August 8th, 2016

Control Your Child Athlete’s Stink With These 5 Tips

Control Your Child Athlete’s Stink With These 5 Tips

Do you support your kids’ athletic endeavors, but nearly pass out from the odor left behind in their shoes and clothing? Combat athlete stink with these tips.

“Mom, look!” My son proceeds to sprint down the trail, leap off a rock, over a log and—while I am busy admiring his coordinated speed through the forest—sink ankle deep into mud.

This is a common occurrence. My kids like to play hard, and most of them like to get dirty. As a family, we hike, ski, camp, mountain bike, and run. My kids are always on the move and, now that they are getting older, are usually pretty sweaty, too. All of this is compounded when we are away from home for multiple days and away from a washer and dryer.

The not-so-fun byproduct of this is the stink: Foul shoes, dirty socks, smelly shorts, and wet swimsuits run rampant when we travel. But that doesn’t mean that we hide from the public in order to hide our odor. I simply accept the fact that, if I am going to champion athletics and the outdoors, then dealing with dirty, sweaty bodies is just going to be a part of life. That said, there are plenty of ways to mitigate the “damage,” so it’s not quite so smelly.

1. Contain the smell.

Keep the stink out of your car or camper by containing the dirty clothes or shoes in bags. Opt for waterproof bags that you can seal shut, so neither odor nor moisture can get out. For dry gear, the Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport™ Laundry Stuffer features an easy, locking closure and an antimicrobial treatment on the fabric to help keep the smell at bay. For wet items, try the Pack-It Sport™ Wet Zip Pouch.

2. Wash properly.

Whenever possible, wash sweaty and dirty clothing with a high-performing detergent that's specifically formulated to remove odor, like Nikwax BaseWash, especially if your kids are wearing synthetic performance wear. A specialized detergent will help deodorize the gear better than standard detergent, so you can start fresh with each adventure.

3. Separate the shoes.

When it comes to stinky shoes, products like baking soda, essential oils, and baby powder can remove some odors. But, ultimately, if you’re going to be traveling quite a bit in small spaces — like cars, planes, and hotel rooms — your best bet is to keep your kids' dirty shoes contained in something like the Pack-It Shoe Locker

4. Stop the smell before it starts.

Prevent stink by reminding your kids to wear socks with their shoes or boots, and allowing clothes to dry completely between each use. If you want your kids to re-wear their athletic shirts, for example, hang them somewhere to dry, rather than packing them up while still sweaty. And, though it can be difficult on the road, try to wash socks and clothing after every sweaty use—or, at the very least, rinse them thoroughly in water.  

5. Go antimicrobial.

Most bad odors are caused by bacteria. So, when possible, purchase active wear that has antimicrobial properties. Look for fabrics like merino wool that are naturally anti-microbial and will limit the stink dramatically. Plus, your kids can probably wear those types of garments a few times before the smell becomes noticeable.

Do you have any other strategies for minimizing odor in your kids’ sports gear? Share in the comments below!

Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog)

Six Rules for Protecting your Gym Bag from Bacteria

Product Spotlight: Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport

Packing for a Family Roadtrip

by Alyssa Erickson

Alyssa Erickson is an all-around adventure lover with a passion for writing. You can follow her family travels at