How to Avoid a Smelly Soccer Backpack


Every soccerista’s favorite accessory? Her backpack of course. You use your backpack on the daily, toting gear, snacks, fresh clothes, and anything else you might need to and from practice and games.

But between damp gear, leftover snacks, and otherwise dark and musty conditions it’s easy for your trusted soccer bag to become a breeding ground for odor and bacteria that get you sick or even lead to more serious infections like staph.

No worries though, as we’ve got you covered with best practices on how to keep your backpack both smell and germ free.

Don’t Forget About Wet Items

All of us have done it. Post-practice you strip off your sweaty socks, shin guards, and cleats, only to throw them in your gym bag. And no shame, sweat is the sign of a good workout. But leaving damp items in your bag (especially after a rainy practice or game) can help bread germs, mold, and serious stank.

Before leaving the field or locker room, toss your wet sweaty clothes in a plastic bag to separate them from your dry items and then empty as soon as possible. For damp cleats, you can use these Stuffits drying-inserts made to combat odor and remove moisture in athletic shoes.

Remove Pre and Post-Workout Snacks

That apple you threw in your backpack as a tasty pre-practice snack, yeah not so delicious three days later. Fueling up before or after a workout is great, but don’t forget to empty out your bag of extra snacks or drinks after each use. A smooshed granola bar and bruised banana are the least of your worries, instead your gym bag will become a smelly hangout for bacteria.

Use Deodorizers

Avoid overpowering sprays and fresheners that just mask your soccer bag stench. Instead, use deodorizes that absorb and get rid of unpleasant smells. An easy hack is throwing a dryer sheet in your backpack, replacing once it’s no longer fresh. Or use specialty products like these Arm & Hammer Odor Busterz Balls and Mini Moso Natural Charcoal Air Purifying and Deodorizing Bags.

Wipe It Down

Whether you’re using plain old soap and warm water, disinfecting wipes, or the eco-friendly combination of tea tree and lavender oils, it’s important to wipe down your gym bag frequently to prevent germs and smells.

Air It Out

We know that a long practice or game can totally wipe you out, and the first thing you want to do is shower, kick back, and relax. But don’t leave your gym bag behind in your car or trunk, not only will your vehicle smell a little funky in the morning, but all the microbes in your bag will be left to fester. Air it out! Bring it inside (or leave it outside), unzip it, and let fresh air do its job.

Wash Frequently!

This shouldn’t be a surprise. The best way to make sure your gym bag stays sanitary and smell-free is to make sure it’s put through the wash every now and then. While not always practical with a packed soccer schedule, it is essential to keep your backpack clean and make sure you stay healthy.

Make sure to check if your backpack is machine washable, if not give it a good soak by hand. Feel free to add white vinegar or baking soda to truly to boost truly get rid of the funk. Don’t make the mistake of using extra detergent, as it only creates buildup and helps retain odor.


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