How To Wash Your Fitness Gear The Right Way

We power through our workout wardrobes just like we power through our favorite weekly workouts, and afterwards, our washers step in to take care of the other heavy lifting. With tips from our favorite workout clothing brands, our workout clothing are super simple to wash, wear and ready for your next workout.

But what about your other hard-working equipment that isn’t so washer-friendly? Chances are, we aren’t wiping down our equipment as often as we’re tossing our leggings and sports bras into the washing machine. Our bigger equipment gets just as much (if not more!) wear, so it’s important to stay on top of their cleaning regimen.  Here’s everything you need to know to keep those washer-unfriendly pieces clean and ready to go without the headache!

Boxing gloves

Our boxing gloves get about as much wear and tear as our shoes, so a proper care routine is key, especially given their lack of breathability. The design of gloves make it very easy for bacteria to hide and cause less-than-pleasant odors, so it’s important to ensure your gloves are clean and the structure kept intact:

One of the easiest ways to sanitize your gloves is to make a simple saltwater solution and soak them in it for at least eight hours. Make sure the material of your gloves are saltwater-friendly beforehand.

Once the gloves have soaked, make sure they’re aired out and dried properly. To do this, open the glove as much as you can and stuff it gently with a cedar block, which helps draw bacteria out of the gloves and dry them.

Yoga mats

If power or heated yoga is your jam—or outdoor workouts are a regular thing—make sure you’re not only cleaning off the dirt and visible sweat stains off your mat, but also sanitize them. Essential oils are often recommended. While they’ll add a boost of freshness, they won’t completely sanitize mat. Instead, try this:

One of the safest ways to sanitize it is to make a half and half solution from water and vinegar, which will clean rubber and help restore its original color. If you’re able, let it soak in a bathtub for a couple hours.

Once soaked, hang it or keep it rolled out to dry for at least eight hours. Add in a spritz of your favorite essential oil if you’d like, but check the label of the mat beforehand to make sure the material can handle it.


It goes without saying that our shoes take a serious beating when it comes to our workouts, so it’s even more important to not only care for them properly, but also swap them out regularly to prevent injuries. Shoes are made from so many different types of material, so it’s important to read up on the care instructions on the box before you opt for one of the following cleaning methods. Some shoes may be machine washable, and others may require a little bit of extra care.

If your shoes are machine washable, protect their shape by washing them in a laundry bag, in cold water, on delicate/hand wash. Our shoes protect our bodies from injury, so making sure you add a little more TLC into their cleaning regimen will ensure that they stay strong for you.

Once washed, place your shoes in a warm and well-ventilated place to dry. For extra sanitation, opt for a cedar block or shoe tree, which will help pull out bacteria from the fabric, helping with tougher odors.

Gym bags

We’re all on the go these days, so our gym bags take on the big task of keeping all our stuff organized. That said, even if we wash our clothes and shoes, it won’t do much if our gym bags are left sweaty and dusty. If yours isn’t as fresh as it used to be, don’t worry, all is not lost! Depending on the material of your bag, try one of the following methods:

Check your care label first before tackling any sort of cleaning method. For more delicate fabrics like nylon, it’s important to preserve the bag before you start using it. Start by prepping the outside with a protective spray like Scotchgard. This will help your bag stay brighter and cleaner on the outside, and also help protect it from moisture on the inside.

If your bag is machine-washable, wash it on a cold delicate cycle. If it’s a more delicate fabric, try wrapping it in a sheet or pillowcase before tossing into the washing machine for an added level of protection. Finding a sport-specific detergent will also help get rid of sweat and hard-to-remove stains, while still being friendly to more technical fabrics. 

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Mandy Gragg is a New York City-based certified personal trainer/group fitness instructor and an active fashion and beauty blogger.