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Should You Take a Towel to the Gym?

If you're wondering whether you should take a towel to the gym you're in the right place. This post explores whether you should take a towel to the gym with you and the reasons why.


If you’re wondering whether you should take a towel to the gym you’re in the right place. This post explores whether you should take a towel to the gym with you and the reasons why.

Towels have become a key aspect of gym etiquette over the past few years. Towels aren’t always associated with old school gyms, but some modern ‘cleaner’ looking gyms require you carry one at all times.

Should You Take a Towel to the Gym?

The answer to this question is a simple yes. You should always take a towel to the gym with you for your own hygeine as well as other peoples.

Should you take a sweat towel to the gym

It is important to always bring at least one towel to the gym with you. Many people find it useful to bring one to wipe sweat and another for after they shower. Many people bring a towel to lay down on equipment before using it.

Most gyms provide wipes of some sort to wipe down equipment. If yours does not, however, or they are often out of them, you may want to bring yet another towel. Investing in good quality gym towels and a gym bag to carry them in can improve the quality of your workouts.

Germ Protection

The primary reason to have your own towel is to prevent the spread of germs and fungi. It is important to wipe the sweat from your face with your towel, rather than your hand. This stops the bacteria you may have picked up from the equipment from causing acne or an infection.

Sweat indicates it has been a good workout. If you are sweating, you are ridding your body of toxins and helping your body stay cool.

The downside with sweat is it unhygienic and can quickly spread nasty stuff.

Laying a towel down before using equipment gives you an extra layer of protection. Gym equipment comes in contact with a lot of sweaty bodies and the more barriers you have in place, the better. It is a good idea to mark one side of the towel. That side should always be on the equipment. This ensures you do not accidentally come into contact with the very things you are trying to avoid. Laying down a towel also helps the next person to come along by keeping your sweat off the equipment.

The gym is, unfortunately, a great place to pick up a cold, flu, and athlete’s foot. By bringing your own towel and following simple hygiene procedures, you can greatly reduce your chances of picking up any of those nasty things.

Cooling Off

Sweat is your body’s way of trying to cool off. Many experts agree that you should refrain from wiping sweat off during your workout. That being said, nobody wants to be dripping with sweat. Your fellow gym-goers would probably prefer you were not leaving behind sweat puddles as well. Having a towel specifically for sweat will help you stay comfortable at the gym.


Many people like to shower after a workout. Some gyms may provide towels for this purpose, but many will not. Bringing your own ensures you have a way to dry off after your post-workout shower. That way, you know the towel has been cleaned to your standards. A “clean” towel from the gym can be full of E. Coli or MRSA. This is because they often use the same carts to move the clean and dirty towels around the gym.

Keep it Clean

In order for your towel (or towels) to help keep you from getting sick, you need to make sure you are regularly washing it (them.) Bacteria love towels that are soaked with sweat, so washing after every use is a great idea. Wash your towel in hot water to ensure you are killing all of the unwanted germs and fungi.

Keep in mind that frequent washing will mean your towel will wear out quickly, especially if you use fabric softener. Fabric softener is nice but it loosens up the fibers that allow your towel to suck up sweat and water.

As soon as you notice your towel hanging onto damp smells or becoming thin, replace it.

It is a good idea to have a few sets of gym towels to make sure you never have to reuse a dirty one.

Final Thoughts

It is generally considered part of good gym etiquette to bring a towel. Your fellow gym users will appreciate seeing you wipe down your equipment. They will also like seeing you use a towel rather than your hand for wiping the sweat off your brow.

There are many gym towels on the market that can help keep you cool and germ-free. If you are particularly worried about germs, consider buying an antimicrobial towel to further reduce your risk of infection while in the gym. After all, you have to be healthy to get the most out of your workouts!

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