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How To Clean Your Workout Gear

After a long and sweaty workout, a shower and a snack is the first thing on our minds (well my mind it is). The last thing on our minds is cleaning. Yes, I said the word that most of us procrastinate on.

Cleaning our workout gear, our equipment and clothes will not only benefit everyone around us at the gym but also our bodies and health.

To Clean Or Not To Clean

As we have all learnt, we sweat when we workout. Some of us glisten like the Vampires from Twilight and some of us look like we have been dunked in the ocean. No matter how much we sweat, the sweat provides the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive in.

The bacteria is the reason for our clothes to sometimes smell even when we have washed them. On top of this, bacteria can also cause infections, particularly yeast infections, in the case of leggings and workout shorts.

Not only does cleaning help kill off the bacteria, but it also leaves us feeling fresh for when we want to hit the gym.

How often should we clean?

There’s no real rule on how often we should wash our workout gear but here are a few guidelines to help.

Socks, bra’s and leggings

These need to be washed every time after use. Don’t cut corners as bacteria in these garments can cause infections, specifically yeast infections- the last thing you want to experience.


If you are not drenched and only glistening slightly then you may be able to skip a wash, however, hang up the garment to let it dry.


If you train every day, consider getting two pairs of sneakers to alternate between. This will preserve your sneakers and will allow for them to breathe.


Towels absorb the sweat. Dead skin cells can also absorb any particles from equipment if it's been used to wipe down equipment.


Regardless of whether it's public or your own equipment, clean it. It removes your germs to protect everyone from covid, removes sweat, and prevents bacteria from building up. I’m sure you don’t want to be doing a downward dog on a sweaty, ill smelling mat.


Water or protein shake, wash your bottle especially with protein shakes. Rinsing your bottle after having a protein shake will help you remove the gross lumps of protein shake at the bottom that is surprisingly tough to remove.

Gym Bags

Yes, you need to clean your gym bag. No it doesn’t work out with you but think about it, your gym bag holds all supplements, your NAC for workouts and your sweaty workout gear after your session.

That bacteria will spread and can cause your bag to smell ripe. I’m sure you don’t want to be gassing out the gym when you open your bag.

So how often should we wash it? Well, it all depends on how often you use your bag. If you use it every day, a weekly or bi-weekly clean should be in order. If it's less frequent, than monthly should be good.


This one may not be obvious but after your workout, your headphones deserve a clean. They did get you through the workout so you may as well pay it back and clean them.

How do I clean the gear?

Wash like fabrics together! Your workout clothes are made from different materials to your normal day to day clothes. Avoid washing them with fabrics that are different and heavier such as jeans, fleece jackets and other heavy garments.

Avoid Heat

Workout clothes normally have a high elasticity to it and elastic doesn’t like heat. Using heat will amplify any odors and could potentially damage your clothes.

Soak your clothes

If you can’t wash your clothes immediately, soak them with warm water in the case of stains with one part white vinegar to four parts water 30 minutes before you wash them.

Use the correct detergent dose

It may be tempting to use more detergent because let's be honest, soap makes things smell better, right? Yes, detergent may smell great but using too much will leave residue in our clothes which will trap odor.

Use a booster or sports detergent

These useful inventions help to remove odor. A quarter to half cup (depending on the load of the wash) of vinegar or baking soda will help to remove odor. If you prefer a less DIY route, a sports detergent designed specifically for sports garments will help remove the smell.

Avoid Fabric Softener

Fabric softener like using extra detergent can leave a residue on your clothes making it difficult for the water and detergent to penetrate the fabric and trapping the bacteria.

Turn your clothes inside out

This may seem weird but when you think about it, it makes sense. When you work out, you sweat which is in contact with the inside of your clothes. Sweat and any dead cells on your skin will be picked up and absorbed by the inside of your clothes. By turning your clothes inside out, it will expose the fabric that has been in contact with your skin to the detergent.

Disinfectant Sprays

Washing your trainers can be a complete mission and that's where disinfectant sprays come in handy. They kill the bacteria, and it beats having to completely soak your trainers.

Alcohol Wipes

This is a simple yet handy trick to clean your headphones and prevent them from retaining any bacteria.

Air Dry

As I mentioned previously, elastic doesn’t like heat and that is the same for your dryer no matter how nice and convenient it is. By air drying your workout clothes, it will prevent any damage to the clothes and will make it last longer.

Final Words

Cleaning may seem like a chore, but it will not only prevent your clothes from smelling gross but also preserve the life of your clothes and equipment while preventing you from getting nasty infections.

So instead of dumping your gym bag back in your closet after your workout, unpack it and at the very least soak the contents. You’ll thank me later.




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