The shortest and most blissful Canadian season has arrived, and with it comes your favourite summer sports. In many parts of Canada the summer also brings heat and humidity, ensuring that no matter what sport you play, you’ll be sweating up a storm in your gear. It’s important to make sure that your gear stays fresh all season long, especially in the heat. As the season goes on, if you don’t take steps to ensure that the moisture has a way to escape your gear, bacteria build-up will cause your items to smell, and can shorten the life of the equipment that you’ve spent your hard-earned money on.
Below, see our tips for making sure that smells and bacteria don’t follow you on to the playing field.
Air It Out
It sounds simple, but saying you’ll air out your bag and actually taking the time to do it are two different things – especially when you’re tired after your latest game or training session. Just like brushing your teeth, you should develop the routine of always taking each of the items out of your gym bag after every sweat session and letting them air dry. It’s important to keep them out of the enclosed, damp space that is your gym bag when they’re wet, as this is the favoured environment of bacteria to grow. If you keep your sweaty items packed away in your bag, it’s inevitable that they will start to stink. Remember that odor isn’t just an unpleasant smell – it’s also a sign of bacteria.
Use a Moisture-Absorbing Product in Your Bag
There are all kinds of options on the market for odor and moisture-absorbing packets and pouches for your gym bag. The beauty of these products is that you can simply toss them in and leave them there – although you should make note of how often the manufacturer says to replace them. There are also pouches available that you can use to put sweaty gear in after you’re done using it, and before you put it back in your gym bag, that helps to cut down on odor.
For a budget-friendly option, make sure you save those little silica packets that come with lots of different kinds of products when you purchase from a store or online. These packets are often sitting in shoe boxes, handbags and other items while they’re on display in a store or being shipped to your home, in order to ensure that moisture doesn’t damage the product. Your gym bag is the perfect place to keep these little guys, as they’ll help to absorb the moisture from your sweaty gear and keep it fresher for longer.
The list doesn’t stop there for moisture-absorbing products – online forums swear by a whole host of options for what to keep in your bag to soak up sweat and cut down on smells. Salt, baking soda, tea bags and even cat litter have been cited as doing wonders for odor and moisture absorption in gym bags. In all cases, you’ll want to keep these materials in a pouch or container and remove them before heading to the gym – no one needs kitty litter in their shoes when training is about to start. A few drops of an essential oil in a fresh scent (such as peppermint or lavender) in your shoes or at the bottom of your bag has also been cited as a way to keep odors at bay.
Keep Your Gear Out in the Open
If your home has the space for it, we also recommend finding a relatively airy spot to keep your gym bag once all of your items have air dried and it’s time for storage. If possible, try to keep your gym bag on an open-air shelf in your garage or mudroom, or even tucked away close to the door of your apartment. While it may seem like all of your gear is dry, there could be moisture hiding out in your items in between training sessions, and the last thing you want to do is stuff your bag away in a dark, damp environment that breeds bacteria.
Use Dryer Sheets in Your Shoes
This is an internet hack that’s been widely shared by athletes and trainers online, and seems to do the trick. Shoes are one of the top sources for odor in your gym bag, as you can’t help but have sweaty feet during and after a workout. Your feet are also enclosed in those shoes, and as much as producers have tried to create air vents and air flow in your modern trainers, all sports (including those with fancy ventilated shoes) create foot sweat, and it’s inevitable that odor will develop over time. To prolong freshness, it’s been recommended that you put a dryer sheet in each of your shoes after a game or workout. You’ll still need to air dry them, but the sheets will help give your gear a fresher smell.
Get Your Gear Professionally Cleaned
You’ve done everything above – air dried all your gear after every game, kept it in an open spot with good airflow, and even added products to your bag to keep moisture and smells at bay. In the end though, sweat is always going to win in the battle of keeping your gear fresh. This is why Love Your Gear recommends getting your items professionally cleaned at the beginning and end of every season. We handle every kind of sports equipment imaginable – from bags and shoes, to gloves and padding – and can give your gear the specialized cleaning it needs. Most importantly, our cleaning process eliminates bacteria, which eliminates odors from your gear.
Keep your training sessions and game days fresh by getting in touch with us.