Like most of you, I hate to clean. But, also like most of you, I like stuff to be clean…especially my gym stuff which is probably filthier than my kids hands at the end of a camp day. Unlike a lot of things in my life, I don’t go overboard with cleanliness and really more appreciate an overall appearance of clean rather than actual deep clean.
Spring is the perfect time to review how and why we need to clean this stuff, so let’s do this!
Clothing and Sports Bras:
If you’re anything like me, you just toss it all in, add detergent and hope for the best. Honestly, I do not use a separate laundry bag for my sports bras or special detergent for the extra stank on my tops and shorts, and everything seems to come out just fine. However, if you want to be an overachiever:
- Prior to washing, soak gym clothes in one cup of white vinegar and some cold water
- Use a laundry bag for sports bras and make sure you toss them after one year of use
- Never use a fabric softener as it creates a coating on the clothing which may actually lock in odors you’re trying to get rid of.
I usually only really clean mine after a muddy spring run so obviously, I just had to do this! I’m sure if I cleaned them more often they wouldn’t smell as badly either…
- Wash shoelaces in the washing machine or just rinse with soap and water and let air dry
- You can scrub the soles of the shoes with an old toothbrush, using a mixture of baking soda and laundry detergent
- Sprinkle baking soda on the inner sole to get the funk out
- Do not, I repeat, do not but running shoes in the dryer! If you do, you may need to purchase a new dryer just to get rid of baked in sweat smell. You have been warned.
Heart Rate Monitor
Few things I own are as disgusting as my heart rate monitor strap. I use it almost everyday and it’s cold enough to put it on a very delicate place on my body, soaking it with water, prior to a workout. The problem is, when I wash it, it never seems to fully dry and thus even colder and wetter when I go to put it back on. It’s truly disgusting and I obviously need a watch with heart rate built in.
- Remove the heart rate monitor by unsnapping or unclipping it. I don’t have to tell you how important this step is, right?
- Rinse with soap and water and maybe some laundry detergent.
- Hang to dry or sometimes (like once a month) put in the dryer on delicate for 7 minutes. Don’t ask me why but this seems to be the magic number for it to fully dry overnight.
Don’t forget to wash these! I know that I will sometimes go to put my sunglasses on for a bike ride and I can barely see! Now, after my last ride or run of the week, I wash them.
- Run under cold water to get rid of any debris that could scratch the lenses
- Wipe dry with the either the cloth they came with or a very clean and soft towel
- Store them in a case
[Tweet “Everything #runners and #triathletes need to know about spring #cleaning all your #gear! #train4life”]
If you were once a runner who then decided, like I did, to explore the world of triathlon, you may be overwhelmed by all the gear! One day you only need a decent pair of running shoes, some music and your Garmin and the next you need 1,452 pieces of equipment for a brick workout. It’s a rude awakening.
I didn’t think I needed to clean mine either. It was just in water, which means it’s already clean, right? Wrong.
- Rinse off with fresh water after each use. Yep, each and every use even if you would never think about swimming in the ocean.
- Soak in a mix of fresh water and baking soda for 15 minutes
- Hang inside out, folded on a hanger and not by the shoulders. Hanging a wet suit by the shoulders may cause it to stretch out and that is the opposite of what you want!
Don’t you hate it when your cap sticks together? Just peeling the plastic pieces apart makes it seem super gross. Here’s some tricks to avoid it:
- After your swim, rinse yourself off in the shower with your suit and swim cap on
- Towel dry the cap or hang it up to dry
- Put baby powder inside the dry cap to keep it from sticking
A well used gym bag can come to resemble the inside of a family minivan. In a word – gross. I know I have crumbs and dirt and all other kinds of debris on the bottom of my bag and I really don’t want to think about how or why it all got there. I do enjoy cleaning out my bag about once every three months, just to see how many errant safety pins from race bibs have collected in the pockets. Last count – 8.
Here are some organizational tips:
- Use ALL the pockets! Group like things together:
- Glides, lip balm, aquaphor
- Music, headphones, chargers
- Bands, wraps, clip-on timers
- Have one separate smaller bag inside with extras: sports bra, socks, hair ties (for those of you with hair), tampons (sorry guys but we need them), hair bands and maybe even a pair of shorts or a watch that just has a timer. You never know what you’re going to forget! I also keep an extra pair of running shoes and a towel in my car at all times.
- Put things in the same place all the time so you can quickly find them.
I will leave you with my Pinterest board VITA TRIS for a great reference list of most of the stuff I talked about:
Follow VITA Train for Life’s board VITA TRI(S) on Pinterest.
How often do you clean your gear?
What is the one thing you should clean but never do?
I am woman enough to admit (although perhaps in reflection I should’ve posted this as anonymous :-)) I did yoga for AGES before I realized I really dated care of my mat more than a cursory wipe down.
Now you have me thinking I should wash MY sunglasses…
UGH – totally forgot about the yoga mat…probably because I also totally forgot about cleaning mine too!
You cannot imagine how great the world will look through perfectly clean sunglasses 🙂
I’m with Carla – I can’t remember the last time I washed my yoga mat. Mental note – do this now! I usually dump all of my workout clothes in the washer with everything else. I have found that some extra stinky things (not mine of course) require a soaking in oxyclean before washing. Stink be gone!
Oxyclean soak is also an excellent idea!! And, of course that foul stench could never come from you 🙂
I think it’s so crazy how entirely gross a gym bag can get!! I mean, when I clean that sucker out it is a bit of a disaster area!! So much random stuff like receipts and coins and wrappers–no Bueno lol. Thank you for sharing these tips here because I’m definitely due for a spring cleaning.
No bueno is right! Sometimes I haven’t a clue how some of it even got in there?? Clean it out mama 🙂
I’m in the camp of no fabric softener. Why do people think they need this product? All those kids I see in my clinic with eczema? I just throw a cup of vinegar in my rinse cycle for my sheets and towels. I don’t do it with my clothes but I bet it would freshen up my running stuff nicely.
I don’t clean my running shoes–they get so many miles on them that they don’t have time to get really dirty!
I didn’t think about the link to eczema! And vinegar is like a complete stink/germ remover for almost anything – even the Keurig 🙂
I hear you on the running shoes but mine were ridiculously muddy after a trail run and then I was running inside on my treadmill so…
Great list!! I have to add that I clean my earphones daily with some sort of wet wipe – I don’t know if you mentioned that but my earphones get sweaty every time I do anything and require a cleaning. My husband could care less, but I’m super picky about having clean ears. This includes my earplugs for swimming- I always clean those suckers! And cycling shoes.. Yup talk about funky!
Oh my gosh – earphones – YES! I never clean mine and that is just gross. Luckily I don’t need (or use) earplugs for swimming but thanks for the reminder!
Oh, my sports bras get pretty foul. Just yesterday I peeled off my wet clothes and just tossed my sports bra into the trash. Sometimes they’re just TOO gross. I have tiny boobies so I don’t have to invest in expensive bras so it’s not a huge deal to replace one or two once in a while!
Hahaha – I have totally done that too – with all different pieces of clothing! And ditto on the small boobs – I could probably go in a cami and be fine.
First I want to say that if I didn’t read blogs, I would be running in cotton, with my oldest sports bra!
I have been putting softer with my running clothes, thinking that they stink and hoping the softer will help. But I started noticing that they are developing a perfumy weird smell. I’m going home and washing all my clothes with Vinegar.
The one thing I don’t clean, but really think I should, is my GPS Watch band, and wipe the back of it. I should probably toss my gym bag in the wash, it’s been a while since it went for a spin inside the washer.
I hear you!! Luckily I can wear my GPS watch in the shower and pool so it gets wet A LOT! Happy cleaning 🙂
I never clean my earphones!
Great tips and just the reminder I needed! now can’t remember the last time I cleaned my Pilates mat or my sunglasses. I feel super grody now just thinking about it. Sometimes I’ve even just replaced a mat when I find a new one on sale because they just get so gross after a few years.
I don’t use my yoga mat that much so that’s my excuse! I also get a new one every few years…which makes no sense because I rarely use it 🙂
I’m with you lady, my heart rate monitor strap is not the cleanest! I totally don’t wash it as much as I should… Like you said, it takes forever to dry!
At least “they” have invented a HR in the strap of some GPS watches but, until I get one, that does not help me! 🙂
I admit, I HATE cleaning! I do use a special detergent that’s supposed to get out the stink and amazingly, does a pretty good job, even on the gross sports bras (which by the way, I need to replace!!). And I cannot remember when the last time I washed my yoga mat too!
I’m surprised! I used that WIN detergent as part of a campaign and I ended up not posting about it because I noticed zero difference! You will have to tell me which one you use!
I love your post! I am a person who cleans everything, (my friends call me Monica Geller :D) and even I don’t wash sunglasses and heart rate monitor much!
Thank you! So glad you were able to get something out of it 🙂