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How to Keep Your Home Gym From Smelling (Tips & Tricks)

Christiana Mikesch
Published by Christiana Mikesch | Senior Coach
Last updated: September 25, 2023

Exercising at home is sometimes better than going to a fitness center.

But if you don't have a dedicated location for a home gym, chances are you're doing it in your living room or bedroom, which may begin to smell.

How can you keep your home gym from smelling?

As a fitness trainer, I've had to deal with this issue. To help my clients, I researched extensively to learn how to freshen the air around the home gym and keep the foul smell away.

Quick Summary

  • You keep your gym from smelling by maintaining the room and equipment clean, washing your gym clothes, using an air purifier, installing air conditioning units, and eliminating the humidity.
  • A couple of things can cause a home gym smell, including not letting gym equipment dry, not sterilizing the equipment, and not cleaning the workout space.
  • To prevent the room from smelling, you should first make it suited for exercising by installing ventilation systems and sealing the place to avoid moisture and temperature management.

What Causes That Home Gym Smell?

how to keep home gym from smelling

Home gym smell may be caused by not cleaning the room and equipment often enough or using the wrong cleaning chemicals or detergents.

Avoiding odors in the initial place is more beneficial than attempting to eliminate them afterward.

Home gyms smell for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Using the incorrect cleaning chemicals or detergent
  • Not sterilizing equipment regularly
  • After usage, the equipment is not properly dried
  • There is insufficient ventilation
  • Storage containers are not being cleaned regularly

There are a couple of other things to consider, but among the most essential is that most houses are not built to be utilized as gyms.

Ventilation, temperature management, and surrounding surfaces such as walls and furniture are not ideal for fluctuating moisture and temperature levels during a training session.

You should first focus on making the home gym more suited for exercising to prevent odors.

This may be a long process with an investment in ventilation, sealing surfaces to prevent moisture, and converting the facility into an actual "gym."

Simple Tips for a Fresh-Smelling Gym

Woman cleaning barbell

Before quitting your home exercise, read these helpful tips on keeping your home gym from stinking.

1. Always Keep Your Gym Equipment Clean

Your home gym is a wonderful location to stay in shape but also a breeding place for bacteria.

As a result, regularly cleaning your home gym equipment is critical to maintaining it hygienic and bacteria-free.

2. Air the Gym Mats Before Using Them

Gym mat on the grass

All rubber items smell, and you can only air them for several days until they are fully off-gassed.

According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Health Plan Management Solution (HPMS), putting the mats out in the sun as well as rotating them at periodic intervals might speed up the off-gassing process, which helps remove Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from rubber.

It also proposes cleaning them with a water-and-vinegar solution and using peppermint oil, among other things [1].

You must also subject them to direct sun for a few hours. If you're using horse stall mats, you should hose them daily since they have a stronger, more unpleasant stench than Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) mats.

3. Clean the Floor of Your Home Gym Regularly

The home gym floor is the next thing that absorbs most of your sweat. It is also difficult to clean.

Scrub away the sticky residues, vacuum the whole floor, including the spaces between the mats, and then thoroughly wash it, ensuring no water seeps through the openings or the covering of the mats.

If water gets to the plywood and the carpet under the mats, molds can grow all over, damaging the carpet and making your gym smell [2].

4. Never Leave Your Exercise Clothes at the Gym

Pile of dirty gym clothes

If you've ever been to a fitness center, you've probably seen individuals who wear the same dirty gym clothes for over a week.

Always wear clean workout clothing and discard your worn workout clothes inside your laundry basket when you're done.

Maintain various sets so you are never in the same clothes or without anything new.

5. Open All Windows and Doors

This will provide natural airflow, replenishing the home gym air faster than any equipment.

A window and some openings may significantly enhance indoor air quality.

"Simply open the windows and experience a breeze through your sitting room. It may appear apparent, but it will remove a lot of residual bad smells."

- Marilee Nelson, Co-Founder at Branch Basics

6. Install or Use Air Conditioning Units

Woman holding an aircon remote

Air conditioning has two purposes: it reduces humidity and temperature levels, providing comfort.

Lowering humidity also aids in the prevention of odors and mold growth [2].

Operating an air conditioning unit may keep the home gym smelling fresh for a long time.

The sole limitation is that residential air conditioners do not filter the air but can filter larger dust particles.

They are ineffective against tiny particles and hazardous gasses and cannot penetrate weak spores.

Connecting a home gym to a Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system with greater power and more efficient filters performs significantly better, albeit at a higher cost, than having window units.

7. Eliminate Humidity

If you reside in a warm and humid region, use a dehumidifier to keep your gym at home from smelling.

If you have the funds, you should instead get a portable AC (air conditioning) unit, which will assist you in lowering the heat of the gym.

If you reside in a humid area, avoid swamp coolers since they do not assist with humidity. AC units are preferable, but a floor fan will suffice if you don't want to spend much on electricity.

Robert Pustowar of Home Athlete Zone also recommends fans, as they create air circulation, affecting water vapor in the air.

It can also exhaust humidity near moisture sources or cross-ventilate the room by placing fans on opposite sides. Combining fans with other methods can further control humidity levels.

8. Wash Your Towels

Dirty towels in a washing machine

Regularly washing your gym towels keeps them clean and minimizes bacteria buildup.

It is also critical to launder your exercise towels to eliminate sweat and bacteria after each use.

If you do not have adequate time to clean your towel before each use, rinse it with hot water to prevent sweat or body oils from being drawn back into your skin and causing body odor and discomfort.

9. Use Organic Air Fresheners To Get Your Home Gym Smelling Fresh

Your gym may smell mildly even after performing everything we've discussed above.

As a result, many individuals utilize fragrance oils, scented candles, and other products to cover the stink.

Instead, we prefer organic air fresheners. On the side of your home gym, add a container of coffee grinds, baking soda, or a scented house plant.


How Can I Exercise in My Room Without It Smelling?

You can exercise in your room without it smelling by ensuring that after every workout, you clean the room and the equipment, humidify and let fresh air inside the room.

How Do I Freshen the Air in My Home Gym?

You freshen the air in your home gym by opening the doors and windows, installing an air conditioning unit, or using commercial-grade air purifiers.

What Causes Gym Smell?

What causes gym smell are body oils, bacteria, and sweat which build up in the synthetic fabrics, thus causing a literal stink.

Keeping Your Home Gym From Smelling

If your home gym continues to smell, contact a professional. Do not continue working out in a moldy, smelly environment since poor air quality might cause respiratory difficulties.

To avoid these problems, I recommend investing in some gym equipment, such as our recommended best exercise mats for home workouts, that absorb sweat and are easy to wash and maintain.

They are high-quality, durable, and do not use any toxic material, thus reducing skin reactions.


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