Can You Wash Gym Bags in the Washing Machine?



Can You Wash Gym Bags in the Washing Machine

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Yes, gym bags can be washed in the washing machine, but it depends on the material of the bag. If the bag is made of polyester, nylon, canvas, acrylic, linen, or cotton, it should be fine to wash in the machine.

Gym bags are an essential accessory for anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle. They accompany us to the gym, on hikes, and to various sports activities. Over time, gym bags can accumulate dirt, sweat, and odors. So, can you wash gym bags in the washing machine? The short answer is yes, but with some important considerations.

In this article, we will explore the dos and don’ts of washing gym bags, provide step-by-step instructions, and offer alternative washing methods. Let’s dive in!

Dos and Don’ts of Wash Gym Bags in the Washing Machine


  • Empty the bag completely before washing it: Make sure to remove all items from your gym bag, including any loose change, electronics, or gym accessories. Cleaning an empty bag ensures an even and thorough wash.
  • Check the washing label in the bag: Before tossing your gym bag into the washing machine, always check for a care label. The label should provide you with valuable information about how to properly care for the bag, including recommended washing instructions.
  • Wash the bag on a gentle cycle: Set your washing machine to a gentle or delicate cycle to minimize stress on the bag’s fabric and seams. Using cold water is ideal, as hot water may cause colors to fade or fabrics to shrink.
  • Use a mild detergent: Choose a mild, color-safe detergent to clean your gym bag. Avoid using bleach or fabric softener, as these can harm the fabric or cause colors to fade.
  • Protect zippers and buckles: To prevent zippers, buckles, and straps from getting tangled or snagged during the wash, place the gym bag inside a pillowcase or laundry bag.
  • Turn the bag inside out: Turning the bag inside out before washing will help ensure that the interior, where most of the sweat and odors accumulate, gets thoroughly cleaned.
  • Air dry the bag completely: After washing, hang your gym bag in a well-ventilated area to air dry. Avoid putting it in the dryer, as excessive heat can damage the bag’s fabric and shape.


  • Don’t overload the washing machine: Avoid washing your gym bag with a full load of laundry. Overloading the machine can prevent the bag from getting properly cleaned and can lead to excessive wear and tear.
  • Don’t use harsh cleaning agents: Steer clear of harsh chemicals, bleach, or abrasive cleaning agents when washing your gym bag. These can cause damage to the fabric and affect the bag’s longevity.
  • Don’t wash leather or suede bags: Gym bags made of leather or suede should never be machine-washed. Instead, these materials require specialized cleaning methods to maintain their appearance and integrity.
  • Don’t neglect the bag’s zippers: Before washing, ensure that all zippers are closed securely. This prevents the zippers from catching on other items in the washing machine or getting damaged during the wash.
  • Don’t skip the drying process: It’s essential to allow your gym bag to air dry completely before storing it. Avoid shortcuts like using a hairdryer or placing it in direct sunlight, as these methods can warp or damage the bag.

Steps To Wash Gym Bags In The Washing Machine:

Step 1

Preparation: Empty the contents of your gym bag, including any loose items or gym accessories. Check the bag’s care label for washing instructions.

Step 2

Protection: To protect zippers, buckles, and straps, place the gym bag inside a pillowcase or laundry bag.

Step 3

Turn Inside Out: Turn the gym bag inside out to expose the interior, where most odors and sweat tend to accumulate.

Step 4

Select the Right Cycle: Set your washing machine to a gentle or delicate cycle. Use cold water and a mild detergent.

Step 5

Start Washing: Start the washing machine and allow it to complete the cycle.

Step 6

Air Dry: After the wash, remove the gym bag from the machine and hang it in a well-ventilated area to air dry. Avoid using a dryer.

Step 7

Reassemble: Once the bag is completely dry, reassemble the contents and store it for future use.

Alternative Washing Methods For Gym Bags:

If you’re hesitant to use the washing machine or your gym bag’s care label recommends against it, here are alternative methods to keep your bag clean:

  • Hand Washing: Fill a basin with cold water and mild detergent. Submerge the bag and gently scrub it with a soft brush or cloth. Rinse thoroughly and air dry.
  • Spot Cleaning: For small stains or localized odors, use a damp cloth and mild soap to spot clean the affected areas. Be sure to rinse and air dry afterward.
  • Spray Cleaners: There are specialized fabric sprays available that can help eliminate odors and freshen up your gym bag without the need for washing.
  • Dryer Sheets: Placing a few dryer sheets inside your gym bag can help absorb odors and keep it smelling fresh.


Can I wash my gym bag with my workout clothes?

Answer: It’s generally okay to wash your gym bag with your workout clothes if they are made from similar materials and colors. However, it’s best to place the bag inside a pillowcase or laundry bag to protect it during the wash.

How often should I wash my gym bag?

Answer: The frequency of washing your gym bag depends on how often you use it and how much it’s exposed to sweat and dirt. As a general guideline, consider washing it every few weeks or when it starts to develop noticeable odors.

Can I use fabric softener to make my gym bag smell better?

Answer: It’s not recommended to use fabric softener on gym bags, as it can leave a residue that may trap odors over time. Stick to mild detergents and proper airing out for a fresh-smelling bag.

Can I machine wash a bag with leather accents?

Answer: Bags with leather or suede accents should not be machine-washed. Instead, clean them using specialized leather cleaning methods or consult the bag’s care label for specific instructions.

What if my gym bag has stains that won’t come out in the wash?

Answer: If stubborn stains persist after washing, consider using a stain remover specifically designed for the bag’s fabric type. Always test the product in an inconspicuous area first.

Final Words:

Keeping your gym bag clean is essential to maintain a fresh and hygienic workout experience. While you can wash gym bags in the washing machine, it’s crucial to follow the dos and don’ts, as well as the care instructions on the bag’s label. Proper care will help extend the life of your gym bag, keeping it ready for your next workout adventure. So, go ahead and give your gym bag a well-deserved refresh – your nose and fellow gym-goers will thank you!

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