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The Best Ways to Effectively Clean and Disinfect Your Gym

Reading Time: 5 minutes 24 seconds


DATE: 2020-07-02

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a lot of conversation about cleanliness, disinfectants, hand sanitizer, and other issues related to spreading harmful germs. Keeping clients safe is even more of a priority than ever.

If you're a gym owner or manager, make sure you understand and implement best cleaning practices. This is important not just to slow the spread of COVID-19 but also to prevent a number of other infections: the common cold, the flu, and staph skin infections, just to name a few.

Policies Shape Cleanliness

A gym that runs smoothly and keeps clients happy and safe is one that is organized and has policies in place. You use schedules and training to ensure employees are in place to help clients, to run classes safely and on time, and to keep clients coming back. You also need policies for cleaning and hygiene. Make cleanliness a priority by using the same strategies:

  • Train employees. Before expecting workers to clean and disinfect regularly, you must show them how to do it. Hold a mandatory staff training session to ensure everyone knows the best procedures for safely and effectively cleaning the gym and everything in it.

  • Create a cleaning schedule. You can't just assume employees will clean regularly; you must be specific. Create a schedule for regular cleaning of fitness equipment, the gym floor, locker rooms and bathrooms, and all other surfaces. Assign staff to each task and time slot and keep the schedule somewhere everyone can easily access it.

  • Keep a cleaning log. Each part of the gym that gets cleaned regularly should have a visible log for recording cleanings. Use wipe boards with dates, times, and tasks. Ask employees to initial the appropriate part of the log each time they finish an assigned cleaning task.

  • Organize inventory and ordering. Keep track of each type of cleaner and cleaning equipment with regular and updated orders to make sure you never run out.

  • Consider hiring a professional service. Larger gyms can benefit from having a regular and dedicated cleaning staff. Whether they work for you or are employees of a cleaning service, use all the above tips to make sure the facilities are cleaned regularly and to your specifications.

Encouraging Users to Clean and Disinfect Your Gym Equipment

Just one use of gym equipment leaves behind sweat and plenty of germs. It's important to wipe down machinery after every use in a commercial gym where so many people come through the doors every day. Your staff may not be able to keep up with it, so to maintain sanitary conditions put strategies in place to encourage users to wipe down after every use of a piece of equipment:

  • Make regular wipe downs a part of membership policy.

  • Also include a policy for consequences, such as warnings or even revoked membership, after repeated offenses.

  • Leave disinfectant wipes or a disinfectant spray cleaner and fresh towels within easy reach of exercise equipment so there is no excuse not to do it.

  • Station hand sanitizer throughout the gym to encourage good hygiene.

Wiping your sweat and germs from the exercise machine or yoga mat is just one part of good gym etiquette. This ISSA blog outlines four other crucial tips for newbies who want to be considerate, responsible gym users.

Regular Cleaning of Gym Equipment and High-Traffic Surfaces

Anything that gets touched every day should be cleaned every day, and some things need to be cleaned multiple times per day. Scheduling and implementing cleaning are just part of the battle. You also need to know how to do it right.

How to Clean and Disinfect

There is a right way and wrong way to clean and disinfect any part of your gym. If you are not relying on a professional gym cleaning service, know the steps to take to protect yourself and to clean effectively:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning. Use soap and warm water and lather for at least 20 seconds.

  2. Wear personal protective equipment. At a minimum, use disposable gloves to clean but also consider eye protection and masks, depending on the situation.

  3. If using a disinfectant wipe, use a wiping motion in the same direction every time. Let the surface air dry.

  4. If using spray cleaners, let it sit on the surface for the recommended amount of time before wiping.

  5. When cleaning is finished, remove and dispose of gloves and wash your hands again.

Always read the instructions on a cleaning product before using and follow them accordingly.

Clean and Disinfect Your Gym's High-Contact Areas Daily

High-contact surfaces should be cleaned every day at a minimum. Gym equipment that clients touch with their bodies should be cleaned multiple times per day. High-contact surfaces include doorknobs and light switches; handles on exercise machines, barbells, and weights; foam rollers; stability balls; rubber flooring; and anything else people touch throughout the day.

Cleaning the Bathrooms and Locker Rooms

High-contact surfaces in these areas—door handles, faucet handles, toilet seats, and toilet handles—should be cleaned more than once per day. Everything else, including toilet bowls, sinks, and floors, can be cleaned once per day.

Don't Forget the Office and Front Desk

It's important to focus on the workout equipment that people touch all day long in the gym, but don't forget other high-contact surfaces and items. At least once daily, clean and disinfect the front desk, keyboards and tablet screens, the phone and keypad, and anything else that gets touched in the office. If clients use touchscreens to sign in or log workouts, clean these multiple times per day.

Doing a Deep Clean of the Gym

Your gym cleaning strategy should include regular deep cleanings that take place when there are no clients. This could be overnight or on a day that you close for the express purpose of cleaning or staff training.

As you open after something such as the COVID-19 pandemic, do a deep clean. Assume the virus is in your gym, even if you don't know of anyone who got sick there. This is a good opportunity to rely on a professional service if you can afford it. If not, make sure the space is well ventilated as you clean, use protective gear, and use cleaning products recommended for disinfecting. Also follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for a thorough, deep clean. (1)

The Best Cleaners and Disinfectants for Gyms

Cleaning your gym regularly and thoroughly will mean nothing if you don't use the right cleaners. You need products that are proven to kill most germs, including bacteria, viruses, and of course the new virus that causes COVID-19.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists approved cleaners for disinfecting. List N includes all the cleaners that are effective in battling the coronavirus. (2) Use one or more of these wipes, sprays, or concentrates for a deep clean ahead of reopening.

Some of these cleaners are irritating and may trigger asthma attacks or skin reactions. Always use them as directed on the label to lower the risk of a reaction and to ensure you are truly disinfecting. Wear protective gear while cleaning and open windows or run fans for ventilation.

As you open back up, make sure you understand how to keep clients and employees safe. A deep clean, rules for clients and employees, the right disinfectants, and stricter policies will help prevent the spread of the virus and keep gyms open.

Does your healthy lifestyle inspire others to exercise more? Take it one step farther by turning your passion for health and fitness into a successful career. The ISSA Certified Personal Trainer Self-Guided Study Program is the perfect way to jumpstart your personal training journey to help more people reach their goals!

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, April 28). Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/reopen-guidance.html?deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM26911

  2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2020, May 5). List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2

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