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How to spring clean your gear

Are you cleaning your workout essentials the right way?

Spring is in the air, but so are germs, and bacteria, and mildew, and…you catch our drift. With your uptick in activity comes more sweat, more dirt, and greater need for frequent cleanings. “If your equipment is not kept clean it could reduce its comfort, performance and longevity,” says Chuck Blumenthal, CEO of Bean Products, a company that produces handcrafted cleaning products. Even if you’re regularly cleaning your gear—and you should be doing that—here’s a quick guide to making sure you're keeping your core equipment fresh the right way.

earbuds

Dip a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol and wipe it across the speakers of your earbuds. This works best for in-earbud such as Apple headphones, or any others that can gather wax as they nestle in your ear canal. The rubbing alcohol should take the wax right out, making your music instantly sound more clear. You only need to do this if you notice gunk buildup, or if the audio is noticeably quieter in one bud.

gym clothes

As most active people probably know, dealing with your workout clothes goes above and beyond any normal laundry routine. Air dry any sweaty fitness gear immediately, to prevent mold and mildew buildup; those germs will spread faster if the clothing is bunched up while covered in sweat, and they can often outlast any wash. The best preventative measure is to soak your tech gear in a 3-to-1 water-vinegar solution and then air dry, which will kill bacteria prior to washing.

shoe insoles

Soak your fitness shoe insoles in water and vinegar (2-to-1 ratio). Pat dry with a towel, and air dry in a sunlit place. Sprinkle baking soda (it's a good odor killer) on the insoles once they're dry, and let them sit overnight. In the morning, just shake them off and pop them back into your sneakers.

yoga mat

Get a cleansing spray, like Blissoma's, which uses five essential oils to disinfect and remove grime, dirt, and sweat from your mat. You can also buy a pack of wipes (Jo-Sha is a good option, which employ similar essential oils—options include lavender, tea tree, tangerine, eucalyptus, or peppermint) to disinfect your mat after each use. "The wipes can also be used to wipe down your hands and feet, before or after any workout, or any exercise equipment that is shared with other people," Blumenthal says.