athletic wear. It can be used for all fabrics including sheets and towels.
    • Hex Advanced In-Rinse Fabric Booster to soften fabrics and reduce static cling and odor.
    • Hex Performance On Demand+ Spray & Go for use on non-washable surface like gym bags and yoga mats to remove odor.

    Hex Performance products are available in most sports equipment stores, many mass marketers, and online.

  • 02 of 05

    No Sweat Activewear Laundry Detergent

    no sweat detergent

    No Sweat Activewear Laundry Detergent is offered as a specialty detergent to handle activewear fabrics and the body soil, body odor and bacteria that comes from working up a sweat during physical activity.

    It comes in three fragrances: Citrus Rush, Sweet Freesia and Fragrance Free.

    While the products are labeled as containing "bio-blast", there are no product ingredients listed on the packaging or on the website. The products are promoted as being environmentally friendly and list an endorsement of EcoLogo, a group founded in 1988 by the Government of Canada to assure consumers that the products and services bearing the logo meet stringent standards of environmental leadership.

    The product can be used in both standard and high-efficiency washers. The instructions suggest that you can use No Sweat alone or as a booster with your regular laundry detergent to eliminate odor. The website recommends using No Sweat with your regular detergent for heavily soiled or muddy clothes.



  • 03 of 05

    Tide Odor Rescue With Febreze In Wash Laundry Booster

    Tide Odor Group
    Courtesy of Tide and Downy

    To remove strong odors, Tide and Downy offer a multi-product solution:

    • Tide Pods Plus Febreze laundry detergent contains the necessary enzymes to break down and remove surface odors and stains with an Active Fresh Scent.
    • Downy Fresh Protect With Febreze is added to the wash cycle to eliminate odors and seals in odor protection so clothes stay fresh all day with an Active Fresh, Fresh Blossom or April Fresh scent.
    • Tide Rescue With Febreze Odor Defense is an in-wash booster to deep clean odors that have been trapped in fibers.

    While each product can be used separately, they are most effective when used together to combat strong odors in workout clothes.


  • 04 of 05

    Persil Laundry Detergent

    Persil ProClean
    Courtesy of

    One of the keys to successful odor removal from workout clothes is getting rid of the bacteria in your body soil that gets trapped in the fabric. To break the bond between the body soil and the fabric, the detergent you use must have enough enzymes that dissolve the oily molecules.

    All formulas - liquid, single-dose packs and powder - of Persil ProClean contain a high-level of enzymes and will do an excellent job in removing body soil (and odor) from synthetic workout fabrics. 

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Win High Performance Sports Detergent

    Win green

    Win started in 2005 and grew to be the official detergent of the U.S. 2008 Summer Olympics Team. Available in scented and unscented formulas, it is designed specifically for synthetic workout gear. By stripping away body oils and bacteria, fibers are left fresh, soft and able to wick away moisture.

    Win High Performance Sports Detergent works best if the clothes are allowed to soak in a solution of warm water and the detergent for about two hours before washing.

    Win is available online and in sporting goods stores.