How to Clean a Lacrosse Bag? Tips and Tricks

The lacrosse is a high-performance sport. In 60 minutes, the exhausted players come out drenched in sweat and dirt. Hence, you can only expect some sweaty gear that will go into the lacrosse bag and stay there for a while. Now, unless the player knows how to clean his lacrosse bag thoroughly, with time, this too will start to stink. 

So, how do you clean your lacrosse bag to get rid of bacteria build-up? Here are some tips and tricks to get you started. 

How Do You Clean a Smelly Lacrosse Bag?

Now, a lacrosse bag often carries wet and dirty gear. The gloves, jerseys, and heavy pads full of mud and soaked in sweat are the perfect breeding ground for dangerous bacteria. With time, you will notice a build-up of the “lacrosse gear funk.” This term backs the fact that the lacrosse is one of the games whose equipment is toughest to clean.

Hence, each player should wash his bag, alongside the rest of his gear after every practice or game. 

So, what is the best technique to clean a smelly lacrosse bag? Here is a quick guide: -

Start by assessing the extent of dirt and foul smell in your lacrosse bag. Here, we are aiming at a clean, fresh, and odorless bag. Then, pick any of the following techniques that are applicable to your routine: -

  1. Using Disinfectant Wipes

Are you in a hurry? Or, is your bag fresh from the cleaner but still has a stinky smell? Then, opt for disinfectant wipes or a sanitizing spray. These wipes will sanitize your bag, preventing bacteria and fungus from growing on it. 

Use them to wipe your bag’s inner and outer sections after you empty your gear too. Then, air-dry your bag. Always have these wipes in your car or your locker. That way, you can use them for that quick fix. 

  1. Hand Washing

The best way to wash a lacrosse bag is by hand washing. It is safe for a bag consisting of multi-fabrics. Plus, you get to focus on the troublesome sections of your bag.  Hence, if your lacrosse bag is quite dirty and smelly, then gather the following washing items for a deep clean: -

  • A damp cloth for leather lacrosse bags

  • A hand held vacuum cleaner 

  • A soft brush

  • A soft sponge

  • Detergent with a PH of less than 10

  • An absorbent cloth or towel

  • An odor-eliminating spray

Start by removing any dirt or debris inside the bag. For those hard to reach crumbs, use a handheld vacuum cleaner to suck them out. Use a soft brush to remove any dry dirt sticking on the fabric.

Dip the damp cloth in the dilute detergent. Then use it to wipe a section of the bag. Observe how the fabric reacts to the soap.  Now, use the right amount of soapy water on the rest of the bag. Repeat the wipes until you get rid of all visible dirt.

Next, now use the soft sponge to wipe the bag with clean water. This rinse gets rid of the soap residues. Use the sponge in circular motions to penetrate all the hard to reach areas.  Now, use an odor-eliminating spray to get rid of the bad smell. Pay extra attention to the bottom panel which harbors most of the bad smell. 

Air-dry the bag in under a shade. Or, use backpack hangs to air dry it indoors. But, if you need to use the bag right away, use a blow dryer in a low setting. Also ensure you hold the dryer at a safe distance from the pack.

Once the bag is dry, check for any damage, loose threads, holes, or tears and get them fixed.  Then, return the detachable pockets and pads before using the bag. 

How Do You Clean a Smelly Lacrosse Bag
  1. Throw It in The Washer

Whereas it is not the best choice, there are instances when you may need to use the washing machine to clean your lacrosse bag. For example, when you still notice a foul smell of dirt on the bag after a spot cleaning session. 

We will discuss machine washing in detail shortly. Meanwhile, you must be extra careful when cleaning your lacrosse bag using the washing machine. Avoid warm water that tends to shrink and disfigure the bag. Instead, go for cold water on a delicate cycle. Still, to get rid of the bad smell, add some white vinegar to the active detergent. Then, air-dry the bag. 

Prevention Matters

Finally, the best way to keep your lacrosse bag smelling fresh is by preventing the bacterial buildup in the first place. To do this, never leave your bag on the floor. Instead, keep it hanged before and after practice. 

Secondly, always wipe or spray your soiled gear with a disinfectant before you put it into your bag. In addition, separate the stinky shoes and other wet clothing by placing them in a plastic bag first. Or, lay some dryer sheets along the walls of your bag before you place the dirty items. 

Third, opt for a well-aerated bag that minimizes the growth of molds due to damp clothing.


Further Tips

  • Always refer to the cleaning instructions as per the manufacturers’ recommendations.
  • Any dishwashing soap is mild enough to use on a lacrosse bag. Or, pick a sports detergent like Sport Suds or Hex. 
  • Opt for safe products and techniques when cleaning your lacrosse bag. Keep off products that contain chlorine, ammonia, or any artificial fragrances.
  • Spray your lacrosse bag with an effective sports cleaning spray before you store it. Then, store the bag at a well-ventilated area so that it can continue to dry. 
  • Scent the bag once it is dry. Opt for products that use eucalyptus, lavender, almond, peppermint, or tea tree scents. 
  • Toss some tea bags into your bag to kill germs and get rid of pungent smell right away. 
Can I Wash My Lacrosse Bag in the Washing Machine

Can I Wash My Lacrosse Bag in the Washing Machine?

It is not advisable to wash a lacrosse bag in a washing machine. Think about it. A lacrosse bag has buttons, heavy-duty zippers, and fastenings that can damage your equipment. Plus, it consists of multi-fabrics, some of which are not machine washable. Hence, always hand-wash your lacrosse bag. Then, use a fabric freshener to neutralize the bad odors from the damp and dirty gear. Even so, stick to the seller’s advice for cleaning your lacrosse bag.  

That said, there is still a way to wash your lacrosse bag using a washing machine? However, be extra careful as you follow these steps: -

  • Empty your bag, including the side pockets. The bad should spin freely; otherwise, it can damage the machine. If your bag has a metal frame, you need to remove it as well. Also, ensure all the zips are open before putting the bag in the washing machine.
  • Wash any detachable pockets or straps separately. 
  • Turn the bag inside out to prevent the fastenings from snagging. This style will also keep your bag’s luster. Moreover, all the oils from your gear will now be exposed, hence easier to clean them.
  • Separate your lacrosse bag from other colored items.
  • Run the washing machine on an empty wash. This first step ensures you get rid of any soap residue from previous wash cycles. 
  • Set the machine on a gentle cycle. It helps keep the shape of the bag and cut any color bleeding.
  • Always use cold water to protect the unique fabric.
  • Measure and add the recommended active detergent amount to the machine.
  • To dry your bag, tumble-dry it on low heat. Or, allow your bag to air dry. For, nylon and polyester lacrosse bags dry fast. In contrast, machine dryers will reduce your bag’s life span. Still, if you are unsure, take your bag to the dry cleaner. 

Note that the washing machine's gentle settings will not get rid of stubborn stains. And, using a bleaching agent isn’t advisable when cleaning a lacrosse bag. Hence, pretreat any stains with your choice stain remover. Allow the stain remover to settle for about half an hour. Then, use a soft toothbrush to scrub away any stain residue. 

Avoid using a fabric softener on your lacrosse bag. It will interfere with your bag’s moisture-wicking abilities. If you must bleach your pack, keep off from chlorine-based bleaches. They tend to destroy your gear over time.

Further Tips

  • Never wash a leather lacrosse bag using a washing machine.
  • Insert your lacrosse bag in a laundry bag to prevent the straps from snagging on the machine. If you don’t have a laundry bag, use a pillowcase instead.
  • If you have any loose threads near the zippers, cut them off. Such threads can rip your bag as it turns in the washing machine. 
How Often Do You Wash Your Gym Bag

How Often Do You Wash Your Gym Bag?

As a rule of thumb, you should wash your gym bag immediately after every game or practice. This way, there will be no time for bacteria to build up and cause your bag to stink. But, if you use your gym bag daily, ensure you wash it at least twice a week.  Then, always deep-clean your kit at least twice per season. Be cautious with the parts that are too sensitive to such a wash. Then, allow the bag at least two or three days to dry.


As you strive to keep your lacrosse equipment clean and in tip-top shape, remember to care for your lacrosse bag too. Each player must have a regular cleaning routine. It is the only way to avoid those embarrassing smelly moments after a practice session. Then, use this guide for a cleaning routine that fits your schedule.