How to Keep Your Gym Bag from Smelling Terrible

If you're like most people, your gym bag probably doesn't smell too great. After all, it's full of sweaty clothes and sneakers that have been sitting in there for days (or weeks).

But just because your gym bag smells bad doesn't mean it has to stay that way. There are several things you can do to keep your gym bag smelling fresh and clean.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Empty your gym bag after every workout. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it's important to get into the habit of emptying your gym bag as soon as you get home from the gym. Otherwise, all of your sweaty clothes and gear will start to build up and the stink will be impossible to get rid of. Plus, giving your gym bag a chance to air out will help prevent mold and mildew from growing inside of it.
  2. Wash your gym bag regularly. Just like you should wash your workout clothes after each wear, you should also wash your gym bag on a regular basis. Washing kills bacteria and gets rid of any lingering smells. Most canvas and nylon bags can be machine washed on a gentle cycle, but be sure to read the care instructions first just to be safe. If your gym bag is made of delicate materials or if it has any special features (like metal hardware), hand washing might be the best option.
  3. Store your gym bag in a cool, dry place when you're not using it. When you're not using your gym bag, store it in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Both heat and sunlight can cause colors to fade and materials to break down over time. If possible, store your gym bag in a closet or drawer rather than leaving it out in the open where it can collect dust.
  4. Use odor-absorbing products inside your gym bag. There are a number of commercial products available that claim to absorb odors and keep things smelling fresh (like these activated charcoal bags from Amazon). You can also try DIY solutions like placing a dryer sheet or cotton ball soaked in vanilla extract inside your gym bag. These won't necessarily eliminate all odors, but they can help mask them until you have a chance to wash your bag.
  5. Don't forget about your sneakers! One often overlooked source of bad smells is dirty sneakers . Be sure to clean them after each wear using a combination of soap, water, and baking soda . Let them air dry completely before storing them back in your gym bag; otherwise , they could start to mildew.


No one likes carrying around a smelly gym bag—least of all the people who have to sit next to you on the bus or train! By following these simple tips, you can keep yours smelling fresh and clean all season long.

If your gym bag has seen its last days and is at no point of return, check out our list of the best gym bags for men and women by clicking or tapping below!