What Is The “Sports Cycle” On A Washing Machine?

Do you often wear fabrics that are made of nylon, polyester, or lycra? Does your typical day include going to the gym or playing sports? If so and you’re not using the Sports Cycle on your washing machine, you’re definitely missing out on this awesome feature. 

The Sports Cycle is specifically designed to clean athletic and sportswear. Since most activewear is made of fabrics that are spandex, microfibre, polyester blends, and similar quick dry and stretchable materials that require special care, using the sports cycle programme is best for tackling dirt, sweat, and odours that activewear often contains. 

Let’s go into more detail about the benefits of using a sports cycle on your washer in this article!

Why You Need To Start Using The “Sports Cycle”

Modern washing machines come with lots of features and cycles designed to clean specific garments such as the type of fabric, soil level, or whether you want to use an environmentally friendly cycle to wash your clothing.

washing machine control panel

For special fabrics that are prone to shrinkage and have high soil levels, the Sports Cycle has a unique combination of water temperature, agitation, and duration to thoroughly and safely clean activewear. Most sports programmes use low temperature, slow spin speed, and a long duration cycle. 

Typically, this cycle uses cooler water (around 30°C), a slower spin speed (about 800 RPM), and lasts for approximately 80 minutes, safeguarding your clothes against shrinkage and extending their lifespan. After all, sportswear is not cheap, and you’ll want to keep using them for a very long time. 

The Advantages Of Using The Sports Cycle 

Now that you know the difference between using the sports cycle from other programmes, let’s look into the benefits you’ll get out of this programme:

It’s Gentle On Your Garments

Did you wash your gym shirt or shorts on a normal cycle in the washer, and notice that they have shrunk at least two sizes? No, it’s not just your imagination and you didn’t magically gain that much weight. 

Sportswear is made from synthetic materials that can be sensitive to high temperatures and may shrink due to fast washing cycles. When you’re using the Sports Cycle, it uses a gentler wash action and lower temperatures to clean your fabrics effectively, 

TIP: Don’t have the sports cycle? Use the “delicates” programme instead. It uses low temperatures and slow spin speeds that will work well with your activewear.

It Removes Stains 

No normal person goes home from the gym or from playing sports sparkly clean. If you have mud or dust on your shirt, best believe that you don’t need to wash it on the hottest and longest cycle in your washer. 

A stain on a white shirt

The Sports Cycle is designed to tackle the tough stains on your sportswear effectively. For most models, it will often include a pre-soak phase and an extra rinse cycle to ensure that your grimy gym clothes are squeaky clean once the cycle is complete. 

It Removes Foul Odours

Unless you’re blessed with awesome genetics, you’ll sweat when engaging in sports or exercise. The sweat mixing with bacteria can cause a foul odour, which can stick in some sportswear. 

person smelling clothes

The Sports Cycle in your washing machine often includes additional rinse cycles or special wash settings to eliminate the awful smells, which will leave your clothes smelling fresh. 

It’s Energy Efficient

When washing heavily soiled activewear, you may be tempted to use intense programmes such as Heavy Duty to get rid of the bacteria and stains on the fabrics. However, this is unnecessary as the Sports Cycle could do the same in less time, which can save you a lot of resources in the long run. Also, this programme uses less water than the other settings in your washer!

Of course, if there are stubborn stains in your sports clothes, it’s best to pre-treat them before using the Sports Cycle. This way, you’ll ensure that the time your fabrics spend in the wash will be used for cleaning and getting rid of odours and bacteria. 

Simple Tips For Washing Your Sportswear

Yes, the Sports Cycle is such a useful programme you’ll want to use it when washing your sweaty clothes. But aside from that, there are a lot of things you can do to make sure your activewear stays fresh and in wonderful condition for a longer time. 

Here are some proven laundry tips you can follow:

Don’t Toss Wet Activewear In The Laundry Basket

After a serious workout, you may want to just throw your sweaty activewear in the laundry basket. Believe us when we say that you shouldn’t do this, as damp clothes are just an ideal environment for bacteria and mould to grow. This leads to awful odours and even damage to your fabrics. 

laundry room with pile of clothes

Make sure to hang your wet sportswear out to dry before adding it to your laundry pile!

Turn Clothes Inside Out

Before washing, turn your sportswear inside out. The inside of the garments is where the majority of sweat, oils, and dead skin cells accumulate, and turning them inside out allows for a more effective clean. 

Additionally, this protects the outer layer of the fabric from wear and tear during the wash cycle, keeping logos and patterns vibrant and intact.

Read Care Labels

Always check the care labels or tags on your sportswear before laundering. These labels will give you important information on what water temperature and washing cycle to use, and whether the item should be hung on a clothesline or can go in the dryer. 

wash care label with no tumble dry

Choose The Right Detergent

Selecting the right detergent is important for cleaning sportswear! Go for a mild but anti-bacterial detergent that is designed to tackle odours and sweat stains without damaging sensitive fabrics. 

Biokleen Laundry Products Sports
  • Cleans tough stains and odors and leaves no residue or harsh scent & 64 ounce bottle is truly 3x concentrated and equal to 128 he loads/64 standard loads
  • Eco-friendly, non-toxic, plant-based, no artificial fragrance, colours or preservatives

Make sure to avoid using fabric softeners, as they can leave a coating on the fabric that traps smells and reduces the garment’s moisture-wicking capabilities.

TIP: Using more detergent will not make your clothes smell more fresh. Use the recommended amount based on the product’s packaging

Pre-Treat Stains

To deal with stubborn stains, pre-treat them before washing. Apply a small amount of detergent directly to the stain and gently rub it in. 

laundry detergent on stained clothing

For tougher stains, a specialised stain remover can be used. Let it sit for a while, following the product’s instructions, before washing. Stain removers, or if you want to go natural, white vinegar, are useful for removing grass, mud, or blood stains common in sportswear.

Separate Light From Dark Coloured Garments

Although it’s time-consuming to do multiple loads, washing light and dark colours separately is important to avoid colour transfer. 

After all, the dyes from darker garments can bleed into lighter ones during the wash, which will result in stubborn dye stains!

SEE ALSO: What Colours Can Be Washed Together? (laundry colour guide)

Avoid Overloading Your Washer

We have also been guilty of stuffing as many items as possible into a single wash to save time. 

However, overloading your washing machine doesn’t allow enough space for clothes to move freely, resulting in a less effective wash. It can also put additional strain on your washing machine!

medium load in drum illustration

Load your washer for at least ½ but not over ¾ its capacity to ensure a thorough clean and protect your sportswear and machine.

If Possible, Air Dry

Whenever possible, air dry your sportswear instead of using a tumble dryer. High heat can damage the elastic fibres in performance fabrics, leading to loss of shape and elasticity. 

Air drying, preferably in a shady, well-ventilated area, helps maintain the integrity of the fabric and ensures your sportswear is ready for your next workout session.

Use Your Washing Machine’s Features Effectively!

The “Sports Cycle” on a washing machine just proves that technology is constantly evolving to cater to our needs, so why not make the most of it and use it to our advantage? 

How’s your first go with using the Sports Cycle on your washer? Share your experience with us below!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the sportswear option on the washing machine?

The sportswear option, also called the “Sports Cycle”, is a washing machine cycle designed specifically to clean athletic and activewear that is made of synthetic, stretchy fabrics like spandex, nylon, and polyester. It uses lower temperatures, slower spin speeds, and longer wash times to thoroughly clean without damaging the fabrics.

Which cycle is best for whites?

The normal or cotton cycle is usually best for washing white clothes. It uses warm or hot water temperatures and a normal cycle length to get whites clean without fading or yellowing them.

What is the fastest washing machine cycle?

The fastest washing machine cycle is usually called the rapid or quick wash. It uses higher water temperatures and faster spin speeds to clean lightly soiled clothes in around 30 minutes.

What is a normal wash cycle?

A normal wash cycle typically runs for around 45-60 minutes. It uses warm water and a medium spin speed to clean moderately soiled everyday clothes like t-shirts, jeans, towels etc.

How do I know if my washing machine is overloaded?

Signs your washing machine is overloaded include difficulty closing the door, banging or clicking noises during the cycle, long drain times, clothes not getting clean, and water not fully draining from the tub. Aim for putting at least 1/2 but not over 3/4s of your washer’s capacity.

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