Friday, August 9, 2013

The Return of the Musty Odor

For the last few months I've been wearing my Capezio CA222 leggings rather than tights. They feel cooler than the tights, and are a lot faster to put on. However, I've noticed that they're prone to picking up a slightly musty odor even right after they've been washed.

My routine has been to dump all my wet, sweaty dance gear in the bathroom sink as soon as I get home and give it an initial rinsing. Then I fill the sink and let it soak overnight (mostly from laziness or exhaustion, take your pick) before hand-washing them in the morning. After rinsing I roll each piece into a fat tube shape and squeeze it to extract as much moisture as I can, unroll and put each piece on plastic hangers, and hang them up to dry on the bar over the sink. Every so often I'll machine wash the stuff. This has worked well for years.

Recently, though, I've noticed a slightly musty odor. I assumed it was the shirts, given that I sweat a lot during class in the summer, so I've paid special attention to getting the shirts clean and rotating them. But that hasn't helped. So I did an experiment. I machine washed everything and hung everything to dry in the basement with lots of air space. No noticeable odor. After the next class I hand-washed my gear and checked it frequently as it dried. Sure enough, the leggings developed a musty odor about two days after being washed.

I have two guesses about what's going on. Firstly, the spin cycle on the machine gets more water out of my gear than I do when I hand wash it. Secondly, the leggings are thicker than the tights, so they dry more slowly. The combination is leaving more time for whatever is giving off the musty odor to develop.

I'd like to wash the leggings in something that would be guaranteed to kill off whatever is causing the musty odor, but what would I use? Bleach? Hydrogen Peroxide? Either might risk damaging the leggings. I'm going to treat the sink with my favorite antiseptic -- a 10% bleach solution -- and see if that eliminates the root cause. Otherwise I guess I'll just have to machine wash everything every time.


  1. try soaking them in white vinegar for half an hour before washing, that should kill whatever is causing the smell. For an extra boost wash them with a cup of baking soda in with your detergent. But make sure you rinse the vinegar out first, or you will make a laundry volcano!

    1. Thanks! There isn't time for them to dry before class tomorrow if I get them wet now, but I'll try it after class.


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