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Studio / april 2017
Natalie Chladek, Global Newsroom

How to Clean a Gym Bag

Sure, you wash your moisture-wicking gym clothes on the delicate cycle and dutifully hang them to dry to prevent static. But when was the last time you gave your gym bag the same TLC?

Gym bags need to be cleaned too, and we tackled five common gym bag messes to uncover the best way to clean them.

Your bag carries everything from sweaty clothes and dirty shoes to wet towels and post-workout snacks.  The moist environment and exposure to germy surfaces make for an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.

And it’s not surprising.  Your gym bag puts in hard work just like you do.  When your gym bag follows you from spinning to yoga to CrossFit, it’s bound to get dirty.

For CorePower Yoga instructor Samantha Messick, the key to keeping her gym bag clean and functioning is organization. 

“I spend my time going from the studio where I've often practiced and taught straight to my grad school class, so I have a lot with me at all times,” she says.  “For me, it is all about keeping your bag organized.”

Messick recommends using smaller travel bags to keep items organized and messes contained. 

“I have one for essentials like hair ties, a hairbrush, chapstick and face wipes,” she says.

In addition, separating your used clothes from the rest of your gym bag keeps the other contents clean. Messick uses a “a wet bag for sweaty post-yoga clothes and a cloth bag for dry clothes to change into after.”

From toiletry spills to smelly shoes, we put our gym bags to the test to find out the best way to clean them.

Smelly, Dirty Shoes

Your shoes are your best friends, but they go through a lot of wear and tear too.  Outside workouts pick up dirt, and tough workouts lead to some understandable stink. 

Luckily, there’s an easy way to keep your shoes clean and fresh.  First, slip a tea bag inside of the shoe to absorb odors and freshen their smell.  Then, wrap each shoe in a shower cap to make sure the remnants of your trail run don’t get loose in the bag.

Toiletry Spill

A spill from the mini-shampoo bottle in your bag is one of the stickiest messes around, but a quick wipe down from a baby wipe will clean it right up.  Scrub the dirtied area with the baby wipe and let air dry.

Dirt in Your Bag

When you’re changing from running shoes to training shoes, your bag is bound to collect dirt.  The easiest way to deal with dirt is to empty your bag and shake it out outside.  

But that never completely cleans all the nooks and crannies.  To deal with the stubborn particles, give the inside of the bag a thorough swipe with a lint roller, focusing on seams and corners of the bag.  The stickiness of the roller will dislodge and remove the dirt and crumbs from the tricky corners.

Smelly Bag

Even when you carefully tuck your post-workout outfit in a wet bag, your gym bag can become seriously smelly after a couple days of toting around dirty clothes. To combat the stink, toss a fresh dryer sheet in the bag. It will keep the smell of sweat in the gym and out of the bag. 

Yoga Mat

When it comes to cleaning, yoga mats are one of the most neglected pieces of gym equipment.  Anyone who has gone to a hot yoga class knows that mats soak up a lot of sweat. 

Messick makes sure to wipe her mat after heated classes with warm water and a towel.  For a deeper clean, she creates a custom cleaning solution.

“To deep clean I mix warm water with a little vinegar and essential oil and put it in a mini spray bottle,” she says. “I then spray the mat, let it dry and then wipe it down again with warm water.”

Lastly, don’t roll up your mat and stick it in the corner until your next class.  Instead, make sure it dries completely before putting it away after class. 

“The biggest mistake people make is not allowing enough time for their mat to dry out after class,” she says. “Your mat needs time to breathe and air out.”

Use these five tips to keep your bag fresh, clean and ready to tackle your next workout. 

What are your gym bag cleaning hacks? Let us know by tweeting  @Reebok !

Studio / april 2017
Natalie Chladek, Global Newsroom