It is not the glamorous side of gym management, but maintaining a clean gym is vital for the success of your business. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, it was important to regularly clean and disinfect gym equipment and surfaces. Clients are breathing heavily, sweating, and touching multiple surfaces during their workout. This means that gym equipment is at an increased risk of harboring germs and building up grime. 

Importance of Keeping Your Gym Clean

Fitness center cleaning and gym sanitization are imperative to prevent the spreading of harmful pathogens. Since it is expected for members to be sweating and breathing around your equipment, regular cleaning and disinfection must be used to keep your gym safe. 

Regularly and properly cleaning your equipment will also extend its lifespan. Any machine that has moving parts runs the risk of collecting dust and gunk in the electrical or mechanical components. 

Killing germs and maintaining equipment are both great reasons to maintain a clean gym, but arguably the most important reason is member satisfaction. You are more likely to retain gym members when they are satisfied with the cleanliness of the fitness facility. No one wants to see grime, sweat, and dust on the equipment they use during a workout.  

Must-Have Products When Cleaning Your Gym

You will need to keep cleaning products stocked to make sure you never get behind on your cleaning protocols. These are all the products your gym or fitness center needs to effectively clean the equipment and space.

General Cleaner

The purpose of a general cleaning solution is to remove surface residue and grime from the equipment. There are general cleaning solutions available or you can make your own with diluted dish soap and water. Find a cleaning solution that is safe for the materials of your equipment. Avoid cleaners that are alcohol-based or contain bleach, ammonia, or other harsh chemicals. These ingredients can damage and discolor your equipment. 

Disinfectant

An EPA-registered disinfectant will kill unwanted bacteria and pathogens on your gym equipment. Since disinfectant solutions need to remain wet on a surface for a certain amount of time to be effective, try to find a quick-acting solution. You can use a disinfectant spray or disinfectant wipes to clean your equipment. 

Duster

Even though cleaning and disinfection are necessary to remove harmful pathogens, dust is a visual representation of a dirty gym. Use a horsehair or dusting attachment on a vacuum or a handheld duster to clean off all surfaces. Removing dust is the simplest action to meeting your gym members’ expectations of a clean fitness facility.

Microfiber Cloths

Microfiber is the best fabric for cleaning your gym equipment because it does not leave behind any fibers. When used dry, it can effectively pick up dust and debris. Microfiber cloths are soft and will not scratch any equipment materials.

Vacuum and Mop

Depending on the material of your flooring, you may have different cleaning techniques or products to use. In general, you will need a vacuum to collect debris and a mop or steam device to clean and/or disinfect the floors. 

Steps for Cleaning Your Gym 

These are the steps when you are deep cleaning your gym. This should occur daily to weekly depending on how many members you have and how frequently your equipment is used. Use a top to bottom approach, cleaning the floors last. This ensures that all debris is cleaned up. 

Your workout equipment sees the most use and needs to be cleaned regularly. In addition to the workout spaces, remember to also clean and disinfect bathrooms, lobbies, and locker rooms. 

1. Dust

Use a handheld duster or a vacuum with a horsehair or dust attachment. Start from the highest shelves and surfaces then work your way down to lower shelves and equipment. A dry microfiber cloth can also be used to remove dust from equipment and push it onto the floor. 

How do you clean dusty gym equipment?

Use a vacuum with a duster attachment, a handheld duster, or a microfiber cloth to remove loose dust from workout equipment. Remove as much dust as possible using one of these dry methods. Once you add a cleaning solution, the dust will be harder to remove. 

2. Clean

Use a general cleaning solution (either in a spray bottle or wipes) to remove dirt, sweat, and grime from your equipment. Use a product that is appropriate for the type of materials your equipment is made from. Try to find a “non-toxic” or “green” product because harsh chemicals can damage your equipment.

Do you wipe gym equipment?

When cleaning your gym equipment, you should wipe over the entire surface and move in a single direction. This will ensure that the piece is being cleaned entirely and any debris is not just being moved around.

3. Disinfect

Use an EPA-registered disinfectant to kill harmful germs and bacteria that may be lingering on gym equipment. Disinfectants need to remain wet on the surface for a period of time to be effective. Use a cloth or wipe to ensure that the disinfectant is covering the entire surface area. Some disinfectants can irritate the skin, so you may need to wipe the equipment with water after the appropriate amount of time has passed. 

4. Floors

After you’ve dusted and wiped down equipment, excess debris will land on the floor. Start by vacuuming the floor. Finish your routine by cleaning and/or disinfecting the floors using a mop or steam device. Allow the floors to air-dry afterward. 

How to Clean Gym Equipment

Depending on the type of fitness facility you run, you could have many different pieces of workout equipment. Each piece should be dusted, cleaned, and disinfected but there are some slight differences based on the material of the equipment. 

Cleaning Dumbbells and Weights

Dumbbells and weights should be wiped down by your members after each use. During your regular cleaning, remove any dust and then use a general cleaner to remove debris. We like to use a barbell brush at our gym to help remove grime and caked chalk from the handles of dumbbells and barbells. Spray your cleaning solution onto a microfiber cloth and then wipe the weights (as opposed to spraying the solution directly). Allow the equipment to air-dry before re-racking. 

Cleaning Foam Gym Equipment

Foam is a more difficult material to clean and sanitize because it has the capability of retaining moisture. Spray your cleaning solution onto a microfiber cloth and then wipe off the entire surface. Use the same procedure to disinfect the foam equipment, but you may need to wipe multiple times to reach the required disinfection time. Do not use any brushes or coarse materials to clean foam equipment.

Cleaning Yoga and Floor Mats

Rubber floor mats can be cleaned with a vacuum and mop (utilizing your cleaning and disinfecting solutions). If you are cleaning by hand, wipe in the same direction to avoid spreading debris around. If you have hardwood or laminate flooring, follow manufacturer directions for cleaning and disinfecting.

If your studio uses yoga mats, you’ve probably experienced the stench that they can take on. More than any other piece of equipment, you need to disinfect yoga mats regularly (ideally after each use) to kill off the bacteria that lead to odors. To clean yoga mats, shake off any loose debris. Spray your cleaning solution over the entire mat and then use a cloth to wipe off the surface. Once dry, apply your disinfectant using a wipe or cloth and allow it to sit. Once the mat has air-dried, it can be rolled up and put away. 

Cleaning Treadmills, Ellipticals, and Other Machinery

Before beginning unplug all machinery as a safety precaution. When cleaning mechanical equipment, it is important to complete a thorough dusting to remove loose debris from all surfaces and crevices. Spray your cleaning solution onto a cloth instead of directly onto the machine. Directly spraying cleaning solution or disinfection onto the machine can cause liquid and debris to drip into the mechanical or electrical components. Make sure that you clean and disinfect all surfaces that members tend to touch, including screens, phone holders, drink holders, and handles. Allow the machine to dry completely before plugging it back in. 

Difference Between Disinfecting, Sanitizing, and Sterilizing

Disinfecting: Disinfecting kills nearly 100% of microorganisms living on a surface. This process requires the product to sit on the surface for an extended period to be effective.

Sanitizing: Sanitizing removes a majority of germs and bacteria from a surface. It is commonly done multiple times per day on high-touch surfaces.

Sterilizing: Sterilizing uses thermal or chemical reactions to kill 100% of microorganisms on a surface. This is used for medical equipment and is not achievable in a gym setting.

How to Maintain a Clean Gym

To maintain a clean gym, you must establish a clean culture within your membership. Let clients know that they are expected to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before beginning their workout. After using equipment, they should be wiping off the piece. You can also offer towels for members to cover equipment surfaces. Politely remind members of these protocols when necessary. 

Additionally, your staff should know and perform regular cleaning routines. You need to have a daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning routine in place. With well-established procedures and a documentation method, your staff will be able to maintain the highest cleanliness standards at your gym. Plus, regular cleaning makes the process quicker and easier each time.

As a smaller gym, we have used our teenage members to help with keeping the gym clean. We offer them a discount or add them to the payroll for a couple of hours of cleaning a week. Since they are already coming to the gym, this is a great way for them to earn some extra money and we are able to easily maintain a beautiful and clean gym.

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