Best Way To Wash DriFit/Under Armour Shirts

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Saturday, June 29, 2013
Workout clothes, moisture whicking detergent in sink.
I've tried a lot of different methods for cleaning moisture wicking shirts such as Dri-Fit and UnderArmour technical shirts based on blog and forum recommendations but I found that ProWash Activewear 2X Liquid Detergent is the best choice for me. Here are some tips on how I use ProWash to wash my workout clothes in the washing machine and by hand.

I use pro wash to clean pretty much all my workout clothes. Most of which are made of moisture wicking fabric. I love these shirts, especially in black, because I do a lot of exercising outdoors and these shirts don't show sweat.

ProWash is good on a wide variety of fabrics including moisture wicking fabrics, microfiber, lycra, spandex, fleece, polyester and even natural fabrics such as cotton and wool. ProWash is specially formulated to preserve the moisture wicking qualities of tech shirts like Dri-Fit. It works very well. Some of my shirts are a couple of years old and still wick and look as good as new. ProWash is also great at getting rid of perspiration stains and odors.

Some of the other popular recommendations for active wear were Deft and Woolite. Deft was recommended highly by cyclists because it was gentle and didn't cause irritation. That's the last place you want to get irritation, where the bike short pads touches you! I tried using Deft for a while but eventually I got tired of smelling like a baby. Woolite didn't do as good a job as I wanted getting rid of sweat odors. The odor these tech shirts get is unlike any other sweat odors I've noticed on clothing. It almost smells like burning plastic.

I've been using ProWash for over a year and I couldn't be happier. My clothes smell clean, there are no sweat stains and I haven't had an irritation on any of my shirts or bike shorts. My shirts look as good as new and I don't smell like a newborn!

ProWash comes in a 24 oz pouch that includes a measuring cup. The best deal I found was on Amazon where you can get 3 24oz pouches of ProWash with free shipping.

Note: According to Nike you shouldn't use liquid detergent on Dri-Fit shirts. I feel safe using ProWash because it has been specifically formulated for these types of shirts and haven't had any issues in over a year of use, sometimes washing my shirts multiple times a week. If you feel better using a powdered detergent you can try Sport Suds Detergent which has similar characteristics and has good reviews.

Dealing With Sweat Stains

The detergents I use are pretty good at removing stains but if you don't wash them right after getting them all sweaty or want to get the white and lighter shirts brighter I've found that soaking them for about an hour or 2 in Oxiclean gets rid of yellow pit stains.

Dri-Fit Shirts In The Washing Machine

Between the different Dri-Fit Shirts, Dri-Fit Polos, UnderArmor Shirts, bike shorts and even moisture wicking ExOfficio Boxers and Briefs I finally have enough to justify a whole load of laundry to just my workout clothes. 

If you have a top load washing machine, like I do, start your cycle without putting your clothes in the machine. I use the regular Cotton/Sturdy cycle with Cold Wash and Cold Rinse. Measure out 2 units using the included measuring cup and pour it into the washer as it's filling. Once the machine fills up with 1/2 the water it's going to put in, I start adding in my clothes. DO NOT USE FABRIC SOFTENER! Fabric softener clogs up the fabric and reduces it's moisture wicking ability.

ProWash has different recommendations for different types of machines (all with medium loads.)
  • Top Load Washer: 2 Units
  • High Efficiency Washer: 1 Unit
  • Front Load Washer: 1.5 Units

How To Wash Dri-Fit Shirts By Hand

I started out washing my work out clothes by hand because once I started wearing the moisture wicking fabrics I didn't have enough to get me through a week of workouts. My clothes would get washed right after working out before I jumped in the shower. This is probably a big part of why they still look like new. 

ProWash recommends 1.5 units of detergent into 5 gallons when hand washing. I actually took the time to measure how much water I use in my bathroom sink when washing clothes. It takes 24 8 oz. cups to fill the sink to where the shirts are covered but it's not too full that water splashes everywhere. That's 1.5 gallons so I use 0.5 units of detergent. If you notice your shirts still stink after washing, use a little more ProWash.

Step 1: Start Filling the Sink With Cool Water

You want cool water, not blistering cold water. In the summer I can just turn my faucet's cold tap on and that's fine. In the winter I need to mix some hot water in. Basically, you want the water cool but not so cold it's uncomfortable to put your hands in it.

As the water is filling measure out 0.5 Units and pour it into the sink before adding clothes.

Mixing ProWash detergent and cool water in sink

ProWash doesn't get very sudsy so don't be alarmed. Suds don't get the clothes any cleaner.

Step 2: Add Your Clothes And Agitate

I usually keep a pair of dish washing gloves in a bathroom drawer that I use when hand washing clothes.  Laundry detergents are meant for washing clothes not skin and as such many, including this one can cause dryness and irritation. Unfortunately I tore up my gloves this week and haven't replaced them yet.

After adding the clothes I let them soak for a few minutes (usually while taking a quick shower) then I use my hands to agitate the clothes in the wash. I just use gentle squeezing and pushing motions like kneading bread for about 3 minutes.

Hand agitating Dri-Fit shirts in sink to hand wash.

Step 3: Rinse 2-3 Times

After I'm done agitating the clothes I empty the water from the sink then squeeze out a lot of the water from the clothes. I don't wring them out or try to get every last drop, just most of it.

Squeeze out water from workout clothes before rinising

Then fill the sink up with cool water, agitate for about a minute or two then repeat. If it seems like the second rinse is a bit cloudy I'll rinse a third time or even just let the clothes sit in the rinse water a few extra minutes while I do something else.

Dri-Fit shirts rinsing in sink of cool water

A little bit of math because I can't help myself. Even if there are still 2 cups worth of detergent/water in the shirts after just squeezing them out, that gets diluted into the next 1.5 gallons of rinse water making it 1:24 dilution or 4%. Repeating the same process will be another 4% of 4% which is 0.16% of the original detergent mixture which was already diluted 0.5 oz into 192oz. Two rinses should be sufficient provided enough agitation and soaking time for the water in the shirts and water in the sink to mix thoroughly. A third rinse will get you to 0.0064% dilution of the original detergent/water mix. If you have sensitive skin a third rinse might not be a bad idea and try to get as much soapy water out of the shirts as you can before each rinse.

Step 4: Squeeze and Dry

Before drying I squeeze out as much water as I can without wringing or twisting the shirts. I just ball them up and squeeze from the top down. When I wash in the sink it's not enough for the dryer so I just hang them up. See the next section for drying advice.

Can You Put Dri-Fit Shirts In The Dryer?

Always check the care label of your clothes before you wash them. All my moisture wicking clothing are safe to dry in the dryer's low setting. I try my best not to use the dryer because the Dri-Fit shirts get terrible static cling. If you shake the shirt vigorously it goes away but it's very annoying. 

I prefer to hang them out in the sun but a lot of times I wash small batches by hand at night and just put them on plastic hangers and hang them in the bathtub. By the morning they're dry. Don't use metal hangers and don't use those velvet style hangers like Huggable Hangers because the fuzz on the hanger can transfer to the shirts.  Always insert and remove the hanger from the bottom of the shirt. Even my oldest shirts don't have stretched collars.


  1. This is an old post, but I hope you're still checking comments. My Dri-Fit long sleeve zip (bright orange) has these strange dark splotches on it. It's in random places like the tricep on one arm, and the shoulder blade area on the other side. I don't know what it is. I soaked it today in Oxyclean for 3 hours, but the dark splotches are still there.

    Any ideas? I don't necessarily mind them (it looks like I brushed up against a dusty/dirty piece of equipment), but I would LOVE to know what the heck happened.


    1. Hi Alexander,

      There are probably better sources you can find on how to get stains out of clothes. There must be a forum on cleaning that you may ask and upload pics for advice. There are forums on everything these days. :)

      Without seeing it or knowing what the equipment was (gym equipment?) I would guess that it might be some type of grease stain from what little information you provided. You can try a stain remover that works with greast stains such as Shout or even regular dishwashing soap might work.

    2. I have those dark spots too! How does one get them out?

  2. Mine get those stains from the washer. Still havent figured out how to keep it from happening. I have to wash them over and over without soap to get them out. I have a high efficiency washer and i hate it. Never had an issue with the old fashion agitator washers.

  3. Try soaking them in Dawn or Palmolive if its grease.... my husband dumped a full litre of car oil on a brand new underarmour shirt. I soaked it in dawn and rinsed it, and i came clean. Also worked on a cotton sweatshirt with bearing grease.



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