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If you carry a gym bag, you probably have a few essentials that you simply cannot train without.

In the past, we’ve stressed the importance of taking care of your gym bag. Mike Fox, professional equipment manager who has worked with high school, college and professional teams over the past 35 years, has a few tips to cleaning out your bag before filling it with these must-need items.

Where to begin? Fox suggests the following:

1. Empty everything out of your bag, shaking out any loose dirt and/or crumbs. Throw away any trash. Vacuum up any debris hiding in the seams or stitching.

2. If the bag is wet, towel-dry it first, then wipe it out with baby wipes and a solution of warm water and white vinegar.

3. If multitasking with the bag — such as working out, going to work and then going to play in your kickball league — pack plastic bags for all the dirty and wet clothes, which will protect the clean ones and the inside of your bag.

4. Air-dry your shoes often. Some shoe bags are rubberized, and they will hold moisture, which lends itself to bacteria growth.

5. Most bags have compartments, so try to use the same compartments for the same purpose each time. That way, you don’t lose your snacks in the bag, you keep your toiletries together and you minimize any liquid leaks.

6. Give your bag a good wipe down and time to air out at least once a week. You also can put in dryer sheets to kill the odors or use dry tea bags in your bag and shoes to kill odors overnight. Mix a spray bottle with water, white vinegar and an essential oil, like tea tree or lavender, spray the bag down and let it dry over night. This mix is also great for yoga mats.

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