The King of Stink: Gym Bags

One of the best parts of working out or playing hard at a sport is the feeling of accomplishment –and the nice muscle burn – that lingers long after you’ve cooled down. But there’s something else that tends to hang on: gym bag smells. Your bag, equipment, and gear are all required accessories, but they’re also the ideal breeding ground for odor. How do you sweat without the stink?

When You Feel the Burn – and Smell It

Sweat is completely natural. It’s your body’s way of cooling off and regulating its temperature so you can endure workouts, games, and matches without damaging your health. Here’s the good news: sweat does not smell. Here’s the bad news: sweat mixed with bacteria does.

Bacteria are present on your skin, on gym equipment, on surfaces, and in your bag. Throwing your workout clothes and gear into a bag and then zipping it up creates a perfect environment for bacteria to grow. The malodors can also bond with the fabric of the bag, trapping odor. Even if you put clean, freshly laundered clothes in the bag, they’ll come out smelling like you’ve just run 10K.

And everywhere the gym bag goes, the smell will surely follow. Parents who are fitness buffs or who play chauffeur as their kids bounce from hockey to soccer to softball to track, begin to notice foul odors emanating from gym bags and “invading” their cars and homes.

Get Your Sweat On without the Stink

Treating the items in the bag is a first step – and clean workout clothes and gear will certainly make you more popular, or at least, more palatable at the gym. Pretreating your laundry with an enzymatic cleaner is a great way to power away tough odors, sweat stains (like the ones that form in your armpits and never, ever want to go), grass stains, blood, and other sports-related messes.

Choose an enzymatic cleaner with Ordenone and alcohol. Enzymes digest organic stains, while Ordenone safely and effectively captures malodors. Saturate the stain, and let the product sit for 5 minutes. Wash as usual. For items that you can’t throw in the wash, like protective pads or cleats, spot-treat and let dry.

Don’t Forget the Bag!

To prevent the problem from recurring, tackle it at the root: the bag o’ bacteria. That enzymatic cleaner will come in handy here too. If washable, spray the bag with cleaner to pretreat and then wash as usual. If it’s particularly ripe, add a cup of the cleaner to the load. Do this once a week, and you should be shower fresh for the big game.

Many bags are not washable. Nike, for instance, does not recommend machine-washing, so check the care label before you start. If you can’t just toss yours in the laundry, spot-treat with the enzymatic cleaner and let the product dry thoroughly.

To keep your bag clean and as odor-free as possible, be sure to empty it of used clothes and equipment as soon as you can, and open it to air dry. Remember, bacteria love moisture and dark. If you can deprive them, you have a much better shot at keeping your bag and the gear inside smelling clean.

Skip the stink, not the workout. With a few easy steps and a good enzymatic cleaner, the only reminders of your exertion will be the endorphins and sense of accomplishment!