A Guide to Wiping Down Your Gym Equipment

Posted by Kristin Olson-Kott on 1st Jul 2022

A Guide to Wiping Down Your Gym Equipment

The gym is a great place for anyone to get fit, stay healthy, socialize and have fun. Busy, popular gyms often see hundreds of clients in and out of their doors every day, and this means that any given piece of exercise equipment may be touched and used by many people each day. This popularity makes it easy for germs like bacteria, fungus and viruses to accumulate on the surfaces of gym equipment and transfer from person to person.

For this reason, it's imperative to wipe down gym equipment in between uses. Our guide is packed with tips on what to wipe down gym equipment with, how to do it, why it's important, and so much more. Here's everything you need to know.

Why Is It Important to Wipe Down Gym Equipment?

While people may not give it a second thought, gyms are busy places full of various high-touch surfaces. Active gym-goers use multiple pieces of equipment during each visit and can be sweaty while working out. The sweating makes it easier for germs to spread to any surfaces that are touched and create moist environments that are breeding grounds for several types of pathogens.

Several recent studies have been conducted to find out just how germy gym equipment can be, and the results are somewhat alarming. One such study found more than one million germs per square inch — on every piece of gym equipment that was tested. Many different strains of bacteria and other pathogens were found, and many of the pieces tested had more bacteria than an average public toilet.

With all of this in mind, it's easy to see just how important it is to have a proper routine for cleaning and wiping off gym equipment after each use. In today's world, we've all become hyper-aware of COVID-19 concerns and have intensified our cleaning and sanitizing efforts to help avoid the spread of the disease. A whole host of other types of bacteria, viruses and fungi can be transmitted by touching gym equipment that hasn't been properly cleaned.

A clean gym that is disinfected the right way is the best way to protect the health all of gym members and staff. Wiping the equipment is a courtesy to others, but it is also an important safety measure.

Beyond safety measures, a clean gym is important for business as well. Dirty, unsanitary equipment might turn away current members, guests and prospective clients. If a gym isn't keeping up with best practices for cleaning, it will be much harder to attract customers and keep them coming back. And when this happens, it's difficult for the gym to stay afloat as a successful business and keep up with competitors. A clean and safe gym, on the other hand, attracts members and may be able to command higher membership fees. 

What Does It Mean to “Clean” Gym Equipment?

Cleaning gym equipment might seem straightforward, but there are certain best practices and tips for what to use to clean gym equipment and how to do it. A professional gym environment has standards that go beyond simple cleaning routines for a home gym. Your members will likely have high expectations for the level of cleanliness and safety when they are using the gym.

As a gym owner or manager, you should have a solid cleaning routine in place and have dedicated cleaning staff to carry out this plan. Follow these tips for keeping your gym and its equipment clean and sanitary:

  • Keep cleaning staff visible: Many businesses have cleaning teams that come in daily, either late at night or early in the mornings when the business is closed to do the cleaning work. However, in a gym, where cleanliness is a major concern for your patrons and you might be open 24-hours, consider doing your cleaning during regular operating hours. The disruption is minor, and your members will take note of the efforts of your cleaning staff.
  • Have a daily cleaning routine: A good deep clean of the whole gym should happen at least once a day. Vacuum around each piece of equipment to get rid of any visible dust and dirt. Then, use specialized gym cleaning supplies like wipes to get all of your equipment clean and sanitary. Be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies of each piece of equipment.
  • Encourage cleaning habits with your members: Many gym-goers consider it proper etiquette to wipe off their equipment after using it. You can encourage these habits by offering well-placed and well-stocked supplies for your guests. Have easy-to-find dispensers of disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer for guests to use. Place trash bins in convenient locations to make disposal easy too.
  • Offer clean towels to guests: Clean towels can prevent sweat from dripping all over the place. Having towels available is a seemingly luxurious touch that will help keep your gym clean too. Just be sure to clearly mark where guests can leave their used towels, and launder them with a high-powered disinfecting detergent.

When you have exceptional cleaning standards in place, why not let your members know about your efforts! Just know that not all members will participate in these habits, and this is why having a dedicated cleaning staff and daily cleaning routine is so important.

You should also take every opportunity to assure your members — and potential new members — just how clean your facility is. Include info in your advertising, newsletters and more. These actions will help your guests feel more confident about coming to your gym. It also serves to encourage members to help out by wiping the equipment that they use each visit. 

How to Disinfect Gym Equipment

The best way to clean gym equipment goes beyond simple cleaning and involves a disinfecting step as well. This means that you are not simply removing dirt and dust, but removing bacteria and viruses as well, which helps keep your gym equipment safer for your members and staff.

Disinfecting your gym equipment takes your cleaning routine to the next level and ensures that your machines and other equipment are as clean and safe as possible for your members. Follow these steps to properly disinfect your gym equipment:

  1. Ensure the equipment is clean: Ensure your equipment is free of dust and other visible dirt, especially those that might have shoe prints and scuffs from repeated use. Also, vacuum and remove any used towels, garbage or other debris before beginning the disinfectant process. A thorough daily cleaning is recommended, as well as picking up any litter or other visible debris throughout the day.
  2. Encourage hand washing: The cleaning staff should wash their hands regularly, especially before starting any disinfecting routines, so as to not contaminate the surfaces. You might also consider posting signs to remind all members to wash their hands regularly, especially in the bathroom and locker room.
  3. Use the right gym equipment cleaner: Be sure to use high-quality disinfecting wipes and other supplies specially designed for use in gyms. Wipe each piece of equipment in one direction, instead of using back-and-forth motions, which can simply spread germs around. Take a new wipe when moving on to another piece of equipment to prevent the spread of germs from one piece to the next. For larger pieces of equipment, it may be necessary to use multiple wipes to completely clean the item.
  4. Wear proper protection: When working with disinfectants, there is a possibility they might slightly irritate or dry out the skin. When cleaning, encourage your staff to wear gloves so they are not affected by the disinfectant wipes. This behavior can also ensure your staff does not introduce new germs onto the machines as they clean.
  5. Let the equipment fully dry: Follow the recommendations on the product packaging for correct usage — often the surfaces will remain damp for a few minutes and this allows the disinfectant product to work fully. Allow it to air dry before the next use to completely disinfect it and ensure the surfaces are not slippery for your guests.
  6. Clean up your supplies: After disinfecting your gym equipment, throw away used wipes and other disposable products. Put away other cleaning supplies and wash your hands again to clean away any remaining germs and cleaning residues.

Disinfecting vs. Sanitizing

When discussing proper cleaning methods and killing bacteria and viruses, it's important to understand the difference between disinfecting and sanitizing. Many people use these terms interchangeably, but they don't necessarily mean the same thing. If you're wondering what to clean gym equipment with, it's a good idea to know what these terms mean. This way, you can choose the right products for your business.

So, what is the difference between disinfecting and sanitizing, and which is the best gym cleaner? In short, sanitizers are designed to reduce germs, while disinfectants are able to eliminate most, if not all, bacteria and viruses on a surface.

Sanitizers are products that decrease the number of germs on any given surface to what is considered a safe level. They are usually safe enough to use on skin and on food prep areas, and are safer to use on more delicate materials and surfaces. However, sanitizers and sanitizing wipes do not get rid of fungi and viruses, and are simply not as effective as disinfecting products.

Disinfectants and disinfecting wipes maintain a higher standard of cleanliness and germ prevention. Disinfectant wipes are a great cleaning solution for gym equipment because they can kill fungi and viruses in addition to bacteria. They are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be 99.999% effective, so you know you're getting effective disinfecting power with these products.

The bottom line here is that disinfecting products are more effective than those that sanitize, and are a great choice for cleaning your gym equipment and protecting clients and staff members.

Disinfecting Specific Equipment

Gyms are full of all sorts of interesting workout equipment, in all shapes and sizes. This can make cleaning everything effectively a bit of a challenge, but there are strategies you can use for specific types of gym equipment. Certain gym equipment needs special care when cleaning, so follow these tips for wiping down gym equipment of all types:

Treadmills and Ellipticals

Successfully disinfecting a treadmill or elliptical involves thoroughly wiping down the most-used parts. These parts include the console, handrails and any other high-touch surfaces on the machines. Focus on areas that are touched with the hands for daily cleanings, and clean the foot pedals and strip a few times a week. Use a quality disinfectant wipe after each use, wiping in one direction — not back and forth. This procedure can be used on other similar pieces of gym equipment too, such as exercise bikes and stair climbers.

Free Weights

Wondering how to clean dumbbells and other weightlifting equipment? Many gym-goers may neglect to wipe down the weights that they used, but it's just as important to clean this equipment as other types. Wiping weights with disinfecting wipes after each use is a good idea, as is occasional cleaning with a bucket of hot, soapy water and a microfiber cloth. Make sure all weights can dry properly, and avoid alcohol-based cleaners on rubber-coated or enameled weights to protect the finish.

Yoga Mats and Resistance Bands

Yoga mats can get sweaty and grimy quickly. To clean them, first wash them with soap and water. If you have quite a few in circulation for your gym, consider taking them outside for a thorough hose-down once a week. Daily, you'll want to use disinfecting wipes to saturate both sides and hang them to dry completely before rolling up again.

Resistance bands can be a bit tricky to clean properly due to their floppy shape and unique material. It's best to dip them in a bucket of hot soapy water, and then dry completely. Be sure to use a cleaning product that's recommended for resistance bands. Some chemicals may be too harsh for the material and cause it to break down more quickly.

Disinfectant Wipes for Your Gym

If you're looking for the best cleaning solution for exercise equipment at your gym, disinfectant wipes are the way to go. Easy to use and effective, disinfectant wipes make a great choice for any gym. These disposable wipes are convenient for both staff members and gym patrons to use.

Wipes dispensers placed around the gym can help get everyone involved in keeping the gym equipment clean and safe. You can choose wall-mounted dispensers for the perimeter of your gym, and place standing dispensers at areas in the middle of the room. Using a quality disinfectant wipe will give you — and your members — peace of mind. 

Shop Wipes.com for Disinfecting and Sanitizing Wipes

At Wipes.com, we have everything you need to keep your gym clean and safe. When you shop with us, you'll find the best selection of gym cleaner products, like our popular disinfecting wipes and sanitizing wipes. We offer our wipes and cleaning supplies in bulk quantities, meaning you can save money and avoid multiple trips to the store every time you run out.

Get the high-quality wipes your gym needs in the quantity that makes sense for you at Wipes.com. You'll give your staff and gym members the assurance that you care about cleanliness and always have their health in mind. We also offer dispenser systems to make using our wipes even easier at your gym.

Choose the style that fits in with your business, and make wiping down gym equipment convenient for all. We are happy to provide quotes for bulk orders and excellent customer service. Shop with us online today, or contact us with any questions.