How to Keep Your Mats and Training Gear Looking (and Smelling) Fresh

It’s no secret that there’s a certain smell that comes with a gym. People sweat from working hard, and odors tend to linger long after they have gone. This is especially troubling if you train at home, as there is no getting away from the distinct smell of hard work and exercise. Thankfully, there are ways to mitigate smells in your gym, no matter how bad they get. It all comes down to understanding how to eliminate, not just mask, odors as they come. Cleaning is a large part of the process, but there is so much more to the art and science of eliminating gym odors. 

Follow these best practices to keep your mats and training equipment looking and smelling fresh all year long. 

Use the Right Cleaners

Some cleaners clean. That’s all. They simply break down dirt, sweat, and all manner of grime, allowing you to easily wipe them away from the surface. While this goes a long way in keeping your martial arts mats and equipment clean, they do little in truly eliminating odors. These basic types of cleaners generally come with some type of scent or “freshening agent”, but all that means is it covers up the smell in your facility, not eliminates it. It’s akin to bathroom air fresheners. They may make it smell a little better, but they do not eliminate the source of the odor. What you get is a strange mixture of scents, which often results in a bad combination of old sweat, chemicals, and flowers. 

It’s not pretty. 

Which type of cleaner should you be using in your gym? It’s best to go for a mat and equipment cleaner/disinfectant. The keyword in this product is disinfectant. Odors are created by bacteria that gets trapped on the surface of your mats and training equipment. While standard cleaners are ideal for getting grime off of a surface, they do not kill odor-causing bacteria. That’s where a disinfectant comes into play. These types of cleaners not only break down dirt and grime, they actively kill bacteria, viruses (even COVID-19), and other nasty germs that are left behind by standard cleaners. 

Consider an Equipment Coating

One of the best ways to eliminate odors in your facility and on your training equipment is to prevent odor-causing bacteria from cultivating on the surface of your mats and equipment to begin with, no chemistry degree required. There are specialized products, known as mat and equipment coatings, that create a protective “shield” that actively destroys germs, bacteria, fungus, and other microorganisms. These products can be spread on top of your mats or sprayed directly onto equipment with ease. There are even laundry additives that can be used to both eliminate odors from your training apparel and make the fabric unfriendly for future odor-causing bacteria.  


Eliminate odors and keep your gear looking great 24/7/365. Shop for approved care and maintenance products at Zebra Athletics today!