Think about it; the space you call your home gym is where you sweat it out, constantly touch equipment (with unsanitised hands), wear shoes that are probably worn outdoors, and often pay less attention to where cleaning is concerned because you’re going to hit the showers as soon as you’re done working out. Well, a ‘regular’ cleaning routine for your home gym probably overlooks a lot of areas that harbour germs, or simply does not include the right cleaning methods and solutions required to thoroughly kill bacteria and sanitise the space and equipment. Given the current crisis the world is facing as COVID-19 continues to spread, an unsanitary home gym is an absolute no-no!
Why You Need to Sanitise Your Home Gym & Equipment
During the coronavirus outbreak, homeowners are advised to take several precautions inside and outside their homes in order to keep themselves, and others safe from the virus. This includes disinfecting your house as often as needed, along with your home gym and equipment.
Why? Because virtually everything in your home gym can be considered a “high-touch” object. As the term suggests, these are items that you touch with your hands frequently, making them hot spots for bacteria. Even worse, for people who don’t already know this, some contagious viruses can survive on surfaces for many hours, thereby increasing the risk of transmission. Since many of us tend to touch our faces every now and then while working out, it is of utmost importance to sanitise your home gym and all the equipment in it (even if you are the only one using it).
NOTE: Always wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting your home during a virus outbreak. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after removing the gloves.
How to Clean and Disinfect Your Gym Equipment
Before you target other areas of the room, we’re going to share all the information you need to clean and sterilise your gym equipment because these are the things that you frequently touch when working out. It should be noted that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has put together a list of approved disinfectants that are effective in fighting against the coronavirus; therefore, the first thing you need to do is stock up on EPA-registered disinfectants to sanitise your home gym and equipment effectively. Along with the right products for the job, you will also need extra cleaning tools like microfibre cloths, gentle scrubbers, and brushes. The reason for stocking up on these items is to replace used cleaning tools with fresh, sanitised ones during the cleaning process so as to eliminate the possibility of cross-contamination.
Now, with the information above in mind, let’s get right to our guide on how to clean and disinfect your home gym and equipment.
Think about all the areas you touch on your treadmill; the buttons, handrails, and perhaps, even the screen. Not to mention the sweat drips that fly all over when you increase the belt speed! So, first things first, wipe down the entire machine using a clean dust cloth. Remember, you should always clean a surface before you attempt to sanitise it for better results.
If your shoes have tracked in outdoor dirt, the treadmill belt may require more than just a wipe down. Consider using a soft-bristle brush to remove any hardened mud while rotating the belt with your hand for an all-round clean. Finish off by wiping the top of the belt with a damp cloth, allow it to air dry before rotating and wiping the other side of the belt.
After you’ve removed dust and debris from other exteriors of your treadmill, it’s time to disinfect the high-touch areas. Using an EPA-registered disinfect (follow directions on the label to dilute, if needed), dampen a clean microfibre cloth and wipe over the handrails, dashboard, buttons, and other exterior parts. Avoid using a soaked cleaning cloth when disinfecting the screen and buttons/touchpad.
TIP: In order to effectively sanitise a surface in your home, the disinfectant must have enough time to actively fight against bacteria before drying or removed; therefore, it is advisable to wipe over surfaces slowly as opposed to one quick swipe.
Whether you have a recumbent bike or an elliptical, there is a lot of body contact made between the user and the machine, not to mention high-touch areas that carry germs. Similar to cleaning a treadmill, the first thing to do is to dust the bike with a clean cloth; pay attention to nooks and crannies where dust might accumulate including the flywheel and chain guard. A narrow brush or feather duster may be more useful here.
Next, take a clean damp cloth and wipe over frequently touched spots such as the handles, buttons, seat, and seat adjuster. This is done to remove stubborn dirt and stains before sanitising the surfaces. With a fresh cloth, disinfect all the necessary areas of your exercise bike in the same manner as you did your treadmill.
Dumbbells, Weights & Barbells
These pieces of home gym equipment are the easiest things to clean and disinfect. Having said that, it is important not to miss any part of the item in question as users typically touch dumbbells, weights, and barbells all over when moving them around, as well as when in use.
To clean and disinfect these items in your home gym, simply wipe them with a damp cloth to remove dirt from the surface, and then sterilise by spraying with an EPA-registered disinfectant. Allow the product to sit on the surface for 10 minutes before wiping it down with a damp cloth and leaving to air dry.
TIP: After cleaning and disinfecting dumbbells, weights, and barbells, dampen your hands and rub the surface of each item to ensure that it is not slippery. If needed, use a damp cloth to wipe the equipment again in order to remove any traces of the disinfectant.
These stretchy strips of rubber can get really dirty when used on bare skin because they encounter a combination of body oils, dirt, and sweat. Furthermore, handling resistance bands with unsanitised hands adds to the bacteria already present on the material making them rather icky to use!
The most important factors to keep in mind when cleaning resistance bands are:
- Do not scrub them with any abrasive cleaning tools.
- Avoid strong or harsh cleaning solutions as they can damage the material.
- Never soak the rubber bands in water for too long.
Instead, fill some warm water in a bucket, add a few drops of liquid dish soap, and stir it up. Place the bands inside and move them around vigorously to aggravate the cleaning solution for 15-20 seconds. You can also rub the material gently with your hands or a non-abrasive scrubber to remove stubborn dirt. Finish off by rinsing your resistance bands under running water (preferably warm or room temperature), and leave them aside. Once dry, spray them with a disinfectant and leave to air dry before wiping with a damp towel.
Again, body contact between yoga mats and users is relatively high, leaving the material rather grimy after prolonged usage. It is important to keep your yoga mat clean and sanitary to prevent skin reactions, as well as viruses that may have been transferred to the material by unsanitised hands.
To clean your yoga mat, the steps are pretty simple:
- Wipe the mat on both sides with a clean, damp cloth.
- Make a mild solution of warm water and liquid dish soap; pour it into a spray bottle.
- Dampen the material by spraying one side of the mat.
- Use a microfibre cloth to scrub away grime without being too harsh.
- Rinse off the mat and repeat on the other side.
- Once dry, spray the mat on both sides with a disinfectant and wipe with a damp towel after 10 minutes.
Home Gym Floor
Finally, your home gym floor that is prone to sweat, dirt, and grime, must be cleaned and sanitised. The tricky part here is that there are different types of home gym flooring, each of which requires specific cleaning methods and solutions. From rubber and foam to carpeting and vinyl; depending on the material of your gym floor, you will need to remove dust and dirt with a vacuum cleaner and appropriate attachment head, followed by the use of a suitable stain remover and cleaning agent. Lastly, the floor will need to be sterilised using an appropriate EPA-registered disinfectant.
Clean and Disinfect Other Surfaces in Your Home Gym
Home gyms are not standard; some may have more equipment while others may include some furniture. Where equipment is concerned, however, cleaning and disinfection of similar materials require more or less the same methods as we have shared above.
Along with this, there are other surfaces and areas in a home gym that should not be overlooked because many of these may be considered high-touch spots. Take a look at them below:
- Bench press
- Other machinery
- Pull-up bar
- Medicine balls
- Wall-mounted fixtures
- Shelves/table tops
Look around your home gym and identify other objects, areas, and surfaces that have not been mentioned above and add them to the list of things to clean and disinfect.
They say regular exercise is one of the most important things to do to stay healthy, but what they forgot to mention is the health risks that come with working out in an unsanitary environment! So, to reap all the benefits of exercising indoors, be sure to keep your home gym, and everything in it, clean and sterile!