Can You Wear Workout Clothes More Than Once?

Since athleisure became a style of clothing — that's athletic clothing that can be worn for lounging around the house or heading out and about — plenty of brands have started to suggest that you can head from Pilates straight to brunch (or even the boardroom) without pausing to change. At the same time, sweat-wicking materials that help contain sweat and avoid the smell typically associated with hard workouts have also become more popular. But should you continue wearing workout clothes after a sweaty gym session, and can you actually re-wear your workout clothes the next day? The answer depends on you.

While you may be able to fashionably fit in at the bar post-workout in your tights and tank top, your sweaty gym clothes should probably get swapped for something clean if you were doing a vigorous activity and you're feeling sweaty, especially in your groin area. "Naturally, we have yeast that lives on our skin and yeast really thrives in moist, warm, humid environments," dermatologist Jeremy Fenton, M.D., told Self. "So if you wear clothing and sweat in it and that clothing sits wet for a period of time, more yeast is going to thrive on that clothing." At least swap your underwear if you can't do a full costume change.

When can you rewear workout clothes?

If you didn't get particularly sweaty during a workout, like a gentle yoga class or a chilly run, you can hang out in your clothing afterwards with no ill effects. "How often you wash activewear is totally dependent on the individual — the amount of activity, the amount of sweat you produce, personal preference," Smartwool's Maggie Oakley told Women's Health. Remember though, if you can smell your sweat, that odor won't go away as your sweat dries. It will linger! 

Certain layers like shirts can be reworn without stressing about the bacteria issue, since they won't come in contact with areas that are typically prone to skin issues and infections. But sports bras, underwear or shorts if you go commando or they have a built-in brief, and even socks should be washed — preferably in hot water — and completely dried before rewearing once they've gotten sweaty.

Lastly, if you go too long between washing workout clothes, those stains from deodorant, oils you had on your skin, and even sweat stains can become harder to remove. Odors set in and can be difficult to get out as well (via Bustle). So even if you don't plan to rewear your workout gear soon, make sure you're tossing it in the washing machine and not leaving it sitting in your gym bag for weeks on end.