Tennis—a game that’s said to have originated in France in the 12th century. A racket sport, it is played between two players (or teams of two in the case of doubles). Each player uses a racket that consists of multiple strings to hit a ball over a net and into the opposing party’s court. The goal is to win the match by scoring four points.
Playing tennis comes with many health benefits. Not only will it increase your muscle tone, but it will also improve your strength, flexibility, bone density, and reaction times. It’s a great activity that can keep you fit whether you’re in your teens or in your 40’s.
As with most sports, tennis requires that you have a certain set of gear. Aside from the obvious tennis racket and ball, there are other things that you need like overgrips, vibration dampeners, and arm braces. Apparel-wise, you also need a suitable top, a pair of shorts, socks, and maybe a visor to keep the sun out of your eyes.
As you can imagine, it can be quite tiring running around swinging a racket at a ball for a couple of hours. At the end of the match, you will feel drained and tired. Naturally, you would also sweat. Ultimately, it is this sweat that is responsible for that “icky smell”—the one that’s often associated with sports. Inevitably, the perspiration from your skin would go onto your clothes, which would result in a moist environment for odor-causing bacteria.
How to Clean Your Tennis Clothing
What’s the best way to prevent your tennis gear from smelling? Ideally, you want to wash them as soon as possible after a game. The quicker you wash it, the smaller the chance that bacteria will grow on the fabric.
Before tossing everything in the washer in one go, however, you want to consider how you should wash the garments. After all, different clothes have different washing instructions. Putting everything all together in one load is probably not a good idea—if you want them to last, at least.
Want to know the proper way of washing your tennis gear? If so, be sure to keep reading!
How to Wash Tennis Sports Bras
Sports bras are essential for women when it comes to tennis. Then again, they’re pretty much a necessity for any type of sport. Close-fitting, these garments can get dirty quite easily as they’re in constant contact with sweat. Luckily, they’re fairly easy to clean.
Putting Your Sports Bra in the Washer
Before you begin, it’s important to remember that sports bras are delicate. Improper washing can lead to loosening of the elastic. Always check the care tag label before you put it in the washer.
Start by putting your sports bra in a mesh laundry bag—this will minimize the amount of contact that it has with your other clothes (assuming that you’re washing it with other garments), which can cause damage. It will also prevent lint and other particles from sticking on the surface. Don’t have a lingerie bag? You might want to invest in one if you want your sports bras to last. In the meantime, though, you can make do with a clean pillowcase.
Note: You can wash your sports bras with other clothes as long as you’re not mixing dark colors with light colors. If possible, avoid putting them in the same load as “coarse” items such as jeans and denim jacks.
Add one scoop of ACTIVE detergent (or two, if you’re washing a large load) into the washing machine. Load your sports bras in, as well as the rest of your clothes. Select a delicate cycle and wash with cold water. Do not use hot water; the heat will damage fabric and elastic. Avoid using other products such as bleach or fabric softeners—the latter will ruin the sports bras’ moisture-wicking finish (i.e. it won’t be able to pull sweat away from the skin as efficiently). Want to soften your clothes? Try white vinegar instead.
Pro-tip: Some sports bras have removable pads that you can take out and wash separately. You can either wash them by hand or put them in their own laundry bag in the washer. You can put them back in the bra once they’re fully dry.
Wait for the cycle to fully finish before taking your sports bras out. Do not leave them in the washer—it will become a hotbed for bacteria. Allow them to air dry on a clothesline or drying rack. You should not put them in the dryer under any circumstance. The high temperature will cause it to deteriorate; there’s even a chance that it can shrink!
Washing Your Sports Bras in the Sink
Sports bras are machine washable, but that doesn’t mean that you have to put it into the washer every time. As a matter of fact, you can wash them just as easily in the sink.
Start by filling it with cool water—you don’t want it to be too full, otherwise, the water can easily splash out later. Add one scoop of ACTIVE detergent and agitate the liquid with your hand to create a soapy solution. Once you see soap suds, put the sports bras in. You might have to press down on them lightly to fully submerge them in the detergent water. Pre-treat the bra by letting it soak for 15-30 minutes.
Grab ahold of the bra and swirl it around a few times. Pick it up and clean the fabric by gently rubbing it together between your fingers. Drain away the soapy water when you’re finished and refill the sink with clean water. Put your sports bra in and use it to rinse away the detergent; you can also put it under running water. Either way, you want to continue rinsing until all of the detergent is gone.
Transfer it to a flat surface—be careful of the dripping water! Gently squeeze out some of the excess water by pressing down on the sports bra. Do not wring or twist the fabric as that will stretch out and damage the material. You can also use a towel to get rid of the dampness. Afterward, line it dry or put it on a drying rack. Again, this can’t be overstated, don’t put them in the dryer.
Washing Instructions for Tennis Dresses and Skorts
Tennis dresses and skorts can also get smelly after a game. As it turns out, however, both types of clothing are machine washable.
Tossing Your Tennis Dresses and Skorts into the Washer
As with most activewear, tennis dresses and skorts are made from synthetic fabrics such as polyester, which allows it to pull sweat from the skin. The first step is to turn everything inside out—that will expose the “dirty” layer to the outside, where it can then be taken care of by the water and detergent. For those who want an extra layer of protection, you can put them in a mesh laundry bag.
Note: Yes, you can wash them with other clothes. Just make sure that you’ve separated lights with lights and darks with darks.
Pour in a scoop of ACTIVE detergent (or two, depending on how much you’re washing) and wash everything with cold water. Make sure to choose the gentlest setting on your machine. Avoid using hot water—the dresses and skorts are not designed to withstand high temperatures. Do not use fabric softeners as they will coat them with a wax-like layer that will prevent sweat from evaporating from the surface.
Take the dresses and skorts out once the cycle is finished. Put them on a clothesline and allow them to air dry; draping them on a drying rack is effective as well. Do not put them in the dryer—it won’t take long for the synthetic material to dry on its own, anyway.
Washing Your Tennis Dresses and Skorts by Hand
You can wash your tennis dresses and skorts in the sink or in another container—just make sure that the latter is large enough for you to comfortably fit the garments in.
Start by filling it with cool water; ideally, you want it to be 3/4 full. The next step is to create a soapy mixture by adding a scoop of ACTIVE detergent. You’ll have to swirl and mix the liquid with your hand. Put your dresses and skorts in once you see soap suds. Pre-treat the items by letting them soak for at least 15 minutes.
Pick them up once they’ve been soaked; clean the dresses and skorts by gently massaging the fabric. You can also swirl it around in the detergent solution. When you’re finished with that, run it under some water to rinse off the detergent—continue until the water becomes clear.
Lay the items flat on a clean surface. You can absorb some extra water with a dry towel before hanging it up to dry on a clothesline. Do not put them in the dryer.
Best Way to Clean Tennis Visors/Hats
Tennis visors and hats should also be cleaned from time to time. After all, they do come in contact with the sweat from your head.
Washing Away the Sweat with Laundry Detergent
Fill the sink with cold water (you can also use a bucket or a tub). Add a scoop of ACTIVE detergent and thoroughly mix the solution. Put your tennis visor or hat in—make sure that all of the fabric is submerged in the mixture. Let it soak for at least 30 minutes.
Swirl it around in the detergent water a few times. Gently rub the fabric with your fingers to remove dirt and sweat. When you’re done, rinse it with plain water; continue until all of the soap suds are gone. Allow the visor or hat to air dry. Ideally, you want to put it on some sort of object so that it can retain its shape. Do not put them in the dryer.
Are Tennis Visors/Hats Machine Washable?
Generally speaking, they can be put in the washing machine. To be on the safe side, though, you probably shouldn’t put them in the washer too often.
How to Clean & Deodorize Tennis Shoes
It’s not uncommon for tennis shoes to get dirty with grass, mud, or dirt. Fortunately, you can clean them easily.
First things first, you want to remove the shoelace and insoles; ideally, you want to wash them separately by hand. From there, lightly hit the shoes together to remove any excess dirt.
Fill a bucket with water and add in a scoop of ACTIVE detergent. Mix it together and use it to dampen a soft-bristled brush (an old toothbrush works too). Gently scrub the outside of the shoes with the brush. When you’re done, wipe it dry with a clean paper towel or cloth.
As far as the sole goes, you want to rinse it off with water. From there, you can use the brush to get rid of any debris that might be stuck on the bottom. Wipe it dry when you’re finished.
Allow the tennis shoes to dry fully before wearing them. You can stuff them with newspaper—that will help to get rid of excess moisture. Never put your tennis shoes in the dryer; they’re not made to withstand the heat.