How To Clean A Gym Bag: Insider Tips

How To Clean A Gym Bag

The gym bag is a very important item in the life of a gym goer or a sportsman. It carries everything, including your gym outfits, shoes, water bottle, yoga mat, towels, etc. However, it not only carries clean items but also dirty and sweaty clothes, smelly shoes and socks, towels, and many more items.

So after some days, your bag will pick up a stinky smell, stains, and dirt on it. Even sometimes it becomes unbearable. So what’s the solution? The best possible solution is to wash the bag.

In this blog post, you will find a comprehensive guide regarding cleaning the gym bag. Moreover, you will be able to remove the unpleasant smell and mold from the bag.

Steps To Clean A Gym Bag

Before you start the cleaning process, you have to analyze the material of the bag. Read the instructions label. Follow these instructions to avoid any possible damage during the cleaning process. 

Emptying The Gym Bag

Emptying The Gym Bag

The very first step is to empty the gym bag. Unzip every pocket and compartment. Remove everything from your bag, including clothes, shoes, towels, deodorants, water bottles, headphones, and all other things.

You can use a portable vacuum cleaner to suck even the small dust particles from the bag. Or you can hold the bag upside down and shake it. In this way, everything from the bag will be removed.  

Washing It With A Hand

If machine washing is considered harmful for the bag in the instruction label, then wash your gym bag by hand. First of all, take a water tub or sink. Fill it with mild warm water. Dissolve the mild detergent in it. Now put the empty bag in the water. And let it submerge completely. 

Now scrub the complete bag with a washing cloth or sponge. If your bag has stubborn stains, you can use vinegar only for that spot. Rub on that spot until the stain is removed.  

Washing In The Washing Machine

If machine washing is not forbidden, then you can wash your gym bag in a washing machine. But you have to follow some safety measures.

  • Use cool water.
  • Use the delicate cycle of the machine.
  • Put the bag in a mesh bag, washing bag, or pillow cover.
  • Remove all the detachable straps and extensions from the bag.
  • Use a mild detergent.

Following all these instructions put the bag in the washer for almost 15 minutes. After this, you can remove the bag from the mesh bag. Your bag is completely cleaned now. 

Drying The Gym Bag

It is the last step of the cleaning process. Now rinse the bag with the clean water. Rinse it until all the detergent is removed from the bag. Remnants of the soap or detergent can fade the colors of the gym bag. Also, dry your bag in open air but not in direct sunlight. The dryer is also not recommended for this purpose.

How Do You Remove The Smell From The Gym Bag?

How Do You Remove The Smell From The Gym Bag

Actually, the smell is created from the sweaty clothes and shoes. Therefore, you should avoid putting sweaty clothes directly into the bag. Use a ventilated compartment for these items.

However, if you want to remove the smell from your gym bag, then follow these steps. 

  • Remove all the items from the bag.
  • Then, wash it thoroughly with the hand or machine.
  • Then sprinkle the baking soda on the smelly areas of the bag. 
  • Let the baking soda sit on these parts for some hours; it will absorb all the odor from the bag. 
  • You can use the solution of white vinegar and water. Dip a washing cloth in the solution and then scrub on the smelly areas. It will also remove the bad odor from the bag.
  • Some people use odor-eliminating sprays to remove the smell from the gym or sports bag. 

How To Remove The Mold From The Gym Bag?

Mold or bacteria can grow in the gym bag due to the sweaty clothes in the bag. These can not only create a smell but also damage the bag. So these must be remediated.

  • Empty the bag and wash it with the hand or machine.
  • Make a mixture of water and vinegar.
  • Spray that mixture on the moldy areas.
  • Then, wearing gloves, rub these areas using a washing cloth.
  • You can use a rinsing brush to remove the mold from the bag. 

In this way, you can remove mold. However, prevent it from growing again in the bag. For this always air-dry your bag after washing. Always put dry clothes and shoes in a gym bag. And keep your gym bag in a dry place. 


Gym bags are loyal partners and always help you to bring all your essentials with you. So they must be kept clean. For cleaning you can use both these methods but make sure to follow the label instructions.

These methods are also applicable for cleaning duffel bags, Nike gym bags, drawstring gym bags, or gym backpacks. For better results, wash your bag regularly. It will keep your bag brand new and clean.

You can read our blog post about selecting the right size of gym bag

Frequently Asked Questions

Should You Wash Your Gym Bag?

Yes, you should wash your gym bag. It will keep it clean and remove bad odors from the bag. 

How Do You Clean A Dirty Gym Bag?

I clean my dirty gym bag by machine washing. Firstly I remove everything from the bag. Then put it in a mesh bag. Then, I put it in the washer for some time. After this, I dry my bag in the open air. 

How Do You Clean A Smelly Gym Bag?

For smelly gym bags, there are some products that remove the smell from the bag. I use baking soda and white vinegar. You can sprinkle the baking soda on the smelly parts or spray the vinegar on these parts. Then keep these products sitting in these areas. These will not only absorb bad odor but also give a pleasant and fresh smell. 

How Do You Clean A Sweaty Bag?

I clean sweaty bags using both hand and machine washing methods. However, I prefer to use the machine washing method as it requires less effort but gives better results. 

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