The 8 Best Gym Bag Deodorisers

Written by Milly Jackson
Reviewed by Erica Lee, RN
featured photo for article on gym bag deodorizers

When you’re working out, you’re probably not thinking about your gym bag. That’s probably the last thing on your mind. But just like an amazing shower after a good workout, your gym bag could also use some of that freshness – with a dash of scent, too!

You’ve probably tried different store-bought solutions and spent a fortune on finding the perfect scent, but failed to find one. So, when it comes to choosing the best gym bag deodoriser, you might just want to DIY instead. In this article, we’ll give you a mix of DIY and ready-made solutions to freshen up your gym bag.

How To Keep Your Gym Bag Smelling Fresh All The Time

No matter what type of bag you bring to the gym – a duffel, a backpack, a shoulder bag, or your comfy drawstring bag – it’s important to keep it smelling good. You may think it’s not possible because you sweat buckets at the gym, and well, sweat isn’t exactly perfumy. So, let’s get to it and make your gym bag smell as sweet as roses – or a scent that you prefer!

Here are 8 practical tips to get rid of the funk and keep your gym bag smelling fresh:

1.   Bring a wet bag or a laundry bag

woman exercising at the gym

It’s unavoidable – you’re going to sweat when you exercise. If your gym bag lacks huge pockets for you to put your sweaty stuff in, then I suggest you bring along a wet bag or a laundry bag. A wet bag is ideal since these are usually leak-resistant and can better lock the odours in. But if you have none, a simple laundry bag will do. Either way, there needs to be a physical barrier between your wet and dry stuff. This can help prevent various odours from stinking up your gym bag.

2.    Wrap your shoes in its own bag or plastic

I don’t know about you, but I’m not comfortable putting my shoes inside any bag without putting it in its own bag. Your sneakers can easily pick up dirt from anything it gets in contact with. The gym floor may look spotless, but trust me, dirt, sweat, and germs are on every surface. Shoe bags will not only protect your shoes, but it will also protect your gym bag and everything inside it.

3.   Insert flower sachets in your bag

These may be a bit old fashioned, but it still works like magic in this day and age! It’s also very easy to make. Here’s what you’ll need to make flower sachets:

  • Handkerchief or any fabric sachet
  • Rubber band or ribbon
  • Dried flowers or herbs of your choice (we recommend lavender, rose petals, rosemary, lemon balm, and geranium)

Now that you’ve got the ingredients, just tuck your chosen dried flowers and herbs into the handkerchief or sachet, then close it with a rubber band or ribbon. Put a couple of sachets into the gym bag to let it do its fragrant magic. And if these DIY flower sachets ever get wet, just replace the herbs with new, dried ones!

4.   Put an odour absorber in your shoes and gym bag

There are many options out there for neutralising foul odours. One of the best is probably activated charcoal. For convenience, choose a product that comes with its own bag. Otherwise, you can use the same technique in making flower sachets. Just put the activated charcoal in sachets and tuck one in each shoe, and maybe a couple in your gym bag.

woman with gym bag backpack

Unused tea bags are also fantastic absorbers of both moisture and odour, so it’s essentially hitting two birds with one stone. If you’re wondering which tea brand is best, any will do (even the fruity ones). Replace the tea bags every few days – or once you notice your shoes and/or gym bag starting to stink up.

5.   Make your own deodoriser spray

You’ll find plenty of fragrant sprays for sale down at the supermarket, but if none of them is to your liking, you can easily make your own. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A spray bottle
  • ½ cup white distilled vinegar
  • ½ cup distilled water
  • ¼ cup liquid fabric softener of your choice

Just pour the vinegar, water, and fabric softener into the spray bottle. Give it a good shake before use. Then spray on your sweaty clothes and, of course, your bag (because who doesn’t love the smell of fresh laundry?).

6.   Wipe your bag regularly

Depending on how often you use your gym bag and how dirty it gets, it may not be necessary to wipe it down daily. But regular cleaning – wiping and washing – is a must. There may be some spills from your lotion, shampoo, or maybe even some crumbs in there. For dirt that can’t be wiped down, use a lint roller especially around the corners and seams of your bag. You may be surprised by what you see sticking to the roller!

7.   Turn the bag inside out to let it breathe

woman carrying a bag

Letting all the nasty smells collect inside your gym bag is a recipe for disaster. Depending on how stinky it is, airing it out may not be enough. So, turn your bag inside out and let the inside get some fresh air. As much as possible, do this after every use of your gym bag.

8.   Keep your gym bag as organised as possible

Choose a bag with multiple compartments so organisation is much easier. Wrap your shoes. Bring a wet bag for the wet stuff. Anything that can potentially spill or get squeezed – lotion, shampoo, etc. – should be wrapped separately as well. This is one way you can keep your gym bag clean.


The gym is one place where like-minded folks go to boost their immunity by becoming more healthy and physically fit. But don’t get complacent. The gym is also a place that’s teeming with germs and bacteria from people touching and sweating all over the place. It’s therefore important to be proactive with cleanliness – your gym bag is a very good start. That being said, if you’ve got more gym bag deodoriser tips, do let us know in the comments below!