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?