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Ways To Sanitize Your Gym Equipment

With the current health crisis in the world, it is important that you must observe cleanliness at all times in order to prevent the development of diseases. Hence, with that in mind, you should learn to sanitize or disinfect your things at home including your own gym equipment because these things in particular are a breeding ground for bacteria. These gym machines are used by multiple people at home and are generally placed in a warm and moist environment which significantly increase the likelihood of bacterial growth. Especially in commercial gyms, most establishments do not require their employees to wipe down the equipment between every use. Hence, whether in home or commercial gyms, it is important to regularly sanitize gym equipment before and after use so it can reduce the amount of harmful bacteria that you may come in contact with. There are many ways and methods in order to disinfect and sanitize your gym equipment. There are also many cleaning products that you can choose from the market or you can make your own at home.

Things To Consider When Sanitizing Your Gym Equipment

Before discussing the specific ways in sanitizing your gym equipments, there are some things that you must consider in order to have an effective sanitizing activity in your home gym equipment:

1. Cleaning Frequency

This simply means how frequent you clean your gym equipment. It is good to note that the more often you clean it, the less dirty it will be between cleaning. Hence, there will be decreased microorganisms and other particulate matter such as dirt that will be present in the surface of the gym equipment. The more frequently you clean your gym equipment, the fewer the microbes present that must be killed or removed. With frequent cleaning, you will be assured that your gym equipment is more sanitized and has a cleaner surface each time that reduces the growth of bacteria. Frequent cleaning is important especially when many people use the gym equipment that you have. In this way, people who use the gym equipment are more satisfied and at ease, especially knowing firsthand that the equipment they use is clean.

2. Method of Cleaning

There are many different methods of cleaning and disinfection gym equipment. Solutions can either be directly sprayed or wiped on the equipment surface. Most gym owners suggest to use disposable presaturated gym disinfectant wipes for they eliminate all chances of excessive gym disinfectant spray harming equipment and overspray coating the floors of the area. The antimicrobial effect of the chemical present in the wipes and the physical removal of microbes by wiping are both important in order to make sure that the gym equipment is thoroughly sanitized or disinfected. Moreover, studies show that using presaturated gym equipment wipes, the quantity of bacteria in gym equipment can be dramatically reduced. The use of disposable presaturated gym wipes allows the removed microbes to be safely discarded and prevents contamination of other surfaces unlike using reusable towels.

3.Solutions

There are three categories of disinfectants. It includes Low-level disinfectants which kill vegetative bacteria, fungi, and lipid viruses including HIV and hepatitis-B; Intermediate-level disinfectants which acts like the low-level but additionally inactivate mycobacterium tuberculosis, and both lipid and nonlipid viruses, however it has no ability against bacterial spores; and High-level disinfectants which destroy all microorganisms with the exception of high numbers of bacterial spores. These different categories of disinfectants can be displayed in the bottle or box of disinfectant solutions or wipes. Thus, it is important for you to look and read properly the label of the disinfecting solution. According to the studies the idea disinfecting solution should meet the following criteria:

  • They are easy to handle by users.
  • They are significantly safe even after repeated use on equipment.
  • They are effective against a wide range of microorganisms commonly found on equipment.
  • They are free of objectionable odor.
  • They are stable in storage (ideally in room temperature).

4. Solution Contact Time

Gym cleaning supplies and other disinfectant solutions should remain wet on a surface for a specific period of time. This is required in order for the disinfectant solution to be effective. The usual recommended time range for the disinfectant solution to stay in the gym equipment is from 10 to 30 minutes. With this time frame, it makes sense that disinfecting during working hours is impractical. Hence, in most commercial gyms, it is usually recommended to do disinfecting after hours or during off-peak times when the equipment can be left wet. However, this is not a problem for those people who just need to disinfect their gym equipment at home because they can do it anytime. It must be noted that there is a major disadvantage of frequent and long application of disinfecting solutions to gym equipment which includes degradation of equipment padding and soft surfaces, short-circuiting of electronic components, as well as rusting of metal surfaces. Therefore, it is important to look for the right disinfecting solution that is not too harsh for your gym equipment.

The Right Sanitizing Product

As stated above, there are different categories of disinfecting solutions. There are also different ways in order to sanitize your gym equipment. However, there are generally 2 methods of sanitizing them. First is through using disinfecting wet wipes (presaturated gym wipes). Second is through using spray bottles with ammonia solution.

Most commercial gyms offer some sort of disinfectant wet wipes. These wet wipes are available in the market that you can also purchase for disinfecting your own home gym equipment. These wipes are an effective way to sanitize gym equipment that come into contact with other people’s bodily fluids like sweat or saliva. Furthermore, the chemicals present in wet wipes are designed to kill a wide range of microorganisms such as bacteria, virus, and fungi. Hence, this is effective in cleaning surfaces that have come into contact with your saliva or sweat. In order to use a wet wipe properly, wipe down the entire surface of the machine or equipment you plan to use. Before using the equipment, let the surface dry completely in order to ensure that the disinfectant had enough contact time with the surface. It is good to note that disinfecting gym wipes are not for use on your body. Hence, it is highly recommended to use them with caution and to never rub them on your face, neck, arms, or any part of the skin in order not to cause harm.

On the other hand, there are spray bottles with ammonia solutions available in the market. Ammonia is usually the most common chemical used as a disinfectant in these spray bottle solutions. You can spray the gym equipment before and after use. Moreover, ammonia mixtures are usually quaternary ammonia mixed with water. This is significantly safe to use and does an effective job at removing microorganisms in the gym equipment. It also has the ability to slow down the growth or reintroduction of microorganisms in the surface of the equipment. But like disinfecting wet wipes, it is required that the solution have a prolonged contact time for about 10 to 15 minutes prior to wiping it down. This is done in order to allow the spray solution to effectively kill and remove microorganisms. People using the spray solutions should be mindful when spraying down equipment. They must not spray it near outlets, plugs or machines with electric panels. In order to reduce accidents and harmful reactions to others, they also must make sure to be mindful if spraying near other people. Furthermore, a DIY spray solution can be made through mixing a 1/2 cup of ammonia to 1/2 gallon of water. After that, fill a small hair spray bottle with the ammonia solution. Studies show that this DIY solution has the same effectiveness as the ammonia solution sold in the market.

Lastly, you must avoid cleaners that are unsafe or ineffective including: bleach which is a strong disinfectant however can be unsafe if not prepared or used properly. It can also ruin your clothes or the carpet in the home gym. Prolonged inhalation or exposure of bleach to the skin can be dangerous; Borax solution which is a natural cleaner but does not disinfect gym equipment. It can be used to clean off particulate matter such as dirt and dust but it does not effectively kill microorganisms; Baking soda which is also a natural cleaner. Like the Borax solution, it does not have the ability to kill microorganisms; and Hydrogen peroxide which can be harmful because it can cause rash and irritation on your skin.

How to Sanitize Gym Equipment?

  • Weights, Dumbbells, and Kettlebells

    Weights, dumbbells, kettlebells, and all other equipment for weight and resistance training all have their share of sweat and hence bacteria. They also come into prolonged contact with your hands. Thus, these equipment surely need to be thoroughly disinfected. Most experts suggest using presaturated wipes in order to clean weights, dumbbells, and kettlebells. You can thoroughly wipe down whatever part you’ll come into contact with. Before starting to use the equipment, you can spray or wipe down the weights, dumbbells, and kettlebells with your chosen disinfectant. After using them, also wipe down the equipment.

    A DIY solution can also be used. You can mix a few drops of dish soap with a gallon of warm water. Using a clean microfiber cloth, dip it into the soapy water. Wring the cloth so that it becomes damp. You can use this in order to wipe down the surfaces of your weights, dumbbells, and kettlebells. After that, dry your weights using a fresh microfiber cloth.

  • Yoga Mat

    One of the dirtiest places for germs to hide is on a yoga or fitness mat. These are usually porous and soft and can harbor a lot of bacteria. They can also produce a disturbing smell because the creases and crevices of your yoga mat make the perfect reservoirs for drops of sweat and thus bacterial buildup and growth. Hence, it is important to thoroughly clean yoga mats. Yoga mats largely vary. Some are cheap while some are very expensive. Thus, you definitely do not want to damage them by applying a solution that could result in the disintegration of the yoga material. With that, here is the usual recommendation in cleaning your yoga mat: consider placing your yoga mat into the bathtub which allows you to have more room to clean your mat. After placing the mat, fill your tub up with water and soap or disinfectant. Scrub the mat thoroughly, rinse it and let it dry. You can also consider spraying your mat down using your garden hose and a cleaner as well. Let it air dry in the sun. Some manufacturers of yoga mats designed their mats in a way that it can be put in the washing machine for cleaning. Make sure you check the label before doing this.

    In most rubber varieties of yoga mat, there is a specific way of cleaning it in order to prevent bacteria and odors. You can mix two cups of warm water with two to three drops of dish soap. After that, using the solution, dampen a clean microfiber cloth. Wipe both sides of your mat with the cloth. After doing that, rinse your mat with hot water, making sure to remove all the soap out in order to ensure that you do not slip during your exercise. Then, wipe your mat down with a dry microfiber cloth or towel. You can hang your yoga mat over your shower curtain rod to dry overnight or you can dry it outside under the sun as instructed above. However, it must be noted that too much sun exposure damages the rubber and makes them wear out quicker.

  • Gym Machines

    For gym machines or equipment at home, you are required to make sure that you clean the entire machine. This is aid in maintaining the integrity of the equipment and to make sure its function does not deteriorate after even a long time. Home gym machines and equipment should be cleaned on a weekly basis. It is recommended to dust off all weights, machines and cardio equipment. Wires, plugs and outlets should also be free of dust. You must also vacuum around your machines this is to make sure there are no dust or debris in the surrounding areas. You may want to clean your gym machine a little more thoroughly than a wipe down as well. You can also professional cleaning services on a monthly or quarterly basis.

References:
1. Cheatham, S. 2020. 11 Steps For Disinfecting Your Fitness Facility. Retrieved from: https://blog.nasm.org/how-to-clean-your-gym. Retrieved on 1 July 2020.
2. Dolan, M. 2019. How to Sanitize Gym Equipment. Retrieved from: https://www.wikihow.fitness/Sanitize-Gym-Equipment. Retrieved on 1 July 2020.
3. Merry Maids. 2018. How to Clean Home Gym Equipment to Prevent Germs. Retrieved from: https://www.merrymaids.com/cleaning-tips/quick-tips/how-to-clean-home-gym-equipment-to-prevent-germs/. Retrieved on 1 July 2020.
4. Nobile, D. Pupnmag. 2019. A Common Sense Approach to Cleaning Gym Equipment. Retrieved from: https://www.pupnmag.com/article/a-common-sense-approach-to-cleaning-gym-equipment/. Retrieved on 1 July 2020.

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