Bag Balm

After reading about Bag Balm here: and on a few other sites most singing its praise I decided to try it.

I did a search and only found this one very brief mention here: my legs hurt at either side of my balls

So I will give it a review

Since I’m aggressively trying to up my mileage with the goal of riding 54 flat miles on November 1st I decided to try Bag Balm as a post ride treatement for irritated skin, like the Rivendell site suggests it’s good for.

They did not have it at the first two drug store I tried but then I found it at my local supermarket. I don’t remember how much it cost but it was cheap compared to many other intensive skin lotions/ointments. I think it was either $4.99 or $5.99. I’m too lazy to go find my receipt. It’s not expensive compared to the stuff on the shelf around it. It would also last a long time since its a good size tin.

So two night ago I had some soreness (chaffing) right were my legs attach near the boys. So i had read that Bag Balm would help the chaffing heal for the next day. So I gooped the stuff on and rubbed it in a little bit. It has a consistency about like vaseline but a little more sticky. No strong smell or anything like that.

In searching for ingredients I found this at Wikipedia:

The active ingredients of Bag Balm are 8-hydroxyquinoline sulfate 0.3% (antiseptic) in a petroleum jelly and lanolin base.[2] Bag Balm used to contain 0.005% mercury “from ethylated sterols.” This earlier formulation was much more effective at fighting infection in wounds and was known to completely clear infected wounds overnight.

BUT BUT BUT this stuff is like glue. It does not wash off. I had read some comments on other sites but was still interested in trying it. I wore some old shorts (underwear) to keep the stuff off of any clothes I cared about.

So yesterday in the shower, after three washings with normal bar soap (irish springs) its still sticky and over 24 hours from the last application, I can still feel a it a little bit on my skin. I guess that is not a bad thing. . . but I want the choice to decide when I want it off of me, if only for the reason I don’t want this stuff on my bike shorts.

On top of that while washing I could still detect some irritation from the chaffing. The chaffing was not very bad, but still the Bag Balm did very little to reduce it in about 18 hours (I reapplied at bedtime as well and gooped it on pretty generously).

One person on a cycling site commented on how hard it was to wash out of shorts and I believe him! I can’t even get it off my skin. Last night after applying this sticky stuff I washed my hands with concentrated dish soap and while it got most of it off with two cycles of washing in water as hot as I could stand I could still detect a slight film on my fingers.

So verdict: For me this stuff was no miracle elixir and its stickiness is a major turn off for me. I would NOT want to try to get this stuff out of shorts so in no way can I recommend this for a while riding lubricant. Stick with Body Glide (which is hard enough to get out of shorts but at least its doable) or Noxzema or something like that. I haven’t tried chamois butter so I can’t comment on that.

Here is an article that talks about a few alternatives.

I don’t like goop in my shorts (I tried body glide once ) so I will stick with my anti-monkey butt powder for a pre ride treatment. It’s talc for dryness and some Calamine for cooling.

And going with my experience with good ol fashioned Noxzema on sunburns I will use that if I need an after ride cool down of some chaffed skin. I also find gold bond powder cooling after a ride. I tried that when I got a saddle sore a while back.

As for the slight chaffing (and it was slight) my skin will just have to toughen up.

Any one want a can of epoxy, I mean Bag Balm? I don’t foresee a situation where I would use it again.

Sounds nasty!

I use BodyGlide and don’t find it a problem to wash off (from skin or shorts). It doesn’t come off with plain water but no problem with soap or shower gel. It’s not even that slimy if you don’t put too much on - I certainly prefer it over the liquid chamois cream that you apply to the shorts rather than to your body.

The only slight con with BodyGlide IMO is that you can’t really lend it to a mate at a race or whatever after you’ve rubbed it around on your crotch :o


I still like Crisco for preventing chaffing. It washes off super easy. The “butt’rs” that are out there work well too, but they are expensive.

Vaseline creamy (not petroleum jelly) works well and is cheap. It also washes off easily. You can get it at Walmart for about 3 bucks.

whoa! I never heard of these things you all write about. I might have to try some.

How’s cornstarch? That’s what I use sometimes.

(I ride less than 30 miles a week)