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What you carry in your gym bag may be a breeding ground for germs. Women pack all the necessities needed, such as pre-workout snacks, water bottles, sports bras, sneakers, flip flops, towels and clothes in their gym bag. However, mixing all these items in a stuffy bag (especially the sweaty clothes) can be bad news for you and your gym bag essentials. To avoid gym bag hygiene hazards, such as excessive germs, mold and bacteria, follow these steps to assure your bag stays clean. (photo credit here)

Forgetting about your wet stuff: Even if your gym bag has a separate storage compartment for sweaty clothes, don’t forget about them when you get home.  Mold and mildew love dark, moist places, so be sure to get those wet workout clothes, socks and towels out of your bag ASAP. Wipe the bag  down with a disinfectant wipe, and leave the compartments unzipped and the bag outside in the fresh air to dry. (photo credit here)

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Leaving used gear in your bag: Yoga mats, sneakers and armbands also get sweaty, so allow them to air out as well. Unroll your yoga mat and leave it hanging over a door or banister, leave your sneaks out in the sun, and spread out your armband on a table. You’ll be more than ecstatic  to slip on dry, stink-free gear the next time you work out. (photo credit here)

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Don’t leave  food or wrappers in your bag: Before or after a workout it is beneficial to fuel your body with fresh snacks, such as cheese sticks or fresh fruit, but make sure you remove the wrappers or fruit cores to prevent germs from making a home in your gym bag. (photo credit here)

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Yoga mat:  You sweat your way through hot yoga in soaring temperatures, then roll up your wet mat, carry it home, and forget about it until next week’s class. Huge mistake! Always wipe your mat down with a Lysol Wipe give it a good cleaning once a week. (photo credit here)

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Flip-flops: You wear them in the shower, sauna, and locker room—all places that are a breeding ground for fungi and bacteria. Put them in a plastic bag before popping them in your gym bag. (That goes for your sneakers, too.) When you get home, spray them with Lysol and let them dry completely. Be sure to let your sneakers air out as well. (photo credit here)

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Lastly, the most important tip to avoid gym bag hygiene hazards is to never put your bag on the bathroom floor of the gym!