Green Products: 3 Ways to Clean Workout Clothing

I love to bike, hike, run, paddle, ski, and even hit a cleansing hot yoga class. This healthy habit, however, equates to a mother lode of workout clothing that needs to be washed properly to get the sweat out.

What’s the best way to clean workout clothing naturally? While most gentle and green laundry detergents will banish sweat and smells from your workout clothing, some experts say that conventional detergents can actually reduce the effectiveness of your workout clothing by impairing the wicking properties. I’ve found three solid products from Nikwax that are both eco-friendly and highly effective at being able to clean workout clothing – and keep it looking good.

How do we know Nikwax’s products are truly green? Even the Queen says so. Earlier this year, Nikwax became the first outdoor brand ever to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development. The award is the most prestigious British environmental award and is testament to Nikwax’s clean waterproofing technology and its commitment to promote sustainable practice.

Check out the lineup of green cleaning products we tested from Nikwax below.

Nikwax BaseWash®

Got sweaty running shorts, yoga tops, cycling jerseys, or skiing base layers and long underwear? Nikwax’s BaseWash ($9.50/10 ounces) is a deodorizing cleaner and conditioner for synthetic technical underwear and wicking clothing worn next to the skin.

I’ve tested BaseWash® on numerous loads of workout clothing and found it to effectively clean and deodorize sweaty synthetic layers. According to Nikwax, BaseWash also accelerates drying and improves cooling efficiency of synthetic base layers.

Nikwax Wool Wash

Today, performance-focused companies are offering more wool athletic apparel than ever before—from technical underwear and yoga pants to running tops and hiking base layers. While wool naturally absorbs odors and is, thus, less smelly than synthetic athletic apparel, it also requires some gentle handling in the washer.

Nikwax’s Wool Wash ($9.50/10 ounces) is a deodorizing cleaner and conditioner designed specifically for woolen technical underwear and wicking clothing worn next to the skin. I found it to effectively clean and soften my wool workout apparel. Nikwax  suggests that this product also inhibits the buildup of body odors, accelerates drying, and improves cooling efficiency of woolen base layers.

Nikwax BaseFresh®

Like to give your workout clothing a bit of a performance boost? This deodorizing conditioner ($7.50/10 ounces) isn’t a detergent—it’s a conditioning treatment for all technical underwear and wicking clothing worn next to the skin. When doing a load of sweaty workout clothing, add two ounces of BaseFresh to your washing machine’s fabric softener dispenser to get the added benefit.

I found BaseFresh® to efficiently deodorize the workout clothing I washed. It also helped to inhibit the buildup of body odors during my next workout.

clean workout clothing

Erinn Morgan


After a 10-year career as an award-winning New York City-based editor launching and redesigning urban, style-driven magazines, Erinn Morgan left downtown Manhattan after September 11th, 2001, in search of a less encumbered, freelance lifestyle. A two-year-long trek around the country eventually landed her in Durango, Colo., which she now calls home.

Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Bike, Skiing, Delicious Living, American Cowboy, and on

Erinn is also the author of the eco-focused book, Picture Yourself Going Green, Step-by-Step Instruction for Living a Budget-Conscious, Earth-Friendly Lifestyle in Eight Weeks or Less.

She was previously the editor-in-chief of 20/20 magazine, a special projects editor at Playboy (overseeing the launch of a new, custom magazine), and the founding editor/editor-in-chief of SoHo Style, a much-lauded, avant-garde magazine that covered the culture and style of downtown New York and its reach around the world.

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