Gyms are known to be hosts and breeding grounds for germs, ranging from bacterial to fungal to viral. So it’s no wonder people take caution when working out in a public gym. But commercial gyms know the logistics behind the spreading of germs at their facilities. They work hard to clean the equipment often and make sure it undergoes deep, thorough cleanses on a regular basis. It’s true that the number of people increases the exposure to germs at standard gyms. However, it doesn’t mean that home gyms (whether personal or for a few users) can’t accumulate their own set of dangerous bacterial, fungal, or viral germs. Cleaning your home gym frequently is necessary.
Luckily, keeping your home gym clean is easier than you think. With the proper guidance, routine, and materials, cleaning your home gym won’t consume too much of your time. Plus, you’ll stay safe from harmful germs. Read on as we dive into the helpful tips and tricks for cleaning your home gym.
Exactly how many germs live on exercise equipment?
A study by FitRated found that an exorbitant amount of germs can live on exercise equipment. After gathering samples from 27 pieces of equipment, the researchers discovered that “70 percent of bacteria found on different pieces of exercise gear can be harmful to humans.” Of the harmful bacteria found on devices such as the treadmill and stationary bike along with training tools such as free weights, there was a mix of gram-positive cocci, gram-negative cocci, gram-positive rods, and Bacillus.
The gram-positive cocci, which made up about 41 percent of overall germs in the study, is found primarily on treadmills. This bacteria can lead to conditions such as pneumonia, septicemia, and even skin infections. Gram-negative cocci comprised 31 percent of the bacteria. It’s mostly found on gym items like free weights. Not only can it be harmful to humans, but it can also be resistant to antibiotics. Another strain of bacteria, gram-positive rods, made up 14 percent of harmful gym germs and, according to the study. They are almost exclusively found on larger pieces of equipment such as treadmills and stationary bikes. For the most part, gram-positive rods aren’t incredibly harmful to humans, but there may be some exceptions. Lastly, bacillus made up the remaining 14 percent of harmful bacteria. It is present on every piece of gym equipment, as it stems from natural substances such as dirt.
This may seem overwhelming. But, the most important takeaway is that gyms can harbor a great number of germs. For comparison, there are about 362 times more bacteria on a free weight than on a toilet seat. So keeping a gym space clean is crucial to maintaining your overall health.
Dedicating Your Cleaning Supplies
To save costs, you may want to use their standard household cleaning supplies for everything in your home gym. Although it sounds harmless, you should avoid this practice, especially when cleaning mats that have porous surfaces. The US Gymnastics Suppliers Association, with its long-standing expertise, suggests that cleaning equipment such as mops should be labeled and used for mats only. You don’t want to cross-contaminate mops that touch kitchen or bathroom floors with mat surfaces. Additionally, USGSA says that “mop heads should be routinely washed and changed regularly.”
Is it safe to use bleach?
When cleaning a home gym, it’s fair to say that using the strongest available form of cleaner to kill bacteria is your first priority. This brings us to the next question: Is bleach safe to use as a household cleaning agent? According to the USGSA, “Straight bleach should not be used as a cleaning agent. Undiluted bleach is a corrosive and potentially dangerous chemical that can cause eye, skin, and mucosal irritation.” When cleaning with bleach, the substance should always be diluted first. The rule of thumb is ten to 12 parts water for every one part bleach. Never mix bleach with any other cleaning agent, as they can react negatively with one another.
Using Natural Ingredients
Caleb Backe, wellness coordinator at Maple Holistics, says, “It’s ideal to take the natural route wherever possible.” Over time, many household cleansers have adapted by becoming both clean and natural, as families want to avoid harmful interactions for their children and fur babies. But how can you clean something as germ-ridden as a home gym naturally while destroying bacteria? The answer is tea tree. “Tea tree oil has been used as an effective antifungal (as well as bacterial and viral) for centuries and offers quick relief,” Backe says. A simple way to create a natural cleanser is by filling a spray bottle with water and adding five to seven drops of tea tree essential oil. For optional germ-killing elements, add two teaspoons of vinegar and a squeeze of lemon juice to take the cleanliness up a notch.
How often should you clean your home gym?
Do a quick cleanup daily or after every use. Keep a cleaning solution (such as the natural one mentioned above) and a clean rag in your home gym. This way you and other users can wipe off a piece of equipment or gear after each use. You can also do this step with disinfecting wipes. To keep outside germs away from your home gym, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before touching any of the equipment.
When it comes to deep cleanings (using a bleach-water mixture, replacing mop heads, etc.) aim for twice a month. During these routine cleans, it’s important to not miss a spot. Wipe down every surface of the floor and the pieces of equipment extensively. Make sure to restock clean towels and refill cleaning solutions for your home gym at this time too.
By taking these precautionary steps and following the guidelines to cleansing your home gym, you (and your guests) can exercise with the peace of mind that germs are virtually nonexistent.