Gym equipment is a breeding ground for bacteria. Multiple people use machines, and gym rooms are generally a warm environment – both of which increase the likelihood that germs are lingering on items.
Unfortunately, almost all the gyms do not need employees to wipe down the equipment between every usage. It’s up to us to do so. Regularly sanitizing gym equipment before and after use it can help decrease the number of harmful bacteria we come in contact with. Make sure to use available cleaning kits; or otherwise, it is recommended to bring your methods to disinfect and sanitize gym equipment.
Using the Right Sanitizing Products
Wipe down with wet wipes. Most gyms offer some sort of damp disinfectant wipe for their customers. These wipes are an excellent way to sanitize gym equipment that comes into contact with other members’ bodily fluids (like sweat).
There’s a difference between sanitizing and disinfecting. Wet wipes are designed to clean, which means the chemicals used will kill germs and bacteria. This is important as we want to use a disinfectant when we may come into contact with bodily fluids like sweat or saliva.
To use a wet wipe correctly, make sure to wipe down the entire surface of the machine or equipment you plan to use. Let the surface dry completely before using it. This will help ensure the disinfectant has the proper time to agitate and work.
If our gym doesn’t offer wet wipes, to bring our own, we can purchase a small portable and resealable pouch that’s easy to carry around during our workout.
Do not use disinfecting wipes on our bodies. Rubbing these on our face, neck, or arms can cause us to break out into a severe rash.
Fill up a spray bottle with some ammonia solution. Many gyms offer spray bottles filled with a disinfectant solution, which are usually ammonia-based, that you can use before and after using the equipment. If they do not, you may consider making on your own and bringing it.
Ammonia mixtures are generally quaternary ammonia mixed with water. This is safe to use and does an excellent job of getting rid of the germs on the equipment.
However, such as wet wipes, you’ll need to allow the solution to sit on the equipment for a few moments before wiping it down. This will ensure all the germs are removed.
Be mindful while spraying down equipment. Do not spray it near plugs, outlets, or machines with electric panels. Also, make sure to be cognizant if spraying near other gym members.
Consider making your own if your gym doesn’t offer a spray solution. You can either create your own or purchase an ammonia cleaner at the store.
Just mix half a cup of ammonia to half a gallon of water. Fill a hair spray bottle with the ammonia cleaner and toss it in a gym bag to bring with you.
Avoid cleaners that are unsafe or ineffective. In addition to using filters that will do an excellent job at disinfecting gym equipment, there are some cleaners you shouldn’t use. Whether they’re unsafe to apply or just do not work, try to avoid using:
- Bleach: This is a strong disinfectant and kills germs. It may be unsafe if not prepared or used correctly. Plus, it can ruin your clothes (or other clothes) and may be dangerous if inhaled or allowed to sit on the skin.
- Borax solution: This is a natural cleaner but doesn’t disinfect. It can clean, although the germs will be not be killed with it.
- Baking soda: Again, a natural form of cleaner, baking soda does not disinfect and kill germs.
- Hydrogen peroxide: Straight hydrogen peroxide might cause a rash and irritation on your skin.
Cleaning Off Gym Equipment
- Clean off each piece of equipment that you use. There is a slight risk that you’ll get an infection or cold from sharing the material at the gym, but it’s good manners to wipe off the equipment after you use it.
- Before using gym equipment, yoga mat, dumbbell, or machine thoroughly wipe down whatever part you’ll contact.
- Spray and wipe down the equipment with your chosen disinfectant. Also, wipe down the computer after you use it. This isn’t required, but just good manners and proper gym etiquette.
- Items to sanitize include yoga mats, dumbbells, kettlebells, exercise balls, the handles and control pad on cardio equipment, and the handles on weight machines.
Use the correct cleaning technique. When cleaning gym equipment with the intent of sanitizing it, you need to ensure that you use the proper cleaning way to kill germs and bacteria.
- Sanitizers and disinfectants require you to follow some basic instructions for the bacteria to be killed and removed from the equipment.
- Allow the sanitizer to sit on the gym equipment for at least 2-3 minutes. However, if you’re cleaning your items or home gym equipment, it will enable the sanitizer to sit on issues for 10-30 minutes. This is an excellent method for killing the most bacteria.
- Use the manufacturers’ instructions when cleaning equipment – both for the gym equipment and the sanitizer you’re using.
Dust and vacuum home equipment: If there are cardio and other types of equipment at home, it is good to clean the entire machine yourself. This will not only help maintain the integrity of your computer but also ensure it continues to function normally.
Take time to clean your home gym every week—dust off all weights, machines, and cardio equipment you have. Keep wires, plugs, and outlets dust-free.
Vacuum around the equipment as well. This makes sure there isn’t any dust in the surrounding areas.
You may need to clean your gym equipment a little more thoroughly than a wipe down as well. You should need to do more thorough cleaning about once a week.
- Clean yoga mats thoroughly. One of the dirtiest places tor germs to hide is on yoga and fitness mats. These are porous and soft and can harbor a lot of bacteria. Make sure you clean these thoroughly.
- Consider throwing a yoga mat into the bathtub. This will give a lot of room to clean your carpet. Fill the tub up with water and soap and a disinfectant. Scrub it down, rinse it and dry it, if possible, in the sun.
- If it isn’t cold outside, you might want to consider spraying it down with a garden hose and a cleaner. You may let it air dry in the sun.
- Many yoga enthusiasts wash their mats in the washing machine. Make sure you check the manufacturer’s instructions. This can be OK for brands, but not all.
Minimizing Contact with Germs and Bacteria
Wash your hands: There’s no better against bacteria and germs than regular hand washing. Thoroughly make sure to wash up before you head out for home to avoid bringing them back home.
After you’ve completed the workout and you’re just about to leave, stop by the bathroom to wash the hands. You want to be the last thing to do before you go. Don’t wash your hands and recontaminate them by touching items in the locker room, water fountain, or another surface.
Make sure to follow proper handwashing techniques. Wet the hands thoroughly and then use soap to lather up. Scrub under nails, on the tops and bottoms of hands and wrists for a minimum of 20 seconds. Rinse hands off and then dry with a paper towel or air dryer.
You must also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Rub thoroughly on all parts of the hands for 10-20 seconds or until hands are dry.
- Don’t touch your face. Another essential piece to avoiding contact with germs is avoiding contact with your face. Whether it is nose, mouth, or eyes, these are openings to your body where bacteria can make you sick.
- While you are working out, try to be mindful of how often you are touching your face. You may not realize how often you’re feeling your face during your workout.
- Spend a day paying attention to how often you wipe the sweat off the face, rub eyes during a morning workout, or scratch the nose. You’re increasing the chance of contamination yourself with germs each time you do this.
- It will take time to get used to a new routine of “no face touching.” You’ll be better off in the long-run.
Take care of cuts and scrapes. In addition to nose, eyes, and mouth, germs can also make a way in through cuts and scrapes. Make sure that these must be taken care of before heading out to the gym.
While at the gym, if you get a cut or scrape, make sure you clean and sanitize the area. Beware of blisters or friction burns while at the gym. There is a good chance it will get contaminated with germs in a gym.
Thoroughly wash the cut or scrape with soap and warm water. You can ask a staff member if they have a first aid kit with disinfectant cream.
Use a band-aid or bandage to cover the cut or scrape thoroughly. No open part should be exposed. Keep the area covered until the wound is completely healed.
Wash and sanitize your items. Don’t make a fool of yourself that the only source of germs is from people at the gym. You need to take care of your gym items as well.
Even if you take great care in washing hands, wiping down equipment, and not touching the face, you can still carry and transfer germs on your items. Items to clean regularly include gym towel, water bottle, gym clothes, yoga mat, and sweatbands.