I wanted to write about this several months ago, but just never got around to it.
If you’re a wearer of a moisture wicking undershirt or one of the millions of people who buy moisture wicking performance gear and workout clothing, haven’t you noticed that these types of garments get a lot more smelly more quickly than your regular clothing? I have too.
A while back a reader emailed me who wondered if I had ever experienced bad B.O. when wearing a moisture wicking undershirt. Here’s his email:
Hi Undershirt Guy,
Very much enjoy your blog. Have learned a lot from your posts, and was inspired to learn of the possibility of undershirts that wick moisture. NYC and my 100% cotton undershirts result often in a heavy, sodden mess. I wear them everyday, but truly suffer on humid days.
Since reading your blog, I’ve ventured out and purchased a handful of different shirts, including [brand undershirt name removed] undershirts. These truly are amazingly dry and comfortable. Unfortunately though they have an unanticipated side effect – terrible BO smell about halfway through the day. This has never happened to me before with my old Jockey v necks.
I use Right Guard spray in the brown can, as it has always worked well for me and does not contain aluminum. I’m now searching for deodorants without aluminum that will work with polyester undershirts. So far the Now deodorant cream seems to be working.
Have you ever heard of this problem before?
Stinky in NYC
It was actually a pretty timely email because at the time I had been doing The Sweat Challenge with a bunch of different undershirts at the time to see whether or not moisture wicking undershirts would make the situation of sweating through to your outer clothing worse than if you were wearing an undershirt that absorbed moisture (i.e. cotton). During those tests, in addition to concluding that some moisture wicking undershirts would soak my outer clothing more than cotton undershirts, I also discovered that some of the moisture wicking undershirts really stunk bad after a single workout. I had never experienced that with cotton undershirts before.
If you do some googling, you’ll see that there’s lots of information related to moisture wicking clothing holding odors more than other types of fabrics. I came across this comment that I thought was pretty interesting:
Your body has to types of sweat glands eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine glands produce the kind of sweat that makes you wet. Apocrine glands produce a fatty sweat which, when bacteria breaks it down, smells bad. Polyester fabrics have a net positive ionic charge that pulls in the oils (fat) from the sweat and hangs on to them. Soap is normally used to break these kinds of bonds to get the dirt off but in the case of polyester it’s ineffective because the bonds are so strong. Bacteria comes in, eats, multiplies and starts getting the funk on. The effect is cumulative so over time it gets worse and worse.
So just yesterday I received an email from the marketers of WIN Green Eco Friendly Detergent, a newer high performance sport detergent specially formulated to get the stink out of moisture wicking clothing.
Their product information was pretty compelling, so I thought I’d share it with everyone here. Here’s some snippets from his email:
WIN Products, Inc., makers of WIN High Performance Sport Detergent and the first official licensed detergent of the US Olympic team has answered consumer demand with their first product line extension – WIN Green. WIN Green is a new eco-friendly sport detergent that is completely biodegradable, in that all of the ingredients used are sourced from natural, renewable sources that break down and decompose into by-products of nature in a short amount of time. This formula contains no brighteners, which are commonly added to laundry detergents to make the clothes appear cleaner, yet have been known to cause allergic skin reactions. There are no phosphates used, which create algal blooms in groundwater that can leak toxins into drinking water and harm ecosystems. WIN Green also is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, dye-free and the bottle is made from recycled plastic.
WIN Green is similar to WIN’s original formula, by directly targeting the sweat molecules embedded in moisture-wicking fabrics that cause bacterial odors, which traditional detergents leave behind. Simultaneously, these same ingredients react with soil and materials causing them to either decolorize or disintegrate. Once in a soluble form after oxidation, dirt and odors easily wash away. WIN is formulated to be safe and gentle on all colors and fabrics and works in traditional and high-efficiency laundry machines.
WIN and WIN Green are available at www.sweatlifter.com, www.amazon.com and leading sport specialty retailers for $6.99 for a 21 oz. bottle that washes 14 loads.
Wondering if any of you have ever tried WIN detergent. If you have, post a comment here and let us know what you think of it.
25 thoughts on “Get The Stink Out of Your Smelly Moisture Wicking Undershirts or Performance Gear with WIN Green Eco Friendly Detergent”
Heads up…just tried clicking on the “WIN Green Eco Friendly Detergent” link, but it took me to a different site. I ultimately found it on Amazon and ordered some to try it on a few t-shirts that I was getting ready to throw out bc they smelled so bad. Thanks for the advise.
thanks conrad. this article was originally written in 2009, so i guess the folks at win used that “sweatlifter.com” domain back then, but then stopped using it.
i’ve updated the links in this article to be current.
also, there are a couple other ways to attempt to remove odors from workout clothing (polyester, nylon). one is noted below with the frebreze sport. the others include:
1. wash your gear using about 1-2 cups of white vinegar
2. gear wash (mentioned by mark — who sells the product) – i tried this and it worked a little, but the smell came back
3. i’m trying something new, but it’s not an official product — yet. it’s just a prototype.
I ordered Win a couple of weeks ago from someone on eBay. It was back ordered so in the mean time(not being able to wear my shirts because of the odor) I got impatient and tried Tide plus febreeze Sport. Not too shabby. After one wash I can no longer smell the faint odor of BO like before.I have not used the shirts yet b/c I just got finished drying them. But I think we might have a winner. I am still waiting to try the Win Detergent when it comes in. I will post an update after I wear the shirt on Monday. I’m just happy to know their is some thing out there to get out the smell because I almost trashed these high dollar shirts.
Also I forget to add the price of the Tide was around ten dollars for a 64oz bottle compared to the same price for the Win in a 21oz bottle. I really want to try the Win. Expensive so it better be good. Lol.
thanks for the update jason! hey, did you think about trying the febreeze sport extreme odor eliminator that joe mentioned?
also, i’m doing some tests with gear wash from team clean gear. the first wash removed the really bad set-in odors there were in my gym clothes, but on some of the items, the smell came back after a few wearings. it might be because i had too many other clothes in the laundry at the same time, so i’m going to do another test and see how my gym clothes turn out. i’ll provide an update here soon.
Febreze Sport extreme odor eliminator has worked like nothing else.
really? that seems wild that a spray like that would neutralize odors. thanks for the tip joe!
yep, it works great on moisture-wicking polyester clothing which always seems to get that fishy smell after wearing it outside. I tested it out and the Febreze Sport works like NOTHING else. The scent is strong, so I use it the night before wearing it or spray on and hang it up in the closet and wear the clothing later and it still works to kill the smell in even days later.
Here are some other possible laundry detergent solutions:
Tide Sport, SportWash and ProWash Activewear
I tried all of those they wont work long. Anything will be better if its washed, but you have to have the right stuff. Gear Wash has been the best for all the guys on my team who used it. Yea do an article review on it. Your the man. Thanks Undershirt Guy.
hey mark, good to hear from you buddy.
please don’t take any offence, but it’s not considered good form for a company that manufactures or resells a product to plant comments on a blog, and do it in a manner that appears to be from a consumer who tried the product. it happens all the time, but generally forums and blogs don’t like those kinds of posts.
with just a little research, it would appear that you could just very well be the head honcho over at team clean gear.
if you are, that’s cool – but i’d rather you just reach out to me directly, let me know who you are and what product you represent. also if you’re so inclined, offer to send over a product sample for me to try out on my stinky workout clothes. it goes without saying, that if the product really works, i’d love to tell my readers about it.
if you are not the mark that runs the company, my apologies. if you are – just let me know and let’s talk about doing a proper test/review of your product.
Ok you got me, but I am only stating a fact when I did use it for the first time and the same thing when my colleges used it. I will in the future try find out how to have my products reviewed by the sites. I am new to this stuff and I would much rather you review it for yourself. Please let me know how much product you need for your testing, wher to send and I will get it to you right away. I look forward to your final and expert review.
Head Coach TCG
Gear Wash is a laundry soap that will kill the bacteria that causes the odor in Under Armor or any other moisture wicking products. I use it for my hockey gear that is worse that is much worse than the smell coming from the Under Armor shirts. I buy this stuff at hockey pro shops but I know you can get it online from Team Clean Gear. All I have to say is It Works!
good stuff mark! thanks for letting me know about gear wash. maybe i’ll do a little research and write an article about it! thanks again buddy!
Good Info. I have been using a product called Gear Wash. It to is a laundry soap for washing sports gear. I found that nothing else works for my hockey equipment. The company Team Clean Gear sells this stuff in hockey pro shops and online. Nothing got out the odor from the Under Armor shirts like this stuff did. Simply put It works!
Gaia dammit! You can’t even research undershirts without being evangelized with religious environmental nonsense. I sometimes I feel like I’m the last thinking individual in a world full of the gullible and scientifically-illiterate.
it’s just information steve. no eco-evangelists over here. just sharing info that might be interesting for some.
thanks for stopping by though!
I have the solution to odor problems. Posishield.com mention Phillip Spencer
we should always look for eco-friendly products out there to help the environment.-:”
I use WIN exclusively now. It works fantastic. Really great for sheets, and for pet stuff too.
I have been using Win for several weeks now on all of my workout clothes and it really has made a big difference. I don’t use any other additives with it and it makes a noticeable difference in the smell of my high performance active wear, especially after using the product over a period of time. It seems like the more you use it with the same clothes, the more of that sweat smell comes out of them. I definitely recommend it.
thanks for the feedback on the WIN detergent chris!
thanks polyester. wonder if we can get the folks from WIN to chime in with some ideas…
I used the WIN detergent from Dick’s sporting goods, along with Febreeze sports additive. I have washed my Polyester Climacontrol shorts in this detergent for the past 4 weeks. They still smell rank. I love the moisture wicking properties of the Polyester but I just can’t take the smell (Yes I shower every day twice a day)
Hey Polyester, got the following response from the folks at WIN detergent (via their PR person):