How To Clean Gym Equipment
Most people are ready to break free from COVID restrictions so make sure you know how to clean gym equipment and keep everyone safe. Keeping gym equipment clean is just as important, if not more, than maintaining social distance. Even after more than a year into the pandemic, effective cleaning isn’t where it could be. For example, did you know most cleaning solutions require a “wet time”? This is the amount of time the disinfectant has to stay on a surface to rid it of germs. Additionally, using a towel as an additional barrier increases safety even more. It doesn’t matter if it’s your personal home gym, a public fitness facility, or your training private clients. We have to keep gyms safe.
Restrictions are easing and most people have some COVID couch weight to get rid of. But you might be a little leery of what’s lurking on the fitness equipment in front of you. Truthfully you should be.
So what are the nastiest pieces of equipment in the gym? In 2017, a company called Fit Rated, hit a trio of gyms and found that treadmills, exercise bikes and free weights harbored the highest numbers of germs and bacteria. To give you an idea of just how many germs you could be potentially pumping with those 10-pound dumbbells, Fit Rated found an average of 362 times more bacteria on the free weights than on a public toilet seat. Preacher curls with a public toilet seat doesn’t exactly seem sanitary but it actually could be more than 350 times cleaner than that weight you were about to pick up. So yes, cleaning is in everyone’s best interest.
Bacteria Burpess? Covid Curls? Follow these 6 tips to keep it clean next time you hit the gym.
6 Tips On How To Clean Gym Equipment
- Discover the disinfectant – Look for a disinfecting spray or disinfectant cloth as soon as you enter the gym. Depending on the gym, they may offer gym wipes or a cleaning product and a microfiber cloth. Ideally, it’s disposable since even a microfiber cloth can keep bacteria in it if not regularly cleaned. If you’re training or working out of a home gym, treat it as if it’s a public fitness facility if there’s more than one person using the space. Clients, roommates, and family members should all have cleanliness in front of mind. Therefore, the more the disinfecting materials are easily accessible, the better.
- Proactive Protection – No matter what gym you’re in, don’t rely on others to clean equipment after each use. You should do an equipment wipe before and after each use. This means thoroughly cleaning all touch-points, handles and screens. Focus on areas that users will touch the most. But don’t forget about spots that you may come in contact with at some point during your time on the equipment. Remember, it’s a workout. People will breathe hard and sweat. This means the entire piece of equipment has germ exposure.
- One Way Wipe – Think about it. What happens if you take your gym wipe and go forward once and then back? You’ll push the germs to the side of the exercise machine and then you’ll pull them back over. Don’t rely on the cleaning product to immediately disinfect everything. Your cleaning should practice the “one-way-wipe”. When cleaning the equipment remember to think of your wipe or towel as a one direction tool. You don’t want to be smearing germs around the machine with a back and forth motion. Using a smooth and steady one direction stroke. And, always include a spray, microfiber towel or sanitized wipe. It gives you better chances the germs will be gone for good.
- Spray and let stay – Don’t be in a hurry to wipe away that disinfectant. Many disinfecting sprays need to remain on the surface for at least 10-20 seconds to do their work. Spray and let the moisture stay on the surface. This way, those little disinfectant drops can do their duty. Furthermore, a lot of exercise equipment has microscopic nooks and crannies where germs can hide out. If you spray down first, the cleaning product will have a better chance of sneaking into those hidden areas. Paying attention to “wet time” will help make sure your sanitizing and disinfecting efforts aren’t a waste.
- Towel up! – Towels are your friendly germ barrier when you lay down or sit on a piece of equipment. Use a towel as a barrier between you and the piece of equipment. Especially when using yoga mats and exercise mats, the extra towel is important. There are even more grooves for bugs to hide in here. It’s a habit we should all keep beyond the pandemic. If you’re training a client, keep a towel handy to help them make it a habit too.
- Suds are your buds – Wash, Rinse, Repeat! WASH YOUR HANDS!!! It’s simple, do it and take your time. Use your fingernails to really help scrub the soap into your hands. You want that soap to hang out long enough for the suds to be your buds. They need time to do their cleaning and if you soap up and rinse off immediately you aren’t giving them time to properly take out the bad guys. The foaming of soap suspends germ particles up and away from the surface of your skin. So a quick rinse, slipping the soap on and off doesn’t do the trick.
There you have it! 6 simple tips to remember when you hit that fitness and gym equipment that others are using. Keep it clean and stay healthy! Let’s face it, that’s the whole reason we head to the gym in the first place.
Cleaning Solution and Sprays
When looking for disinfecting sprays, Lysol and Clorox branded products are usually a great place to start. Be careful with products containing bleach and alcohol as those could potentially be corrosive to some surfaces. They can also run the risk of drying out the surface of a yoga mat or padded bench. This can lead to premature wear and tear.
If you’re worried about this, you can opt for a DIY solution. The best intersection of safe and effective cleaning solution will be 50% distilled white vinegar and 50% distilled water. Don’t try and make a DIY out of dish soap and water unless you plan to wipe down with disinfectant after wiping with dish soap. This type of cleaning product will foam up the germs but then allow them to settle back onto the surface.
Staying Safe In Your Home Gym Or Fitness Facility
If you own or manage your own gym, focus on training your staff, setting a cleaning schedule and documenting cleaning times. Clients love a clean facility and what better way to let them know you are on top of it, than by having staff constantly thinking CLEAN! Members seeing staff wipe down equipment, document cleaning procedures, and following schedules will go a long way in keeping bacteria and virus outbreaks at bay. Plus when members see staff cleaning without being prompted, it reassures them that their facility cares about their overall health and safety and not just collecting their monthly membership dues.
Still concerned about using virus and bacteria infested equipment? Then, talk to the staff at the facility and find out the protocols they have to clean gym equipment. They should be able to quickly and easily go over their cleaning protocols and standard procedure for ensuring all those who use a yoga mat, weights, cardio equipment, resistance bands, and other gym equipment are enjoying a clean facility.