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Clean & Deodorize Your Stinky Gym Bag

October 2, 2023

A good gym bag is a must if you workout regularly. Ideally, you want one that’s big enough to store all of your essentials including your workout clothes, shoes, towel, water bottle, and other sports equipment.

And like your gym clothes, your bag also needs to be washed – ideally, once every few weeks. That will prevent odors from developing and keep it looking good.

The last thing that you want is to be that ‘smelly person’ at the gym!

Best Ways to Deodorize Your Gym Bag

how to clean your gym bagHere are a few things that you can do in between cleanings if you’re dealing with that ‘gym bag smell’:

Use Tea Bags

Tea bags are excellent deodorizers. Depending on the size of your gym bag, you’ll want to put three to four inside.

Leave them in the bag for a couple of days and the aromatic herbs will eliminate the odors.

Use Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets are not just for the dryer – you can also use them to get rid of odors. Simply place a few sheets inside your bag and leave them in there for a couple of days.

Use Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is a natural air purifier and can also help prevent mold and mildew growth. The best part is that they’re reusable – all you have to do is lay them out in the sun every once and a while and they’ll be as good as new.

Use White Vinegar

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 give the vinegar ample time to neutralize the odors.

Add Baking Soda

Baking soda won’t just mask the smell, it’ll eliminate it. Simply 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.

How to Prevent Your Gym Bag From Smelling

how to deodorize a gym bagHere are a few steps that you can take to keep your bag smelling fresh.

Empty it As Soon As You Get Home

Don’t keep your sweaty clothes in the bag. Take them out as soon as you get home from the gym. It’s also a good idea to unzip the bag and let it air out.

Wipe it Down Every Once in a While

Make it a daily (weekly, at the very least) habit to clean the inside of your bag. You can either use antibacterial wipes or a damp cloth – just remember to dry it thoroughly afterward.

Depending on the design of the bag, you might have to flip it inside out so that it can air dry.

Using Essential Oils

how to remove odors from gym bagYou can keep your gym bag fresh with essential oils between washes. Just fill a spray bottle with water, and add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice.

Use the mixture to mist the bag and allow it to dry.

Use Silica Gel Packets

Silica gel packs are excellent at absorbing excess moisture. Just toss them inside your bag and they’ll soak everything up.

Keep Your Shoes Out of The Bag (If Possible)

Try not to put your shoes in your bag. The residue and grime from the soles can easily transfer onto the fabric, which can lead to odors.
At the very least, put your shoes inside a plastic bag before putting them in your gym bag.

How to Clean Gym Bag – Duffels & Backpacks

Now and then, you’ll want to wash your gym bag with water and a mild detergent. To do that, you can either use the washing machine (most gym bags are machine washable) or do it by hand.

Machine Washing Your Gym Bag

Tip: Before you start, check the washing label – it’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to wash the gym bag.

gym bag washing instructionsThe first step is to close all zippers. If you leave them open, they can easily scratch the material during the wash cycle.

Also, make sure to secure all velcro attachments that might be on the straps and put the bag in a mesh laundry bag. It’ll act as a barrier, reducing the amount of friction between the bag and your other laundry (assuming that you’re washing it with other garments).

Once the bag is in the washer, add one scoop of ACTIVE Detergent. Skip the bleach and fabric conditioner.

Choose a gentle setting and run a wash cycle with cold water.

Once the cycle is finished, take it out of the machine and hang it up to dry. Do not put it in the dryer – the fabric will deteriorate if exposed to heat.

Washing Your Gym Bag by Hand

Fill a large bucket (or sink) with warm water and stir in a scoop of ACTIVE Detergent. Using your hand, agitate the water to dissolve the powder – you should end up with a bubbly mixture.

best detergent for gym bagsOnce the powder is fully dissolved, place your gym bag in the sink, making sure the entire thing is saturated with the solution. Let it soak for 15 to 30 minutes.

Swirl the gym bag around a few times before picking it up. Run it under clean water to remove the detergent. Continue until the water turns clear. Alternatively, you can soak it in clean water after draining away the dirty water.

Gently squeeze out the excess water and transfer it to a clean flat surface. You can also press down on the bag with a towel to remove the water.

Let it dry completely before storing it away.

Removing Stains From Your Gym Bag

Did you spill something on your gym bag? ACTIVE Detergent will take care of that.

In a small bowl, dissolve some of the powder in warm water. Using an old toothbrush, apply the mixture to the problem area and let it soak through the fabric for at least 30 minutes; that will give the enzymes in the detergent time to break down the stain.

Rinse with water afterward.

If the stain is still visible, repeat the steps again.

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Picture of Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

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