Fitness Center Cleaning – 4 important focus areas

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Fitness Center Cleaning – Keeping a gym and fitness center safe, from spreading germs and viruses, starts with a thorough cleaning routine, coupled with regular sanitizing and disinfection. And “yes, we know that”, but there are critical places in a gym which are pivotal to keep an eye on, to eliminate the biggest risks of spreading germs and viruses.

Common germs found in a fitness center

Typical microflora found in fitness centers can include:

  • Staphylococcus aureus – can cause a range of mild to severe skin infections.
  • Staphylococcus saprophyticus – can cause urinary tract infections.
  • Salmonella – can cause gastrointestinal illness with symptoms including fever, diarrhoea and vomiting.
  • Influenza – an airborne virus that, when inhaled, spreads to the respiratory tract where it multiplies.
  • Rhinoviruses – can cause many types of common colds and upper respiratory infections.
  • Dermatophytosis – a fungal infection of the skin also known as ringworm, tinea, jock itch (when around the groin) or athlete’s foot (when on the feet).

Bacteria Levels In a Fitness Center

Bacteria Levels per Fitness Equipment Type

The areas that your fitness center cleaning need to focus on

  1. Threadmills & Exercise Bikes
  2. Free Weights
  3. Fitness Matts
  4. Shower & Locker Rooms

#1 – Treadmills & Exercise Bikes

Exercise equipment like Treadmills and exercise bikes should be wiped clean after each use, by first cleaning with a cleaning agent and a fiber cloth, secondly with a disinfectant.

Using a disinfectant will NOT disinfect thoroughly as a disinfectant is NOT a cleaning agent.

The best way to clean gym equipment is to clean with an all-purpose cleaner and follow up with a disinfectant spray, multiple times a day, to keep your fitness center clean and safe.

#2 – Free Weights

Daily cleaning with eco-friendly disinfectant and cloth (microfiber cloth).

Using free weights and fitness machines, treadmill, and nordic-track is like shaking hands with hundreds of people in a day. Keeping a fitness facility reasonably sanitized therefore requires daily cleaning and disinfection.

All surfaces of workout equipment should be thoroughly disinfected using a microfiber cloth and eco-friendly disinfectant.

  • Dumbbells
  • Free weights (disks) for machines
  • Benches
  • Weight machine handles and seats
  • Handles on treadmills, nordic tracks, and stair masters.

#3 – Fitness Matts

Daily cleaning of exercise mats with an all purpose cleaner, followed by an eco-friendly disinfectant.

To prevent the spread of infections, clean the exercise mats at the end of each day. 

Monthly cleaning of exercise mats with a bleach solution (1:10 bleach/water mix)

Exercise mats require special cleaning, as they are one of the most highly trafficked areas in a fitness center, and are hotbeds for fungi and bacteria such as ringworms and herpes simplex 1.

Pay particular attention to the sides and creases of the rubber mats if they are pressed together to form a larger exercise area.

It’s crucial that the sponges, cloths, and mops are used for this purpose only, to avoid cross contamination.

#4 – Shower & Locker Rooms

Daily cleaning and disinfection

The handles, faucets, floor, and toilets, in the locker rooms, is the most critical area to keep clean, in any fitness center.

The shower handle in a fitness center is frequented by hundreds of people during any given day, and the sheer traffic volume makes it five to seven times more likely to pass on fungi and bacteria, compared to a shared kitchen.

The spread of athlete’s foot is a great danger in a shower and locker room area, where people walk barefoot ( Plantar Wart).

Cleaning schedule:

  • Using a cloth / sponge and an all-purpose eco-friendly cleaning solution, scrub and clean all exterior and interior surfaces of the lockers and benches.
  • After using the disinfection spray, leave the disinfection to dry for a few minutes to allow the disinfectant to work its magic.
  • Using a sponge and general purpose cleaning agent, scrub and clean the shower faucets, handles, showerheads, sinks, and toilets.
  • Again, let the disinfection spray dry after application so that the disinfectant gets time to disinfect.
  • Last, clean the floors of the shower and locker rooms with a mob and eco-friendly cleaning solution.

General Cleaning Recommendations

Cleaning equipment

Cleaning with metal or stiff bristle brushes can damage the surfaces of the exercise equipment and leave scratches behind. Use fiber cloth to keep the surfaces intact.

Cleaning agents

You should avoid cleaning and disinfecting with alcohol, bleach, ammonia, or other abrasive chemicals, as these can lead to discoloration, cracking of plastic pieces, and corrosion of the workout equipment.

Our Fitness Center Habits

  • 22% wait longer than ONE hour to shower after fitness
  • 10% never or rarely wash their gym clothes
  • 40% don’t clean their water bottle frequently enough
  • 53% never wash their gym bag – which may be why it smells.
  • 13% use the same cloth to wipe their face and the gym equipment – increasing their chances of contracting a staph infection or breakout.


4 TIPS for improving your fitness center hygiene

You are probably eager to reach for the hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes, right now. So here are 4 tips for vastly increasing the hygiene in the fitness center.

Wash hands frequently – With so many guests sharing the same fitness equipment, the guests and staff you should wash hands thoroughly before and after use fo the equipment.

Video guide from WHO (how to wash hands)

Sanitise – Frequent sanitising the gym equipment is important. Use a general purpose cleaning first and then disinfection wipes / spray. The guests should not use their own towel to clean the equipment, but rather some sanitizing wipes from an available dispenser nearby. 

Shower right after exercise – Get out of the sweaty fitness clothes and shower as soon as you can. This helps avoid the risk of skin infections. 

Wash gym bag & water bottles – Your gym bag and water bottles are breeding grounds for bacteria. Wash both your bottle and gym bag regularly to limit your exposure to germs.

Consider a pinup on the walls of your fitness center to encourage your gym guests to follow the simple 4 steps to keep everyone stay safe and healthy.