[Updated on 1 June 2020] Maintaining a clean gym bag isn’t too hard. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the time to wash everything after each squash match or gym session.
After I play a match or work out, I typically throw everyone in my bag, change, and go home. It doesn’t take long for my bag to become a breeding ground for horrible odors.
Eventually, the rest of my gear and clothing starts to absorb the odor-causing bacteria in my bag. Besides making everyone gag, the bacteria may lead to health issues such as rashes or staph infections.
So how do you keep your squash bag, clothes, and gear from getting stinky? I’ve tried many solutions and compiled the best methods into the following tutorial.stinky gym bag
If you’re tired of dealing with a stinky squash bag, try these tips.
What Items Do You Need to Clean Stinky Gym Bags?
There are several methods for cleaning stinky squash bags, clothes, and other equipment. Some people place unused tea bags in their bags overnight while others add dryer sheets to absorb odors.
Teabags and dryer sheets may help absorb some of the odors but they may not treat the underlying problem. If you have an exceptionally musty bag, you need to kill the odor-causing bacteria.
I’ve found the perfect combination of steps for neutralizing the problem and keeping my gear fresh after a long workout or intense squash session. You just need the following supplies:
- White vinegar
- Disinfecting wipes
- Essential oils
- Dryer sheets
- Laundry detergent
- Washer and dryer
After gathering the gear listed above, follow these steps to keep your gym bag fresh:
Wash Your Gym Bag and Clothes with Regular Laundry Detergent
The first step is washing everything with your regular laundry detergent. Ensuring that you’ve removed any surface sweat stains and softening the fabric helps boost the effectiveness of the rest of the steps.
Remember to check the tag inside your bag and clothes for washing instructions. Typically, whites are washed in warm water and colors are washed in cool water.
Don’t wash your bag with your clothes or squash shoes. Keep your gear separate to avoid damaging anything.
Rinse Your Stinky Gym Bag in a Solution of White Vinegar and Water
White vinegar is a useful household disinfectant and the perfect ingredient to deodorize a gym bag. The acidity of the vinegar kills odor-causing bacteria and germs.
After washing your bag and clothes, combine one cup of white vinegar with at least 32 ounces of water in a large pot. The pot should be large enough to hold the vinegar/water mixture and the gear that needs cleaning.
Remove the pot from heat and allow to cool slightly. Dunk your items in the mixture, ensuring that they are completely soaked.
Allow everything to soak overnight and then wash in the washing machine a second time.
After eliminating nasty odors, I continue to add about half a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle when washing my gear. The vinegar keeps everything fresher longer and acts as a fabric softener, keeping lint from clinging to my moisture-wicking gym clothes.
Dry Your Squash Bag in a Drying Machine with Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets alone won’t eliminate nasty odors but they can absorb some of the smells and soften the fabric of my gym clothes.
After washing, soaking, and rewashing your squash bag, throw it in the dryer with one or two dryer sheets. Again, if you’re also treating your gym clothes and shoes, dry everything separately.
When you remove the bag from the dryer, give it a good sniff. You may not need to complete the final two steps.
If the odor isn’t too caked into the fabric, soaking may be enough to eliminate the smells.
Disinfect the Inside of Your Gym Bag and Other Gear with Wipes
If the odors linger, wipe the inside and outside of the dry bag with disinfecting wipes. Wipes are designed to kill bacteria and germs on hard surfaces such as kitchen counters.
Luckily, disinfecting wipes can also kill odor-causing bacteria on soft fabrics.
Studies have found that using a disinfecting wipe on a contaminated surface can kill 99.9% of germs. It only takes one wipe per day to eliminate germs and help keep new bacteria away.
Mist the Inside of Your Squash Bag with Essential Oils
The previous steps should remove all odors, including the most stubborn smells. This last step helps keep everything fresh.
Add several drops of essential oils to a spray bottle filled with water. You can use any oils you want but tea tree oil is the most beneficial.
Tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant. It contains antiviral, antimicrobial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties. You could also add a few drops of lavender to give your bag a fresh scent.
After adding the drops to the spray bottle, gently mist your gym bag and allow it to dry. Your bag should now smell better compared to the day you bought it.
The essential oil spray also helps freshen shoes but probably isn’t necessary for clothing.
Instead of dumping the water when you’re done, use it around the house to disinfect surfaces. It’s a green solution for treating moldy or mildewed areas such as the bathroom or kitchen.
Hopefully, you don’t have to keep coming back to this article to learn how to keep a clean gym bag! While we may not enjoy the process, everyone should appreciate cleaner squash bags and clothes.
We’re usually the last ones to detect our own odors. While you may not notice the pungent stench coming from your bag, you may notice everyone in the locker room take a few extra steps away from you.
The odor is just one of the potential problems. Keeping your gear clean helps prevent mildew and the spread of dangerous bacteria.
Dealing with the odor also saves money. Instead of replacing your stinky bag every two or three years, you can keep it fresh using the steps discussed.
Try these odor-busting tips and let us know how it goes in the comments section below. If you know someone who suffers from sweaty gym clothes, pass the article on.