ALERT: Your gym bag is probably gross! Detox tips for your workout and gym bag.

cleaning fitness Mar 24, 2017



Earlier today, I dropped by the office of ELLE Magazine in NYC to discuss detox tips for your gym bag and workout. The Facebook Live video is below in case you missed it. You can also read the detox tips further down.



1. Detox Cleaning of Your Gym Bag

My friend, Jen, was stopped and frisked by airport security after the swab of the inside of her gym bag appeared to be toxic! Her airport experience got her wondering how gross the inside of her gym bag must be, after tossing dirty shoes and clothing in her bag most days of the week. 

  • For conventional gym bags made of synthetic fibers (like polyester or nylon), wipe the inside of the bag with a paper towel that has been wet with Castille soap, water, and an essential oil that helps clean and fight bacteria and other undesirable things. Great essential oils to help break down grime and fight bacteria and odors include melaleuca (tea tree) oil or lemon oil. 
  • Even better, use a cotton canvas bag that you can turn inside out. And toss in the washer/dryer.
    • You can also steam clean the canvas bag to disinfect and help deodorize.
  • Nontoxic deodorizing options:
    • Throw in tea bags after your workout to help absorb odors and discard in the morning;
    • Sprinkle the inside of your gym bag with baking soda to absorb odors (if you don't mind the white powder, which you can wipe clean after an overnight experience); 
    • Steam clean if the materials can withstand the heat; and
    • Spray the inside of your bag, shoes, and dirty clothes with a mix of water and 100% pure essential oil (melaleuca (or tea tree) oil or lemon oil) that is diluted in water to help fight odors and bacterial and microbial growth.


2. Detox Your Personal Care Products

Ingredients in personal care products can be toxic or pose health risks. Below are tips to help detox your personal care products.

  • Avoid "fragrance"
  • Avoid "parabens"
  • Avoid "triclosan," "triclocarban," or products that claim to be antibacterial and antimicrobial. 


3. Detox Your Snacks/Drinks

Avoid plastic water bottles and avoid food packaging materials. Instead, choose the following:

  • Stainless steel water bottles
  • For food packaging, bring your own snacks from home and use stainless steel food containers, parchment paper or paper bags, or organic cotton bags.


4. Detox Your Workout Clothes

Clothes can be treated with toxic chemicals. Hints that you might be at risk are if the clothes are treated to be antibacterial, antimicrobial, and resistant to stains and water. 

  • Avoid when possible.
  • When it's worth wearing, then wash them inside out before you wear them.


5. Detox Your Workout

There is growing evidence that electromagnetic fields from things like cell phones may increase your risk to several things, including cancer. To be safe:

  • Avoid wearing cell phones and other WiFI/Bluetooth enable devices on your body.
  • Instead, you can download your music, videos, or books before you hit the gym, and then play these things while your phone is on Airplane Mode.
  • Try to not wear these things on your body when you don't need them.



Abbreviated List of Sources: EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics DatabaseEWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning; "Are there toxins in your fast food packaging?" By DENNIS THOMPSON HEALTHDAY February 1, 2017, CBS News; "The Harmful Chemicals Hidden in Your Workout Clothes" Jessica Teas | Jul 21, 2015, SHAPE; and Environmental Health Trust.




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About Ruan Living

Ruan Living simplifies a nontoxic lifestyle through its Practical Nontoxic Living podcast, free detox workshops, online D-Tox Academy, and transformative 40-Day Home Detox. It aims to help you avoid toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from what you buy, own, and do— without compromising your joy and convenience. Ruan was founded by Sophia Ruan Gushée, author of the bestselling critically acclaimed book A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Your Toxic Exposures and several detox workbooks. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Business School, Sophia has served on the Brown University School of Public Health Advisory Council and Well+Good Council. A popular nontoxic living speaker, consultant, and teacher, Sophia lives in New York City with her husband and three daughters. Her passion for empowering others to enjoy nontoxic living began with the birth of her first daughter in 2007. Everything she creates is a love letter to her children and for the healthiest, brightest future possible. You can learn more here: Sophia’s Impact.


This article is for informational purposes only. This information is provided “as is” without warranty.

It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. We do not offer medical advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other opinion on your conditions or treatment options. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Ruan Living.

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