Does It Really? We Test Win High Performance Sports Detergent

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I only work out in the high-tech fabrics that wick sweat away and keep me dry. High performance fabrics, like Dri-Fit, Under Armour and Coolmax, are great for lots of reasons—they stand up to countless workouts, they fit well, and they don't get weighed down with sweat like cotton does. But performance fabrics aren't perfect. Over time, they can become stinky and soiled, reeking of sweat even long after the workout (and washing cycle) is over. That's where a new detergent claims to help. Win is a "High Performance Sport Detergent" that's specially formulated to clean, remove odors and fight stains on high performance fabrics. I'm generally skeptical, but I decided to try it out. So does it work?

"After a few workouts, even the best high tech fabrics typically develop a musty odor," says the Win website. This is true for me. If I put my nose right to the fabric, even after it's been washed, it still stinks in the places I sweat the most. And I'm paranoid about being stinky. Some of my most worn shirts have developed discolored "sweat stains," too, which is downright embarrassing.

So I performed my own (very unscientific) test. Win looks and smells like ordinary blue detergent, although I usually prefer natural detergents free of fragrance or dye. (Perhaps that's why my workout clothes are stinky, since there's no scent to mask the odors?) After washing and drying, the clothes come out looking pretty much the same. I'm scared, but I put my nose right to the formerly stinky spots. And you know what? It smells noticeably better. Dare I even say it smelled good?

I've tried Win for about 6 loads now. Sometimes I'll throw in more clothes than just my workout items, because it's kind of annoying to have to do separate loads. While the results aren't amazing, I do notice a difference. My clothes smell better overall, even the old ones that seemed to have a stench that would never go away. It has helped reduce some of the sweat stains, but not removed them completely. I wonder if some of the embedded stains and smells would have never gotten as bad had I been using Win since day one. Perhaps it's a good way to prevent them, but I don't know for sure.

The downside? Well Win is expensive (about $6.99 for a 21-oz. bottle that will wash 14 loads). Plus, you won't find it easily. You can only get it at specialty sporting goods stores (I got mine at Dick's) or online. But it could help extend the life of your current workout gear, so you don't have to replace your clothes as often. If you look at it that way, the small bottle of detergent isn't a bad investment to make.

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I make my own wash soap. I use Vinegar and baking soda. It seems to work well to keep my clothes smelling great! Report
I have never tried Win before but have heard both good and bad. I am a avid endurance athlete and my clothes take on a lot of sweat and if I could eliminate that I would be happy. I am in market for this type of product because it would be great if it worked, so I googled it. I ran across a product called FitWash Detergent. They are hitting the market this Fall and I'm very excited because its naturally derived, fragrance free and its a powdered formula. According to Nike and many other sports apparel brands you should only wash those clothes with powered formula. It has all the other key elements to it as well. When I buy it I will be sure to post on how it works. Report
I'm at least third or fourth generation to have allergies to the dyes and fragrances in laundry detergents - and my son does, too. So we use the dye & fragrance free All or similar brands. I have to use baking soda or "washing soda" (a separate type of product) just to lower the hardness content of our water pretty much all the time, and for many loads I will use white vinegar in the rinse cycle. Also use Oxyclean or even just hydrogen peroxide for stubborn stains.

Years ago, the go-to cleanser for stinky fabrics that needed extra attention was a bar of Fels Naptha soap, where you got the garment wet, rubbed the bar into the stinky spots and let sit a few minutes before washing by hand or putting into the washer. I use that as well (it is still available by Internet/mail order, and some grocery stores will carry it or order it for you.) So that's another suggestion that might be useful in some areas. Report
Like a lot of people here, I just use about 3 tbs of baking soda with my normal unscented eco-friendly laundry soap, and then I do a rinse cycle with a cup of vinegar added. Works like a charm and is really cheap. Report
i use tide febreeze sport detergent and it makes all my clothes smell AMAZING! i was attempting arm & hammer and when my clothes came out of the dryer i wan bowled over by the stench! disgusting! this tide sport totally saved the day. i have a front load washer so i can't use this will have to do! i LOVE it! Report
The majority of commercial laundry detergents are highly toxic, esp. the scented ones which leaves a person breathing fragrance 24/7. I can't believe anyone who is health concious would use products of this kind esp on their workout clothes! Asthma rates are on the rise and the cause....fragrance. The borax and baking soda solution works great as others have said, is non-toxic and so much cheaper! Report
I think I will stick with Arm N Hammer and Oxyclean. Report
Another vote for Oxyclean. It's magical. :-) Report
I use BIZ. especially on whites. I keep a BIZ Bucket that i put all my white socks and stuff in. I fill it with hot water add the BIZ and let it soak overnight. The next morning I throw the whole thing water and all in the machine and wash. I also have been known to add some Febreze for laundry or even Mr clean with febreze to my clothes which takes that funky smell right out. I think the trick is to let them soak first. Can't see the need to buy detergent that costs 3x as much as other stuff...... Report
For clothes that have been well-worn and have been at the receiving end of a heavy duty full-blown man-sized stinkaroo workout, this new product really works! None of the other idea's here work for synthetic fabrics that have 'bonded" to to that small, because trust me, I've tried every one of them on my husband's bigger-than-life smelling biking shirts. This is the only thing taht works, other than garments made with silver-bonded thread, which never get a stink to begin with, but is really hard to find.
I was even considering throwing out the jacket he shovels the snow in (Peee-euuuu) because it, too, had 'grabbed' that smell. But washing it in Win (twice) took care of it.
By the way, please understand that my husband is very clean and showers after every's just that prolonged activity is, well, pretty darned smally. If you have ever sat directly behind the bench at any professional sporting event, you'll know what I mean!! Report
20 mule team borax or just plain baking soda works to soften, freshen any garment... no phosphates,, perfumes are fo dabbing on the pulse points, not teh sheets, undies,etc..
oxyclean does a great job with anything.. in place of bleach.. Report
Oxyclean works for me with workout clothes and towels and its the best for white jeans and shorts. Report
We use cloth diapers and when they get very stinky to the point I can't get the smell out it's time to strip them. Stripping removes build up of detergent (and other icky things) and this concept works with workout clothes as well. All you do is add a generous squirt of Dawn dish detergent (1/8 cup) and wash in hot, rinse and rinse until there are no more bubbles and your clothes will smell BRAND NEW. Works like a charm every time. Report
Okay! I usually dab those stinky areas with my liquid detergent and then wash them and they come out just fine. I do not see any reason buy any exuberant detergent!!!! Another ploy to pawn off $$$ from the consumer! Report
Amazon has WIN Detergent, 4-21 oz bottles for $18.99 (special) and looks like you get free shipping too. Report
Thanks for the information!!! Report
I love Borax...I'll have to look for it again...where I use to live I couldn't find it. But I do remember as a kid I had a light purple pair of pants (my favorite at the time). I got a huge blood stain on the knee and my mom wash and dried them. I was horrified when the stain was still there. I actually took some borax and made a paste out of it and used it on the set in stain and it got it out. So if it takes out dried in blood stains I would believe it would do everything else. Report
This was a nice article, especially like the tip about adding vinegar to the wash for towels. Report
I pour white vinegar right into the wash (and right onto the clothes) when my workout clothes start smelling. You can also use it with your towels when they take on an unpleasant odor! Much cheaper! Report
Ok, after reading this I had to go and sniff my clean workout clothes hanging in my closet. Yes, many of them have been worn and washed many times and are of that same type of fabric. No odors, even on the underarms. And, yes, I do sweat a lot in them. I use regular scented Tide clothes detergent and have HE front loading machines. Worth a try vs the more expensive Win detergent. And, for the posters that have persistent problems with musty smelling clothes, try cleaning your washing machine. I do not recall the particular process in detail, but have seen a way to do this in Heloise Hints newspaper columns. From what I have read, many people have gotten rid of musty smelling clothes by cleaning the buildup in their washing machines. Maybe Heloise has a website. Report
I have gotten a sample of a similiar product in a race goodie bag. Tried it but not overly impressed. Haven't seen it in my grocery store, so the baking soda, vinegar tips are more do-able and much cheaper! Thanks for the article. Report
another vote for 20 Mule Team Borax added to the load - it cuts the smell of anything (musty, moldy, dog beds, work out clothes and my DH greasy work clothes) -- add it with your regular detergent & notice the difference! plus it's good for the environment .. Report
I use baking soda with my regular detergent. I also tried a product called Arm and Hammer Washing Soda that I really, really liked. It made clothes smell so fresh and soft. I bought it at Walmart, however they don't carry it any more and I cannot seem to find it in the other grocery stores in my area....bummer! Report
I have not had good luck with this product. I have to use it WITH regular detergent...and on older stinky doesn't really work at all. Plus the price is ridiculous. Thumbs down to WIN. Report
Thanks Nicole! Even though I probably won't be buying any high performance detergent anytime soon I did REALLY enjoy the post! :-) Report
I have a 'similar' problem with TOWELS. Even though I've tried MANY different remedies (baking soda, white vinegar, hot water wash AND rinse, air dry, fabric softener - both liquid and sheets) NOTHING is getting the 'musty' smell out of them - and they are not sitting in a musty closet! This is straight from the machine!!! And, not ALL my clothes are stinky - its' JUST the towels. Some are older, but most are within 2 months old - and most times my daughter will use a towel once, hang it to dry out, and toss it in the hamper. AND its not like I leave the dirty towels sitting around for 2 or 3 weeks, either - I wash towels twice a week.
I'm wondering if this new detergent will rid my towels of the musty smell??? Now I've got to go find it!!!

BTW, baking soda usually will rid smells, and white vinegar as a substitute for fabric softener if you're looking for more environmentally friendly alternatives. Report
I like all the comments - when do you add the baking soda to the load? With the soap at the beginning? Report
Wow! Americans have access to some really cool stuff!

A specific detergent for work out clothes?!

I've used liquid blue to make whites whiter, but it's not meant for odor removal. I'd be interested to know how much vinegar and/or baking soda to use in the wash.

Borax is something I keep meaning to pick up (yes it is cheap!) but clearly forget when at the store.

I'd rather save my money and spend it on something else more interesting than detergent. Report
This detergent is probably just stronger, meaning more chemicals. Laundry detergent in general is very toxic. I only use 20 Mule Team Borax. My clothes are clean and stink free and Borax is cheap. You can find it in your laundry detergent aisle just about anywhere. Report
Use 20 Mule Team Borax with regular detergent. Takes the mighty stink out of your workout clothes, towels, whatever. Report
Thanks for the info. Sounds very interesting! Report
well i think i'll try baking soda first. i hate to admit it, but i'm a fan of arm and hammer natural detergent and... i'm drawing a blank, but it has renuzit to eliminate odors. both work pretty well, but then i don't have any high tech fabric workout gear. Report
I like Oxyclean for my workout clothes, but I might step up to the plate and try this. Thanks for the advice. Report
I use vinegar and that really helps.

Kitt Report
Thanks for the article. I will have to check this product out. Report
Sorry, but I prefer cotton on my skin. :) Report
Thanks for checking this out. I have been looking for something for to help with odors and stains on workout clothes. Also hubby and boys do Taekwondo and I need something to use on their doboks.
I like some of the other ideas posted here as well, baking soda and vinegar. Plus, they are much cheaper. Report
Borax or OxyClean seem to work pretty well too. Report
I have found that the vinegar works great. I started using that when I had diapers to wash ( and we all know how great they smell). I had never used baking soda in my laundry but will have to try that. Report
Thanks for the information. The product doesn't seem to be available in Europe yet. My way of "fighting" this is to add deluted white winegar in the wash.
It is really fantastic to revive colours as well as remove sweat stains.

Very interesting article.
Thanks for the article. Report
Use the SOAK cycle on your washer and better yet, soak them overnight, and you will save a lot on detergents. Report
thanks for the info Report
I use hydrogen peroxide in a load with work-out clothes (and socks!), put vinegar in the rinse cycle, and never use the dryer. I think they smell great. They also last longer when I do the laundry, as everyone else in the household throws the whole load into the dryer and I CAN'T see how that's any good. I will stick my nose into my husband's dri-fit armpit the next time I see a clean shirt! :-) Report
Thanks for the article Report
thanks for the info. Report
anyone know how well the nordstrom athletic fabric wash works? Report
I always use baking soda in all my laundry and I never have an old, odd, odor.
Thanks for checking it out though.
jch261 Report
thanks for this great information. Report