It’s scary to know how easy it is to get germs on your hands when you take public transportation or go grocery shopping and spread those germs to your home gym when you work out.
Then the bacteria lands on your treadmill, the sink when you get some water, and the bathroom when you take a break.
And the cycle continues.
Thankfully, keeping your home gym clean and free from illness-causing germs and bacteria is possible. We’ve put together the best tips for cleaning your home gym equipment so you can enjoy a healthier workout environment.
Just because you’re the only person using your gym equipment doesn’t mean you shouldn’t worry about the risk of viral and bacterial infections. Just as in the scenario above, your dirty hands can cause germs to spread quickly from one surface to another.
If other family members are using your gym equipment, the risk gets even higher.
Aside from the health risks, dirt and grime can affect the lifespan of your machines. When users come into contact with gym equipment regularly, sweat, oil, and dirt build on the surfaces of the machines, affecting their functionality.
The electronics of your machines are most likely to malfunction first with sweat build-up. Improper cleaning and maintenance can also void the warranty of your equipment.
Dumbbells and weights are the most commonly used gym equipment. Thus, they are repeatedly exposed to germs, dirt, and perspiration. If you don’t keep them clean and sanitized, they can quickly harbor bacteria that create an unhealthy environment.
The proper way of cleaning your dumbbells and weights varies depending on their type.
For painted weights, you can wipe them down using a clean cloth wet in a soapy mixture. Let it sit for a minute, and then dry clean them with a towel. Alternatively, you can let them air dry away from sunlight.
Do the same steps for rubber-coated and urethane dumbbells. For your cleaning mixture, simply add a few drops of dish soap to a gallon of water.
All the dirt, dust, and sweat have to go somewhere, and usually, they land everywhere in your home gym, from your treadmill to your elliptical machine, and workout mats.
Unfortunately, those bacteria and fungi can cause various problems, from staph infections to ringworm, athlete’s foot, and many others.
Here are the steps to clean your gym equipment:
- For cardio equipment like bikes, ellipticals, and treadmills, start by unplugging them from any power sources.
- Do not directly spray the surfaces with disinfectant. Rather, spray a clean microfiber cloth and then wipe the surfaces of your machines thoroughly.
- You can let the machines air-dry or wipe down using a dry, clean cloth. Be careful when wiping down electronics and screens. Avoid getting them too wet and never spray the disinfectant directly on them.
- You may also need to check the user’s manual of your power machines as the manufacturer may have different cleaning instructions.
- Do not forget to clean the surfaces around your machines, such as the walls and floors.
- Weight machines, whether they are pin-loaded or plate-loaded, may require lubrication in addition to wiping them down with cleaner or disinfectant. This is very important to extend their range of motion.
Don’t forget to open doors and windows to allow proper air circulation and avoid breathing in toxic fumes from your disinfectant.
Yoga mats are often the dirtiest home gym equipment. You use it every day, putting your hands and shoes (or feet) all over the mat while you do those floor exercises or running drills.
Thus, yoga mats need more than spot cleaning. You should also sanitize them to ensure you’re killing the bacteria lingering on your mats.
It’s best to sanitize yoga mats a few hours before use and let them air-dry. The cleaning solution to use depends on the type of mat you’re using. For example, if you’re using an exercise mat topped with vinyl, use sanitizers made for such material.
Follow these steps to clean yoga mats and floor mats:
- Remove any loose dirt by vacuuming or sweeping the mat.
- Use the appropriate sanitizing product. You can spray it directly on the mat and then wipe it down with a cloth.
- Allow the mat to air-dry completely before use.
It’s very important to use a separate pair of shoes for your home gym. Never use the kicks you wear when going out to run or exercise.
If you happen to wear your street sneakers when working out in your home gym, make sure to disinfect all the contact areas.
Designate a corner or small storage area for your home gym shoes, and sanitize them as well after use.
It’s also a good idea to place a bin or container for sweaty workout clothes, socks, and towels. If you sweat a lot or do intense workouts daily, you should wash your clothes after each use especially if they are tight-fitting.
No matter how tiring your workout session is, don’t forget to clean your water bottle. Just because you’re the only one using it doesn’t mean you can just keep refilling it without giving your bottle a rinse.
Did you know that health experts recommend that you wash your water bottles as often as you wash your drinking cups and glasses? Yes, that’s right.
Here are ways to keep your drinking bottles clean:
- Tip unused water at the end of your workout.
- Wash the bottle with warm soapy water. Some bottles are dishwasher-safe. If you’re using one, just pop them in to get a deep clean.
- If your bottle stinks, you need a more intense clean. You can use baking soda or vinegar to get rid of the odor. Avoid using bleach as you may ingest the residue.
- If your water bottle has been around for years and you see black or mold spots, make sure to thoroughly clean. Wash and scrub repeatedly until it’s completely clean.
Here are additional tips when cleaning home gym equipment:
- Textured grippy surfaces attract bacteria the most. If you notice buildup in the ridges of your workout machines, you can scrub them with soap and water to dislodge debris, including dead skin cells.
- The easiest way to clean resistant bands is to submerge them in a tub of soapy warm water. Scrub them like you would scrub a yoga mat. Then, lay the bands out to air dry, away from direct sunlight.
- For foam rollers, just wipe them down. Spritz them with hydrogen peroxide disinfecting spray and let them sit for a few minutes before wiping them down dry.
- Consider placing a dehumidifier in your home gym. With the humidity added from sweating and breathing, the risk of mold growth increases. A dehumidifier can also help tackle odors in your home gym.
How often you clean your home gym depends on your frequency of use. Commonly touched surfaces should be cleaned after use, while yoga mats should be washed once a week.
By creating a schedule and to-do list, you can make cleaning your gym quicker and easier. Plus, you can have peace of mind that you have a healthier environment every time you work out.