Silica Gel and the Sports Bag Smell

Submitted by Michael Tucker

You're at the gym and you've just had a pretty darn good workout. You added five pounds to your weight lifting routine, and did an extra ten minutes on the exercise bike. "Well done!" you think to yourself.

Then you take your wet, clammy workout clothes and jam them into your gym bag. You shower, throw your gym bag in the car, and head home.

"Say," you think to yourself, "what's that awful smell?"

Oh, ick, it's the gym bag! It smells like a locker room. And because you've been sitting right next to it, so do you.

How do you prevent this from happening again? Well, since you probably can't wash and dry your workout clothes right at your club, your best option is Silica gel.

When you work out, you sweat, and sweat has its own odor. But, a lot of the really foul smells that workout clothes and workout bags get are not just sweat. It is a combination of sweat plus bacteria: Little creatures that live on your skin and just about everywhere else. Some of these bacteria munch oils and chemicals that you excrete along with water when you perspire.

Unfortunately, when they eat, bacteria can produce all sorts of really unpleasant smells. That's why a locker room smells, well, like a locker room.

But, you can fight back. Bacteria can't grow without water. The less water that is in your gym bag the less stink.

This is where Silica Gel gets into the game. It's a "desiccant," a substance that sucks up water in its environment. In fact, it is one of the best desiccants ever discovered. That's why you find little packets of the stuff in shoeboxes and other purchases (sometimes even in food products). They help keep moisture at bay.

You can get Silica Gel Packets easily and cheaply from companies like A few dollars will get you a whole bunch of their Moisture Indicating 5 Gram Silica Gel Packets, perfect for your gym bag. Just give these "indicating" packets a glance and if they've turned green you know it is time to get new ones!

Once you've got your Silica Gel Packets, take your gym bag and drop a handful of them inside. They'll nestle down and start drying out the neighborhood. Bacteria just hate that sort of thing. If you've got a locker, you may also want to try taping a few packets on its walls. That will help keep your clothes stench-free there, too.

So, add Silica Gel to your workout routine. Of course it won't remove every odor. You'll still have to wash your clothes, but you'll find it cuts the problem down by quite a bit.

After all, you go to the gym to get fit… and attract others. Hard to do that when you smell like the inside man at the skunk works!