Cleaning gym equipment is pretty easy with the right tool and cleaning agent–just spray, wipe it down, and air dry it completely. However, the method and frequency of cleaning usually depend on the intensity and type of exercise (aerobic exercise, yoga, weightlifting, etc.).
Having your own cardio equipment, yoga mat, and resistance bands doesn’t safeguard you from infection and disease. Exercise equipment is the breeding ground for bacteria like staphylococcus aureus, ringworm fungus, influenza. So, it is best to pay attention to your gym equipment and clean it as frequently as possible.
In this article, I will walk you through the correct methods of cleaning different workout equipment.
A General Routine For Clean Gym Equipment
If workout equipment isn’t regularly cleaned after exercise, it may give off a foul odor, and soon enough, you’ll end up sick. Speaking from personal experience, there’s also a high chance that your expensive cardio equipment may be damaged from accumulated sweat and dust to the point of no return.
Simply wipe down your home workout equipment regularly, including the cardio machine, mat, dumbbell, etc., with disinfectant wipes or spray and a microfiber towel, and you will be good to go. But, if you use the equipment quite frequently, a thorough deep cleaning one or two times a week is prudent.
While a fitness center requires professional deep cleaning, a home gym can achieve optimal hygiene by following a simple routine of wiping everything with mild dish soap and warm water. Or, you can use a spray bottle to apply the solution and wipe it off with a microfiber cloth. Go over all the home gym items with a disinfectant spray or wipe, and let them air dry.
What To Use For Cleaning Gym Equipment
Many people prefer solutions like Clorox or Lysol to clean gym gear at home. But if you want greater protection against coronavirus, consider using a chemical substance that meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s criteria.
When I went to my physician after coming down with a high fever, he quickly concluded that I had been infected through contamination. Since he knew about my inclination towards fitness, he suggested regularly washing my workout clothes and cleaning my gym equipment with simple bleach and water. This was quite helpful since bleach is a strong chemical substance that acts as an external antibiotic and helps kill bacteria.
So, if you don’t have an industrial disinfectant at hand, you can easily make a homemade solution that’s equally effective. Simply add a 1/4th cup of bleach to a gallon of water, and let it sit on the surface for a minute.
However, you should never let this solution mix with the disinfectant at the same time since they can produce harmful fumes and toxins. Carefully remove the cleaning agent from the entire surface and let it completely dry before applying disinfectant.
Specific Methods For Different Home Workout Equipment
Similar to how you use different methods to clean gym mats, the floor, and windows in your home gym, different exercise equipment sets also require different cleaning methods. So, here are a few ways you can clean each piece effectively:
1. Yoga Mats
Yoga mats can soil very easily since they come in direct contact with the entire body and accumulate lots of sweat and grime. To prevent any pathogen from growing on your yoga mat, apply or spray a multi-purpose cleaner and wipe it down with a dry microfiber cloth. Carefully go over the entire surface to avoid missing any dirt spots.
If you wish to deep clean the yoga mat, place it in a bathtub, scrub it down with a brush, and apply disinfectant. Let it air dry, and keep it away from direct sunlight. And since most yoga mats are made from natural rubber, avoid using harsh chemicals to clean them.
2. Foam Rollers
A common mistake people make regarding cleaning foam rollers is submerging them in water. This is quite counterintuitive as foam can absorb excess moisture, leading to the growth of harmful bacteria and microorganisms.
So, the best way to clean these rollers is to use a wet wipe and then follow it up with a disinfectant spray. Moreover, consider getting new ones if your rollers are discolored and worn out. I recommend buying ones with a non-porous, solid surface, as they’re less likely to get dirty.
3. Handheld Weights
Since handheld equipment like dumbbells, weight plates, free weights, etc., have hooves and ridges on the surface, sweat droplets and dirt can collect faster on these. And a spray bottle can be more effective than disinfectant wipes for reaching these cracks. However, if there’s still grime build-up left on the surface, use soapy water to remove dead skin cells and debris.
Having deep cleaned the surface, don’t forget to wipe the ends or edges of the dumbbell or hand weight.
4. Cardio Machines
Cleaning the entire machine, especially one used for cardio, such as the treadmill and fitness bike, is relatively easy to clean due to the flat, exposed surfaces. Thoroughly clean the running tracks, pedals and seat to remove sweat and dirt left behind by your clothes and shoes. Also, don’t forget to wipe the treadmill handles with a disinfectant wipe regularly after use.
For better deep cleaning, I recommend making a solution using warm water, mild soap or detergent and a few drops of tea tree oil to fight odor-causing germs. Many people also use vinegar for removing grime from the handles. However, since cardio machines are connected to electricity, ensure you wear electrical-insulating rubber gloves while cleaning and keep water away from the wires.
5. Resistance Bands And Suspenders
For daily use, you can clean your home gym suspenders and bands with disinfecting wipes. But if you want to clean the regularly used foam handles that have more than a week’s worth of sweat and oil, wipes won’t do. Place your resistance bands in a bucket of warm, soapy water and scrub till clean.
Always wring them out till there’s no excess moisture left, and let them air dry. Alternatively, you can wipe them with a dry microfiber cloth if you’re in a hurry. When fully dry, apply or spray a disinfectant spray to prevent germs.
Other Things You Should Consider Cleaning
Clean gym equipment will likely prevent health issues such as the common cold and staph infections through contamination. But your workout tools aren’t the only ones that provide a safe space for bacteria to thrive. Here are a few things you should clean to maintain besides your gym equipment:
It is a thumb rule that indoor shoes are to be worn at home only since outdoor shoes can bring in unwanted debris and dirt. If you accidentally enter your home gym with the outdoor shoes on, thoroughly clean the contact spots with warm, soapy water and follow it up with disinfectant. Letting your dirty street shoes contaminate the home gym floor or treadmill tracks will negate the entire point of keeping your home equipment clean.
2. Workout Clothes
Bacteria and germs can grow in the minute fibers of dirty clothing, so it’s essential to wash your workout clothes regularly. Gym equipment like yoga mats and gym balls can come in direct contact with your dirty clothes, indirectly leading to cross-contamination.
So, change out of your clothes after working out and take a shower to maintain optimal gym hygiene to keep acne and yeast infections at bay.
3. Water Bottles
Gym-goers mostly use reusable sippy or shaker bottles to carry water during exercise. However, they often take the ‘reusable’ part too seriously and neglect washing it after working out. The used bottle opening, coupled with sweaty handprints on the surface of the bottle, can lead to various infections. So, I’ve made it a habit to throw my bottle into the sink after each workout and give it a wipe-down with a disinfectant of choice.
How To Clean Home Gym Equipment Final Thoughts
Much like the dish scrubber or hand towel in your kitchen, gym equipment is the dirtiest item in your home gym. None of those intensive fitness routines will improve your health if you neglect cleaning your gym gear.
Although physicians and fitness experts recommend a bare minimum daily wipe down, it is often too time-consuming, given our tight schedules. So, the best way to deep clean your gym equipment at least twice a week is to tackle each type of equipment individually. For example, start cleaning the foam rollers, resistance bands and hand weights and let them dry while you clean the heavier equipment like cardio machines.
Until next time, stay healthy!