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How to Clean & Deodorize Gym Bags

November 17, 2020

Regular exercise is one of the best things that you can do for your body. Not only will it strengthen your muscles and bones, but it’ll also strengthen your lungs and lungs. In doing so, you’ll be at a lower risk of heart disease. That’s not all—it can also prevent high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, diabetes, arthritis, even some cancers.

Given that, it’s not surprising to know that many people go to the gym. Sure, you have to pay for a membership but they’re super convenient. For one thing, they pretty much have everything that you’ll ever need for your workouts from treadmills to free weights. There’s also something about being in a gym that gives you a motivational boost!

Other Benefits of Going to the Gym:

  • Most gyms offer various classes that you can join
  • You can find support and motivation among other gym goers
  • You can work with professional trainers
  • You can try out different exercise equipment to see which works for you
  • You can shower right after your workout (most offer private showers)
  • You can be social and make new friends

What Should You Bring to the Gym?

There are a few essential things that you have to bring with you to the gym. For one thing, you’ll need a good pair of sneakers. Aside from that, you’ll also want to pack your workout clothes (e.g. sports bra, yoga pants, socks, etc). Toiletries such as shampoo, deodorant, and cleansing wipes are also a good idea since you’ll probably be sweaty afterward. Don’t forget to bring a water bottle as well.

And of course, you’ll need something to put all of that stuff in—a gym bag! If anything, it’s a must-have, especially if you’re going to the gym directly from work or another place (i.e. you have to change into your workout gear).

Choosing a Gym Bag

There are a few things to consider when you’re choosing a gym bag. For one thing, you want to make sure that it has a slot for your water bottle. Size is important as well. After all, it’ll do you no good if you can’t fit all of your gear in. You don’t want it to be too big either since it has to be able to fit in a typical gym locker.

You also want to choose the right material. Because yes, there are many choices. For example, you can get a bag made of canvas, cotton, nylon, even leather. At the end of the day, you want to go for functionality instead of appearance. Yes, a leather gym bag would look nice but it would also be a hassle to clean. Considering that, it’s much better to pick something like nylon that you can just toss into the wash every once in a while.

Gym Bag Care Tips

Your gym bag is probably the last thing on your mind after a long, hard session at the gym. Still, it’s important that you care for your gear. As a general rule, you want to take out any sweaty clothing as soon as possible. Not only will it make your bag smell bad, but the moisture can also compromise the material. It’s also crucial that you wash it at least once a month. Of course, you can do it more often as well.

Best Materials For Gym Bags

Like we said earlier, you want to stay away from fabrics such as leather. Instead, opt for one of these two materials:


Nylon is a synthetic material that’s often used for clothing. It’s also a popular choice for accessories such as scarves and bags. Why? It’s durable, elastic, and resistant to abrasion. On top of that, it almost never shrinks, even with regular washes. If anything, that makes it a good choice for workout-related gear.


Polyester is also man-made. As with nylon, it’s typically used for workout gear—and that includes accessories such as gym bags. While it isn’t as elastic as nylon, it is comparable in terms of durability. What’s more, is that it’s quick-drying. In other words, you won’t have to wait forever for it to dry after washing. The material itself is also light so it won’t add to the bag’s overall weight.

How to Wash Your Gym Bag Properly

For the purposes of this article, we’ll be going over how to wash polyester and nylon gym bags. As it is, there’s more than one method that you can use and we’ll be going over them in detail below.

Method 1: Putting Your Gym Bag in the Washing Machine

Most, if not all gym bags are machine washable. Start by taking everything out—this includes your clothes, toiletries, and small items such as IDs, etc. In some cases, there may be a removable piece at the bottom to keep the bag sturdy; take that out as well. The last thing that you want is to run all of these things through the washer!

Once you’ve done that, turn the entire thing inside out. Make sure all of the zippers are closed and remove any straps. If they’re not removable, secure them by tying them in a loose knot—that will prevent them from getting tangled during the wash cycle. From there, place the gym bag in a laundry bag or pillowcase. While it’s not mandatory, it’s highly recommended as the zippers and straps can get caught inside the washer.

For the best results, wash the gym bag separate from other items. Having said that, you can add a few towels to balance the load. Once everything is loaded into the machine, add a scoop of ACTIVE detergent. Proceed to wash it on a gentle cycle with cold water (hot water can cause nylon and polyester to warp over time).

After washing, hang the gym bag up to dry. Alternatively, you can place it on top of a flat surface with a towel underneath and let it air dry. Using the dryer is not advised as you don’t want to expose the material to heat.

Method 2: Washing Your Gym Bag Manually

Fill a tub with cool water (depending on the size of your bag, you may be able to use a sink). Add 1/2 scoop of ACTIVE detergent and mix—you should end up with a soapy mixture. Double-check that your bag is empty before turning it inside out and placing it in the solution. Gently massage the material with your hand to remove any loose, exterior dirt and dust. If necessary, you can scrub the bag with a soft rag or brush.

Let the gym bag soak for around 20 minutes. Afterward, rinse it thoroughly with water; you don’t want there to be any soapy residue. From there, you can place it on top of a flat surface so that it can air dry. Like we said earlier, it’s not advised that you use the dryer. Make sure that the bag is completely dry before using it again.

How to Deodorize A Gym Bag – Remove Odors

Gym bags can stink after a while and detergent might not be enough to get rid of the odor. Fortunately, there are remedies for that.

Using White Vinegar

White vinegar is pretty much a miracle ingredient when it comes to icky smells. Start by bringing your gym bag to the tub. Fill it up with cold water and add one cup of white vinegar. Leave the bag in the mixture for at least 20 minutes—that will allow the vinegar to neutralize the odors. If you want, you can also add a little bit of white vinegar to the washing machine if you’re using that method.

Adding Baking Soda

Baking soda is another ingredient that’s excellent at getting rid of odors—and you probably already have it in the kitchen. Unlike detergents, it won’t just mask the scent, it’ll actually eliminate it! As for how to use it, all you have to do is add one cup of the powder into the washing machine with your gym bag. Or if you want, you can soak it in a baking soda/water mixture.

Tips on How to Keep Your Gym Bag Smelling Fresh

Here a few tricks that’ll keep your bag smelling fresh.

Using Tea Bags

Believe it or not but you can actually keep your gym bags fresh with a few unused tea bags. All you have to do is leave them inside for a few hours—it’ll automatically absorb the smell. If you want, you can even leave them in overnight and remove in the morning.

Using Dryer Sheets

Who says that dryer sheets are just for clothes? You can also use them for your gym bags. Similar to the teabag method, you want to put them in the bag. Instead of taking them out a few hours afterward, however, you can just leave them in. Replace once the scent fades.

Using Essential Oils

You can keep your gym bag fresh with essential oils between washes. It’s easy to use too—just fill a spray bottle with water. From there, add a few drops of essential oil of your choice. Use the mixture to mist the bag and allow it to dry.

Using Silica Gel Packets 

Have a few silica gel packets lying around at home? Don’t throw them away—you can use them to deodorize your gym bag. Just toss them inside and they’ll sock up all the sweat and moisture. In doing so, it won’t develop odors nearly as fast!

Wipe It Down

Make a habit of wiping down your gym bag every day or at the very least, every week. For the best results, use antibacterial wipes. Aside from the surface, you want to get the corners as well.

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