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Personal Trainer Katie “Cakes” Shares Tips on how to Safely Clean Your Workout Clothes and Turn them from Gross to Gorgeous

PSA! Don’t put those leggings in the dryer.

Katie “Cakes” Wildhagen, creator and founder of the physical and spiritual fitness brand theBAKESHOP®, is dedicated to “making the world sweeter, one booty at a time.” In pursuing her passions as a personal trainer and fitness professional over the past decade, she understands the importance of treating the gear she trains in with care.

We all want to look good in the gym and know that a cute workout set is a key to doing so. But what happens when your sports bras lose shape and your leggings don’t cling to the curves you’ve been working so hard to maintain? Well, proper washing methods can prevent that!

We recently caught up with Katie to get the inside scoop on how to clean your workout gear. These tips and tricks will keep you in your Ivy Park and your Lululemon for years to come! Pssst… Katie’s been able to hold onto some of her coveted workout pieces for EIGHT years, so keep reading!

Have you always known how to wash your workout gear safely?

Oh, definitely not. When I started as a personal trainer, I’d bought my first pair of “expensive” leggings to work in. I wanted to look super professional, so I “splurged” at the time and spent $120 on the pair. (This was back in 2011.) Before that, the most I’d paid for any piece of workout gear was maybe $60. So one of the veteran trainers at the club saw that I was wearing my new “fancy” leggings, and she schooled me on how to properly care for them so they’d last. (She knew the struggle of being a new trainer.) She explained that I should never put any piece of workout gear in the dryer. I took that as bible and since that day have never. (I still have that pair of leggings!)

What’s the best washing machine setting for fitness gear?

Unless your stuff is super delicate (think mesh and accessories), I use a normal setting. Then, I throw it all into the wash per usual. But it’s in the drying process that it gets real crucial.

Do you have a go-to detergent?

I like a good natural detergent. Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena ($17.99) is always a fav!

Why should we avoid putting activewear in the dryer?

So if you’ve ever noticed that your leggings seem to start to droop after a few washes, this is why. And when you’re paying good money for that Ivy Park, you know you want to keep it feeling and looking fresh and new for as long as possible.

Do you have any other tips worth sharing?

So I tend to wait and do my laundry until the last day. We’re talking I’m looking at swim tops as sports bras by the time I’m finally doing the laundry. This makes hanging all those leggings and tops quite a process. So my one tip would be, don’t wait until almost every piece you own is in the dirty laundry before you decide to get them in the wash. Keep it consistent, and you’ll have a much better experience with hanging all your items. Another option is using the “no heat” option on your dryer. This saves some time and doesn’t have your place looking like a hang-dry laundromat!


  • Wash like clothes with like clothes
  • Wash gear inside out
  • Avoid fabric softener

What are the activewear brands in your collection?

Ohhh, I love me some Ivy Park. Like, there’s no better way to motivate you to a workout than opening your new shiny Ivy Park! I also LOVE Adam Selman Sport. Unfortunately, he recently shut the line down. But look out for where he collaborates next because I feel like more will come soon! And my Athleta pieces never disappoint! They support and hold tight in all the right places! Oh! And I can’t forget about the Girlfriend Collective! Their pieces are clean and natural looking and feeling. And also really hold it all in for a super sleek, yet functional look.

What are the most expensive activewear pieces you’ve protected thanks to your cleaning method? 

My Ivy Park, for sure! And my old Stella McCartney pieces are still going strong because I cared for them this way.

What do the words PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT mean to you?

PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT to me means there are no limitations to how we can express and care for ourselves. Whether it be pampering and getting glam, or getting sweaty and “rugged” in the gym, we never lose our “pretty,” our sex appeal, our confidence, or strength. We really can be all things we want to be.

Since PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT, what is your favorite deodorant?

Ok, I’d love to say I only wear natural deodorant. Because maybe 98% of the time, I am. And I usually love the Each & Every brand lavender and lemon scent ($17, eachandevery.com) or the Myro natural brand ($9.99, amazon.com). But, honestly, some days just call for the aluminum-free Secret unscented ($6.99).

How can sweat sisters stay connected with you?

Please come by @katiecakecakecakecake or @bakeshopfitness on IG and say hi! And find all our classes and community at BakeShopFitness.com!

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